Apple is working tirelessly to undo the damage that others have done to the idea of the smartwatch. When the company introduced the Apple Watch in September, CEO Tim Cook and famed Apple designer Jony Ive went out of their way to avoid the word “smartwatch.” The Apple Watch was described as just a watch — albeit an incredible one. Since then, Apple has courted fashion writers, designers, and fashion-forward consumers in an unparalleled campaign to ameliorate the smartwatch’s image.
The Apple Watch made its first public appearance since its debut at Paris Fashion week on the last day of September. Now, the October issue of Vogue features an extensive profile of Ive, the man behind the Apple Watch. So far, not one tech journalist has received any one-on-one time with Ive or a fully functional version of the Watch, but fashion writers, Vogue editors, and famous designers have had a few brief moments with the device.
Apple is clearly working hard to convince the fashion forward that the Apple Watch is a beautiful device; that it is different from every other smartwatch out there, because it was designed perfectly with the high-fashion crowd in mind. Naturally, Apple chose Ive as its conduit into the fashion world. In the Vogue profile, the notoriously private Ive opens up about his love of design and focuses in on the smallest details of the Apple Watch. After all, in his mind, all the small things are what make the Apple Watch different from every other smartwatch before it.
While some may say the Apple Watch is heavy, Ive says that’s “[b]ecause it’s real materials.” He encouraged the writer to focus on look and feel of the device, and to notice the small design tweaks that make it innovative and a pleasure to wear. One of Ive’s favorite parts of the watch is all the different strap designs. Some connect with magnets, others with a buckle, but all close with a solid, and satisfying snap, causing Ive to burst out with the enthusiastic interjection, “Isn’t that fantastic?”
“You just press this button and it slides off, and that is just gorgeous,” he said, pausing for emphasis. “But listen as it closes,” he added. “It makes this fantastic k-chit.”
Of course, Ive finds it hard to condense the entire design process into an easily digestible sound bite. “It’s strange when you’ve been working on something for three years…” he told Vogue, explaining how he studied the history of clocks, watches, and other time pieces. “It’s fascinating how people struggled with wearing this incredibly powerful technology personally.”
The interview briefly discusses how the Apple Watch works, but mainly focuses on how it will fit into your lifestyle.
“You know how very often technology tends to inhibit rather than enable more nuanced, subtle communication?” he asks. “We spent a lot of time working on this special mechanism inside, combined with the built-in speaker … You feel this very gentle tap and you can feel my heartbeat. This is a very big deal, I think. It’s being able to communicate in a very gentle way.”
The article concludes with the endorsement that Apple seems to be looking for from the fashion world.
“The watch underscores the fact that Ive is first and foremost a masterly product designer; technology almost comes second. It’s a beautiful object, a device you might like even if you don’t like devices,” the article reads, validating Ive’s statement that “Everything we’ve been trying to do, it’s that pursuit of the very pure and very simple.”
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