Culture

iSaber? Apple's Jony Ive inspired new 'Star Wars' lightsaber

Technically Incorrect: JJ Abrams, director of the next "Star Wars" movie reveals that his good friend and Apple's chief designer offered a suggestion as to how to make the lightsaber more dynamic-looking.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


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Is this an iSaber I see before me? Well, perhaps. Star Wars/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

If you're suddenly given the task of making a new "Star Wars" movie, you need to make a few changes from the old movies, don't you?

The world has changed since the times of Sith and vengeance. And you're JJ Abrams, so you have to think different.

Fortunately, you find Apple's chief of design Jony Ive sitting next to you at dinner one night. So you say to him: "Hey, Jony. Have a drink, forget that watch nonsense and let's talk lightsaber design. Far more futuristic, you know."

I mentioned this only because Abrams himself brought it up a similar scenario to the New Yorker. In a long and rather interesting profile of Ive, the Apple design head expressed his deep disdain for the design of the Toyota Echo and Toyota Camry and dropped the information that Abrams and Ive were at a "boozy" dinner party in New York.

Abrams said that Ive made "very specific" suggestions as to what a perfectly-designed lightsaber should embody. No, it shouldn't be unashamedly plastic. At least, there's no evidence of him saying this. However, the conversation did move lightsaber design forward.

In November last year, a teaser trailer for "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" appeared. Many were fascinated, stunned, perplexed and sleepless to see that contained therein was a lightsaber that had a cross guard and seemed somehow more like a still-burning cross.

Ive confirmed to the New Yorker that a conversation on the subject of lightsabers had ensued that boozy night in New York.

All he would admit, though, was that he told Abrams the new iSaber should be "more analog and more primitive, and I think, in that way, somehow more ominous."

Sometimes digital things can be a little too clean, a little too at one with their environments. Ive told the New Yorker: "I thought it would be interesting if it were less precise, and just a little bit more spitty."

So now you have in your mind the idea that, even as you watch the new "Star Wars" movie, there will be a little piece of Apple in its weapon design -- a rougher, more spitty piece of Apple.

Next week: Jony Ive redesigns the chariots for the remake of "Ben Hur".