Jony Ive: The face is 'the wrong place' for wearable tech

Apple's design chief on circular smartwatch screens, new materials and smartglasses
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Jony Ive, Apple's design chief and the man who convinced the company to build its first smartwatch, has defended Apple's wearable tech choices from the decision to ignore smartglasses to the choice of a rectangular watchface for the Apple Watch.

Read more: The best Apple Watch apps in development

Ive sat down for chat with The New Yorker - read the full profile here - and as usual, he wasn't shy about voicing his criticisms of rival tech.

Ive told The New Yorker that when he saw Google Glass, which is being re-designed from scratch by iPod designer Tony Fadell, he knew that the face "was the wrong place." This is in addition to Tim Cook's bullish comments on Glass being "a flop".

"We always thought that glasses were not a smart move, from a point of view that people would not really want to wear them." Cook said. "They were intrusive, instead of pushing technology to the background, as we've always believed. We always thought it would flop, and, you know, so far it has."

Talking more specifically about his design work on the Apple Watch, Ive defended the rectangular display of the Apple Watch which disappointed some looking for a Moto 360 or LG G Watch R-style circular smartwatch.

"A circle doesn't make any sense," he said. "A huge part of the function is lists."

Now, we understand his concerns - text gets cut off on circular Android Wear watches, there's a lot of wasted space as the UI isn't optimised. But Apple has the resources and the influence over devs to make a circular screen work. We hope Ive hasn't completely ruled it out of future Apple Watch models.

On the process of experimenting with a modular system for the Apple Watch with different materials, straps and price points, Ive said: "We could make aluminium, and stainless steel, and gold, and different alloys of gold. We've not stopped."

Apple was reportedly worried that an Apple Watch would divide its customers into the wealthy and the not-so wealthy so we hope Ive and his lab continue to experiment with different materials. Luxury is fine so long as there's plenty of options for the rest of us.

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Sophie was Wareable's associate editor. She joined the team from Stuff magazine where she was an in-house reviewer. For three and a half years, she tested every smartphone, tablet, and robot vacuum that mattered. 

A fan of thoughtful design, innovative apps, and that Spike Jonze film, she is currently wondering how many fitness tracker reviews it will take to get her fit. Current bet: 19.

Sophie has also written for a host of sites, including Metro, the Evening Standard, the Times, the Telegraph, Little White Lies, the Press Association and the Debrief.

She now works for Wired.

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