Apple Watch Designers Reveal Their Inspiration

At the Conde Nast International Luxury Conference, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Design Jony Ive and Apple Watch designer Marc Newson talked about their inspiration behind the iconic Watch design in a video which has now been posted on British Vogue’s YouTube channel.
Ive and Newson spoke about their thoughts and reasoning behind the Apple Watch while talking with Vogue’s fashion editor Suzy Menkes and the differences between their ideas for the Apple Watch compared to Apple’s ideas for the iPhone in 2007. Ive stated that the design for the iPhone came about because everyone hated their phones and wanted a better one, however the Watch is intended to be a showcase of technology. Newson talks about their design processes and says however that they were very inspired by what they didn’t like and were dissatisfied with so that they could produce change.

Ive and Newson have collected manual watches for years and so love their timepieces. For this reason, they didn’t create the Apple Watch in order to replace the traditional watch. They say the wrist is well suited to show off technology, stating “The wrist is and has always been, for literally hundreds of years, one of the best places on the body to put an object”.

Ive, who does most of the talking in the interview, skirts a question about whether smartwatches will need to be upgraded and replaced unlike traditional watches. He talks about the wonder of technology and how products are able to be more capable and do new and unimaginable things within the space of six months, also hinting that software updates for the Watch will bring new features in the future. Ive goes on to say that while people will use the watch for very different reasons, we can assume that people “will have this product intimately connected with them for most of the day” and so the Watch allows users to communicate with each other without having to be as intentional and predetermined as if they were using their smartphone.

In creating such an expensive and forward thinking watch, Apple is not in competition with handbags and other luxury fashion items, nor in competition with existing watch makers. Ive is unsure of whether younger Apple customers will prefer the Apple Watch to a traditional or luxury watch, saying he hopes everyone will find the Apple Watch beautiful but that they wished only to make remarkable technology more personal. Ive says “I think that we’re on a path that’s the same path that Apple was really determined to be on in the 70s, which was to try and make technology approachable and relevant and personal”

The subject of luxury is one that underpinned the interview with Vogue’s Suzy Menkes and she described how many businesses may feel threatened by the Watch as it competes with them on the level of traditional luxuries and even fine jewellery, but is a desirable mixture of design and technology. Both Ive and Newson, however back up their choices from a design point of view. They talk about how the gold Apple Watch was developed not to reach a wealthy consumer, but because of their love of the material. They did not use ‘off the shelf’ but gold created their own specific type of gold and feel that many of their designs are driven by their love of materials rather than for reasons of luxury or price point.

It’s interesting to hear Ive and Newson talk about their design inspirations behind the Apple Watch and many will agree that it is the most stylish smartwatch available to buy, but they do gloss over the practicalities of design- creating a gadget that would fit into Apple’s pre-determined consumer range and also appeal to buyers at different price points. It would be difficult to believe that they had absolute free reign over the design, and it’s likely that much of the design had already been decided upon by prototype testing. Nevertheless, the interview does give an insight into the fashion and fundamental aspects of the Watch which users will see the benefit of while wearing and interacting with the smart wrist device.

Watch the video above to see the full interview and find out what else the designers had to say about the Apple Watch.

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