As expected, Apple’s Chief Design Officer Jony Ive today took the stage at Vanity Fair’s New Establishment Summit at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. Ive shared the stage with famed director, writer, and producer J.J. Abrams. During his time on stage, the Apple executive spent a decent amount of time discussing the life of the late Steve Jobs, who passed away four years ago this week.
Regarding the time when Jobs passed away, Ive remarked that he “was faced with this wall of grief.” Perhaps as a slight jab at recent films that have portrayed Jobs in a negative light, Ive also noted that he remembers the characteristics of the former Apple CEO that were “essentially him,” not the harsher nature with which he is often associated. Ive remarked that he does not remember Jobs the way he “is being frequently and popularly portrayed at the moment.”
Ive also noted of Jobs’s drive to make something perfect. “Steve Jobs never worked with a feeling of entitlement,” he explained. Jobs’s goal in reality was “heartwarmingly simple,” Ive said:
“What’s remained is almost unremarkable, but what’s remained is his very simple focus on trying to make something beautiful and great. And it really was simple. There wasn’t a grand plan of winning, or a very complicated agenda. That simplicity seemed almost childlike in its purity. And it’s true.”
Furthermore, Ive noted of Jobs’s love for the product design portion of development, explaining that during the design phase, Jobs was happier than he had ever been before:
I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone so happy, as I saw him—this very simple kind of joy—when he would realize, “This is actually working out. This could be great.” It was just the simplicity of that.
Aside from talking about Steve Jobs, Ive noted of a couple of other design philosophies he believes in. “The best ideas come from the tentative suggestion,” Ive explained. “We’re capable of discerning far more than we are capable of articulating.”
Regarding his new role as Chief Design Officer, Ive said that it’s something he “should have done this years ago” and that he’s never been “this happy and creative in years and years.”
At last year’s Vanity Fair Summit, Ive spent more time discussing the design of the then brand new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.