Apple’s iPhone X, which hits stores in November, took five years to develop, Apple Chief Design Officer Jony Ive said on Friday.
The device’s new design, which eliminates the home button in favor of a screen that takes up nearly the entire front of the phone, was the result of a development process full of failures, Ive said during an onstage interview at the New Yorker TechFest conference.
“I mean, the phone we just announced a couple of weeks ago, the iPhone X, that technology is something we’d been working on for five years. And we had prototypes that were this big,” Ive said, either referring to the iPhone X design or its new facial recognition feature, Face ID.
“There’s a tendency, and of course there is, and I understand it, with the benefit of hindsight, all of it seems inevitable,” Ive said. “But for 99% of the time, it didn’t work for us. For the vast majority of the development cycle, all we had were things that failed. By definition, if they didn’t fail halfway through, then we’d be done.”
Technology of Ive’s dreams
One question that Ive was asked by interviewer David Remnick was about new technologies he dreams about.
But Ive didn’t take the bait, and did not reveal any details about upcoming Apple products, or even its interest in technologies like augmented reality.
“There are so many opportunities around displays, opportunities as silicon has become smaller and more efficient, computational power is extraordinary, some of the allowances, some of the opportunities are extraordinary,” Ive said.
He did, however, at one point during the interview give a shoutout to Apple’s silicon department, which recently produced chips that outperform similar products from companies like Qualcomm and Intel.
“If I get to sit down for 2 hours with one of the world’s best silicon chip designers, I could not be happier,” Ive said.
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