Jony Ive: "We nearly shelved the iPhone"

Aug 1, 2012 8:02 AM
Filed under Mobility

'Fundamental problems' almost spelled premature doom.

Apple's senior vice president of industrial design, Sir Jonathan Ive, has revealed that company nearly shelved its iPhone project because of perceived “fundamental problems”.

Ive, speaking at the British Embassy’s Creative Summit, said the company encountered "issues that couldn't be solved" such as users’ ears accidentally pressing the touchscreen buttons when speaking on the phone.

Until the design team realised that a proximity sensor could solve this issue, they were frustrated almost to the point of shelving the whole thing.

He also said that Apple will go back and forth from the drawing board many times in order to release a product that is “great”, not just “good”.

"We were pursuing something that we think 'that's really incredibly compelling', but we're really struggling to solve the problem that it represents," said Ive, reported The Independent.

"We have been, on a number of occasions, preparing for mass production and in a room and realised we are talking a little too loud about the virtues of something. That to me is always the danger, if I'm trying to talk a little too loud about something and realising I'm trying to convince myself that something's good.

"You have that horrible, horrible feeling deep down in your tummy and you know that it's OK but it's not great. And I think some of the bravest things we've ever done are really at that point when you say, 'that's good and it's competent, but it not's great'."

Ive was knighted this year. He joined Apple as a designer in 1992, left and came back, and has led the Apple design team for 16 years. 

Apple reported net income of $US8.8 billion for its third quarter of 2012, and sold 26 million iPhones, a 28 percent year-on-year increase.

This article originally appeared at

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Jony Ive: "We nearly shelved the iPhone"
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