Jony Ive Calls Debut of iPhone X Technology on Tenth Anniversary a ‘Wonderful Coincidence’


Finishing the iPhone X in time for the tenth anniversary of the iPhone in 2017 was a “wonderful coincidence,” according to Apple design chief Jony Ive.

According to an interview taken during the iPhone X launch but only now published by Japanese design magazine Casa Brutus, Ive said that while the new flagship phone represents the achievement of a long-held ambition, it is only the beginning.

The iPhone X is obviously the biggest design shift in the history of the iPhone, but its design had apparently been in the works for quite some time. Ive said that Apple had been trying for many years to design what he has in the past described as “a single slab of glass.”

“Before this, there was a feeling that individual components called enclosure (housing) and display existed,” Ive explained. “What we always wanted to do is tackle the essence of integrating what we considered different parts. Looking at the iPhone X from that perspective, I think that it took many years and finally we were able to achieve it.”

With the iPhone X, the design feels contiguous and integrated, and it took many years to achieve that level of fit and finish, Ive said, adding that Apple is already working on next-generation designs.

Ive went on to discuss the more technical aspects of the iPhone X, explaining that the inclusion of the new Face ID technology is the culmination of years of work towards a “non-contact” user interface. Essentially, features like Face ID, which do not require physical interaction, make a device feel simpler yet at the same time robust.

Finally, when Ive was asked whether there was pressure to realize the new design by the 10th anniversary of the iPhone, he agreed that there was, but claimed that ultimately it was a “wonderful coincidence.”

“Well, just for the design team and engineer team! If you try to do a good job, there is always pressure,” Ive said. “I understand that what is expected is a change, but what we are trying to keep in mind is always to do the best job, as much as possible.”

“[Given the years taken to develop the iPhone X], it was a truly wonderful coincidence.”


  • It’s Me

    I’m not sure Ives understands what coincidence means.

  • FragilityG4

    How so?

  • It’s Me

    a remarkable concurrence of events or circumstances without apparent causal connection

    If you plan for, strive toward and target a certain outcome then it is not coincidence if you achieve that outcome.

    A couple trying to get pregnant could hardly claim it’s a coincidence when they get pregnant. A student working toward a degree can’t claim their graduation was a coincidence.

    A company striving to produce a special edition for a big anniversary can hardly call it a coincidence when they make that goal with a straight face.

  • FragilityG4

    As it states above they had been planning the phone for years but not for any particular date, just when it was ready. As the the anniversary date approached there was some pressure to have it ready for the time but the main goal was to have the phone truly ready.

    The fact that they were ready as the anniversary came up was the “wonderful coincidence”.

    Based on what he said it was a coincidence. If you choose to interoperate the situation differently you may, however from the story Ive told the word was used correctly.

  • It’s Me

    Well, of course they would only release it if it was ready. I suppose I find it disingenuous to try to pretend that one of the goals was a special edition for the 10th anniversary. Rumoured as such for years, in development for years and ends up happening exactly as rumoured. Seems a little foolish to think that was chance.

  • FragilityG4

    The definition of coincidence 😉

  • KBlazer07

    Wow, “a culmination of years of work towards a non-contact user interface”. Wait a minute, didn’t they drop the fingerprint scanner last minute because they couldn’t figure out how to do it efficiently? I’d have to say the interview is just Apple propaganda and I still don’t think they released the product they really wanted to due to the anniversary deadline. I’d have to agree this isn’t a coincidence. Oh, and anything over 1 year (i.e. 1.00001) is considered “years”).

  • jabohn

    – and it took may years to achieve (4th paragraph)
    – Ive went on to discuss the mote technical aspects (5th paragraph)
    Are you guys hiring proof readers? 😉

  • aRhyno

    I’m sure face id wasn’t cooked up in a month. I’m sure they would of liked to integrate touchid as well as faceid but I’m pretty sure it was rumors that said touchid wasn’t dropped last minute. I’d love to have touchid back in the future under the display but it will be interesting to see how well faceid actually works. If it works as good as touchid does and is very seamless I’ll have no issues with it. Trade offs I guess.

  • Thanks, fixed!

  • KBlazer07

    Ya, your right, a bad post by me. Face id is apparently years ahead of others, so gotta give Apple credit as it would take many years to develop that.
    I misinterpreted part of the article as well thinking it was Apple’s plan from the get go to get rid of the Touch ID and go contactless, but upon re-reading, it doesn’t really imply that. Rough day at work, I need a beer.

  • Agreed. lol.
    It just “so happens” that there was no 7S (it’s the 8), no 8S, and no 9, so that “coincidentally” X released on the 10th anniversary. Yup, “wonderful coincidence”!

  • It’s Me

    I have to expect it will not be as seamless as Touch ID when used for Apple Pay.

    Touch ID: place phone near terminal and touch to authenticate in the same movement. Done.

    Face ID: place phone near terminal to initiate payment, bring phone back to your face and reorient to allow face scan.

    It doesn’t sound like much but is certainly less fluid. Using Touch ID allows two actions, initiating payment and authenticating payment, to be combined into one movement: hold phone while touching. Face ID demands separating these into two separate and completely different movements: hold, then move and reorient.

    At first I thought omitting Touch ID was due to time constraints and Apple assertions that it was an intentional replacement of technologies they didn’t intend to have together rang hollow. But I don’t think it matters any more. They dig themselves into this corner of face id only. Whether this was their original design, because they went all in on claiming they always wanted face only, they now are forced to be all in on face only.

  • aRhyno

    I might be wrong but I think you double tap the power button to activate Apple Pay. So you grab your iPhone out of your pocket. As you’re doing that, you double tap, you scan your face(which I hope it’s as easy as just waving it in the direction of your face for a split second) then tap. If faceid takes too long it will ruin the experience.

  • It’s Me

    Still not as fluid as Touch ID then.

    1) double pressing the power button on the side is nowhere near as natural as using thumb. In fact it means an uncomfortable stretch for many.

    2) bringing it to your face before holding it to terminal again means less fluid than just holding it to the terminal.

    Touch ID means one fluid motion where thumb is placed naturally on home button while holding over terminal. One fluid step.

    Face ID, at least Apple Pay, is a step backward. But I think Apple’s pride will mean they cannot acknowledge that at any point now.

  • aRhyno

    I agree. It’s not going to be the same as Touch ID and I wish we could get full screens and touchid. But the technology just isn’t there yet. At least ya have a choice. iPhone 8 or x

  • It’s Me

    Yup. I just hope that when the technology is there to do under the display sensors that Apple will not reject it just to save face over faceID.