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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

How Apple Designer Jony Ive Will Influence Future Car Design


Copyright © 2015 Bold Ride LLC.
Apple-Car-Self Driving

Last night, 60 Minutes had a feature story on the goings-on at tech giant Apple, and most prominently featured CEO Tim Cook. The piece largely glossed over hot-button issues surrounding Apple’s operations in China staffed by low-wage workers, and it completely avoided talking about the car that Apple is most definitely working on.
Despite these omissions, CBS’s Charlie Rose did talk to Apple’s chief design officer, Jony Ive. Though Cook runs the show at Apple, Ive has had a pivotal role in the look and feel of many of Apple’s products since even before he worked as a full-time Apple employee starting in 1992 (he was a consultant working with the company before that). The London-born son of a silversmith, Ive has long had a strong connection with cars.

Apple is working on a definitely autonomous, probably all-electric (or hybrid) vehicle, dubbed “Project Titan,” and Ive will certainly be involved with the look of this project. Want to know where Ive’s tastes reside?

 Earlier this year, Business Insider did a piece on cars that Ive has owned, including an original Fiat 500, an Austin-Healy Sprite (that he built with his father), and an Aston Martin DB9 that he crashed in San Brumo, CA. The Aston turned out to be a lemon, so they gave him a Vanquish supercar. He also owned an iconic Aston Martin DB4.


Ive has also owned a Bentley Brooklands and Land Rover LR3. Though he’s never owned one, he approves of the styling of the current Land Rover Range Rover. Ive has gone on record criticizing much of modern car design, lamenting some of the more “shocking” designs. Clearly from his choice in cars and the products he has designed through the years, he appreciates clean designs that hold up over time, rather than attempts to get ahead of a passing fad.


With that in mind, we’re not so convinced that the sketches that have been kicked around of an Apple Car (bottom image) are what the “Project Titan” will actually look like. For a better indicator, check out the Ford 021C concept car (below) that his friend (and now colleague at Apple) Marc Newsome penned in 1999. As stated, it goes for retro-futurism in a way that maybe the enthusiast will enjoy.


This is a plucky little car from which the automotive aficionado can determine its vintage influences. And as long as it does its self-driving job right, people will love it. This could bring in a whole new era of car design, with evocative-yet-clean looks, rather than the busy front fascias and “flame surfaces.”


Would Ive’s vision of the car be a great thing for the automotive world? Or would it result in a move towards too-bland car designs? Let us know what you think in the comments below.