Jony Ive and Craig Federighi Discuss The Development Of iOS 7 [Interview]

Apple chief of design Jony Ive and head of software Craig Federighi have discussed the development of iOS 7 with USA Today’s Marco della Cava in an exclusive interview. While the pair focused more on Apple’s two new iPhones and the recurring accusations of the lack of innovation from competitors in an earlier interview published by Bloomberg Businessweek, this one is more about their design and engineering partnership.

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Ive explained how they felt that people had become so comfortable with touching glass that they didn’t need any physical buttons. “So there was an incredible liberty in not having to reference the physical world so literally. We were trying to create an environment that was less specific. It got design out of the way”, he said. Federighi added that the technological advances over the past few years have finally reached the point where Apple is able to tackle something like iOS 7.

Here’s how Federighi describes the thinking behind the iOS 7:

“This is the first post-Retina (Display) UI (user interface), with amazing graphics processing thanks to tremendous GPU (graphics processing unit) power growth, so we had a different set of tools to bring to bear on the problem as compared to seven years ago (when the iPhone first launched),” he says. “Before, the shadowing effect we used was a great way to distract from the limitations of the display. But with a display that’s this precise, there’s nowhere to hide. So we wanted a clear typography.”

The two also shared their views on the new camera in the iPhone 5S, explaining how the other companies are “chasing megapixels” while Apple is focused on delivering a better photo taking experience.

When asked about the new app icons in iOS 7 facing criticism, Ive noted that the drive for simplicity that leads to so many of Apple’s design decisions is not just “the lack of clutter.” Instead, he explains, “True simplicity is, well, you just keep on going and going until you get to the point where you go, ‘Yeah, well, of course.’ Where there’s no rational alternative.” Replying to the question of what he would create if he weren’t focusing on iPhones and MacBooks, Ive said “I’d like to design cups.”

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