Jony Ive slams Apple design copycats during rare interview

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Apple designer Jonathan Ive

GADGET DESIGNER Apple's chief of design Sir Jony Ive has hit out at Apple design copycats during a rare interview with The Sunday Times, calling the common practice "theft".

While Ive was careful not to name any names, he seemed happy to talk about the growing number of iPhone lookalikes hitting the market. When The Sunday Times asked Ive what he made of design copycats (paywalled), he said, "It's theft."

Ive added that it's not just the design that rival phone makers are pilfering, as they are also stepping on the "thousands" of hours of blood and tears that Apple puts into its products.

"What's copied isn't just a design, it's thousands and thousands of hours of struggle. It's only when you've achieved what you set out to do that you can say 'this was worth pursuing'. It takes years of investment, years of pain."

As if to ward off more iPhone lookalikes, Ive also spoke out about the number of "poorly made objects" available today, likely another dig at the firm's competitors that apparently don't "give a damn" like Apple does.

"We're surrounded by anonymous, poorly made objects. It's tempting to think it's because the people who use them don't care - just like the people who make them. But what we've shown is that people do care," Ive added.

"We care about things that are thoughtfully conceived and well made. We make and sell a very, very large number of (hopefully) beautiful, well-made things. Our success is a victory for purity, integrity - for giving a damn."

Of course, Ive's five-page Sunday Express spread wasn't taken up entirely by putting down the firm's competitors, and the Apple design chief dropped a hint that the firm is about to enter a new product category - perhaps wearables or television.

When asked, "What would you like to make that you've not made yet?" Ive answered coyly, "What we're working on right now, which I can't tell you about." µ

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