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Apple Watch “Most Difficult Project,” Jony Ive Has Worked On

by Brandon Russell | September 17, 2014September 17, 2014 4:00 pm PDT

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Tim Cook is buzzing; you could see the excitement on his face during Apple’s iPhone 6 event. When offstage during that announcement, he was animated, punching the air with his fists as his executive staff unveiled new information about Apple’s big new devices. So it’s no surprise to see his outward demeanor extends deeply into the Apple community.

In a new interview with Bloomberg, the CEO is described as calm, tranquil. Cook is finally coming out from behind the immense shadow of Steve Jobs.

The Bloomberg interview is extensive, and touches on a lot of topics, including the iPhone 6, the challenges with the Apple Watch, and the company’s culture. For example, when Jobs was in charge, the executive wing was apparently filled with nervous energy, but not anymore. Cook is a more jovial presence; that doesn’t mean Jobs still isn’t felt around the Cupertino campus. In fact, Jobs’ office has been left untouched since his death in 2011. Not as a shrine, but as a homage.

“It felt right to leave it,” Cook said. “That’s Steve’s office.”

Three years on from Jobs’ passing, and Cook has carved his place in Apple’s history. Apple’s senior team, including Eddy Cue, say they are “damn proud” to work with Cook, adding that he should get much more recognition for his influence on the company. Cook has overseen some major product releases over the past few years, culminating in the most recent event, which saw Apple unveil two larger iPhone models, along with the Apple Watch, which will come out early next year.

But it might have been Cook’s leadership behind-the-scenes that is most impressive. After Jobs passed, many gave Cook little chance to steer the Apple ship into successful waters; it seemed like the company would be overshadowed by a man who had prison-like control over Apple. But Cook managed to regroup his executive team and, after Scott Forstall was fired, steer a new frontier. Now we have things like Touch ID, Apple Pay, and iOS 8, which is more open to developers than ever.

The interview then shifts to Jony Ive, who shares more information about the Apple Watch, which he says has been in development for three years (just after Jobs passed away).

“It’s probably one of the most difficult projects I have ever worked on,” Ive revealed, adding that engineering on the project was incredibly difficult.

Ive apparently spoke with a number of watch experts when developing the Apple Watch, and even “immersed himself in horological history.”

The discussion with Ive is incredibly insightful, and reveals many of the development challenges Apple faced along the way. Apple apparently tried a pinch-to-zoom method in the beginning, but instead opted for the digital crown, which is a familiar tool in classic watches.

Check out Bloomberg for the entire interview, including some comments made by Jeff Williams, who acts as senior vice president for operations.

“We want to make the best product in the world,” Williams said when asked about the Apple Watch. Williams also had this to say about a very specific competitor: “One of our competitors is on their fourth or fifth attempt, but nobody is wearing them.” “We are willing to wait,” Cook added.

Bloomberg

Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...

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