Jony Ive was interviewed by design website Wallpaper about Designed by Apple in California, an Apple-published book of photography that documents twenty years of product design and manufacturing. Apple is known for its singular focus on the future and, during Steve Jobs’ tenure, its disdain for dwelling on the past. That has begun to change in recent years with things like its 40 Years in 40 Seconds video and its tribute to past laptops at the MacBook Pro event last month. Even so, Apple’s announcement of an expensive book about its own products caught some off guard. In response to Wallpaper, Ive addressed why Apple created Designed by Apple in California:
Sometimes if we are struggling with a particular issue then that gives us reason to go back and look at the way we have solved problems in the past. But because we've been so consumed by our current and future work we came to realise we didn't have a catalogue of the physical products. So about eight years ago we felt an obligation to address this and build an objective archive.
Beyond chronicling the design of Apple’s past products, Ive explains that Apple wants to illuminate the connection between designing and making a product and provide a resource for design students:
One of the things we wanted to do was try and explain as clearly as we can – through photography – how you transform a raw material into a product that you recognise and hopefully use as a daily tool…. We feel that more than ever there has been a disconnect between designing and making and really, you can't disconnect them. In the 90s, as manufacturing was outsourced, this chasm developed between where something was made and where it was designed. But designing and making are inseparable if you want the ultimate product to have integrity. Another key point is that the book is being sent to all the major design colleges in the world. We are keen to get it into the hands of young people who are studying design disciplines. It's very important that it’s an educational resource as well.