Jony Ive on Tim Cook's Apple: Nothing has changed

In a New York Times profile, Apple's head of design says the values and tones Steve Jobs established are still in place.

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Ringo? Or more than that? Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

Since Apple co-founder Steve Jobs died in 2011, there have been inevitable comparisons between him and new CEO Tim Cook. While Cook may never be viewed, like Jobs was, as Apple's "heart and soul," Apple head of design Jony Ive insists that Apple hasn't suddenly become an aging leaden star, desperate for a touch of Botox.

"Honestly, I don't think anything's changed," Ive said in a New York Times profile of Cook published Sunday, when asked about the design process and the relentless push toward innovation. "Steve established a set of values and he established preoccupations and tones that are completely enduring."

Many might find this completely believable. It's not as if under Cook's leadership Apple has suddenly pumped out smartwatch -- though unnamed sources told the Times the rumored iWatch may be released later this year -- or a laptop-tablet hybrid just to satisfy the neurosis of analysts. People might nag for some new, new thing, but Apple prefers to release products when it's happy with them, rather than to offer some sort of gratuitous injection to the needy.

Ive explained that there's the same problem with patience inside the company as there is outside.

"People felt exactly the same way when we were working on the iPhone," he said. Cook is just as impatient as was Jobs, apparently.

"It is hard for all of us to be patient," Ive said. "It was hard for Steve. It is hard for Tim."

The Times profile offers that Cook isn't as involved in product engineering as was Jobs. Specifically on the iWatch project, unnamed peopled "involved with the project," told the Times that Cook is less involved with the minutia of product engineering. Instead, Cook has delegated many of those duties to Ive and other members of his executive cabinet.

The profile also includes an observation from Chad Zeluff, a 27-year-old developer evangelist from a healthcare app called OrcaMD. (I hope that's not a healthcare app for whales.) "Jobs is to Lennon what Cook is to Ringo," Zeluff said.

Some might suggest that if Zeluff listens to "Back Off Boogaloo" -- or any tour performance by Ringo's All-Starr Band -- he might see that Cook's offers a little more subtlety and inventiveness than that.

 

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