Take a peek inside secret Apple Industrial Design studio

Take a peek inside Jony Ive's design lab.

Very few outsiders have been inside Apple’s Industrial Design Studio, the amazingly creative product lab behind the company’s blockbuster hardware.

That may change this weekend, when 60 Minutes broadcasts a tour of the design lab. Apple’s lead designer, Jony Ive, gave journalist Charlie Rose a peek at the facility earlier this year — and his report airs this Sunday.

But you can take a tour of Apple’s secret Industrial Design studio right now. A virtual one, anyway.

I had a 3-D model of the studio created, based on detailed descriptions and diagrams by former designers who worked inside. I used it to create a video tour of the studio, showing the layout and explaining how everything works. I think the video turned out great. You can see it below.

Inside Apple's secret industrial design studio.

Located on the ground floor of Infinite Loop II behind frosted glass windows, the industrial design studio is where Ive and his team of design elves cook up Apple’s awesome products.

The studio is strictly off-limits to most. It’s perhaps the most secret part of Apple’s HQ. Even some of Apple’s own executives haven’t seen it. Rumor has it that the former head of iOS, Scott Forstall, wasn’t allowed inside, even when he was developing the iPhone’s operating system.

Only one published photograph has ever been taken inside the studio. And no, Blue Peter and the Objectified documentary weren’t filmed there, contrary to popular belief.

In the video below, you’ll see the layout of the studio; the kitchen where the designers frequently meet; the presentation tables where Apple executives discuss upcoming products; Jony Ive’s private glass office; and the machine shop that cranks out prototypes.

Sunday Times interviews Jonathan Ive on everything design, Apple, and much more.


The UK’s Sunday Times published a massive, five-page interview with Apple SVP of Design Jonathan Ive today that takes a look at the history and future of Apple from the perspective of the man who designed some of the most iconic devices of the past decade.

In the interview, Ive discusses (among other things) his approach to designing new products, which allows a device’s function to dictate its form:

Ive starts a new project by imagining what a new kind of product should be and what it should do. Only once he’s answered those questions does he work out what it should look like. He seeks advice in unlikely places. He worked with confectionery manufacturers to perfect the translucent jelly-bean shades of his first big hit, the original iMac. He travelled to Niigata in northern Japan to see how metalworkers there beat metal so thin, to help him create the Titanium PowerBook, the first lightweight aluminum laptop in a world of hefty black plastic slabs.

With regard to manufacturers like Samsung “referencing” Apple’s design in their products, Ive called the practice “theft” of “thousands of hours of struggle.”

A sidebar on the article deals with Ive’s responses to a set of rapid-fire questions on a variety of topics, ranging from whether his age (47) gives him any concern in the technology industry to why he so often turns to white as his color of choice when designing both hardware and software. Ive also notes that Apple is currently (obviously) working on a new product that he can’t say anything about, possibly hinting at rumors of an Apple wearable device or the iOS 8 software.

Source: 9to5Mac.

Jony Ive Talks Link Between Apple And… Star Wars?

A long time ago, in an operating system not too far away...

While there are plenty of revelations about how Jony Ive’s aesthetic developed in Leander Kahney’s NYT bestselling biography, Apple fans got a unique glimpse into an informative childhood inspiration for Ive this past week thanks to a television appearance on the Charlie Rose show.

Ive and industrial design pal Marc Newson have been making the media rounds recently to promote a charity auction featuring special items customized by the pair.

However, one item in the auction was neither designed nor modified by the pair: a Star Wars Stormtrooper helmet signed by none other than George Lucas.

Why would a Star Wars helmet be featuring in an auction of work by Apple’s industrial design guru?

Star Wars was something both Marc and I grew up watching, and it was really, really informative to our view of the future,” Ive told Charlie Rose this past Friday. “This idea of having the baddies in bright white shiny armor was fantastic,” adding that, “So much of what we do [as designers] is trying to imagine something that doesn’t yet exist.”

While this is only a minor detail in many ways (unless Apple’s big new product launch turns out to be a Retina Display iDeath Star), it’s certainly fun to speculate how the pristine white plastic armor of Star Wars‘ foot soldiers may have helped shape the look of the original iPod, the white iMac, and so on.

Two clips from Ive and Newson’s appearance on Charlie Rose can be seen below:

Source: Cult of Mac.