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Apple would have probably axed the Apple Watch if not for Jony Ive

Published Feb 16th, 2015 12:25PM EST
Apple Watch Design Story: Jony Ive
Image: Apple Inc.

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Apple’s first smartwatch is launching soon and Apple is hoping millions of existing iPhone owners will line up to buy one. But even though the Apple Watch might be a very appealing product that could turn into a cash cow for Apple, the company wasn’t necessarily thrilled with this particular idea, an extensive Jony Ive profile published in The New Yorker reveals.

FROM EARLIER: Is the Apple Watch Jony Ive’s last big project at Apple?

Ive told the publication the Watch project has been at least three years in the making — something he also shared with several magazines that ran massive Apple Watch stories following the gadget’s announcement — but he also revealed that it wasn’t clear from the get-go that this would turn out to be an actual commercial product.

In the fall of 2011, the year in which Steve Jobs died, Ive said the Apple Watch turned into a formal project, though one that he described as “still tentative and very fragile.” The device was conceived close to Jobs’ death, at a time the company was looking into several new products for the future.

For example, the company began developing the iPad mini around that time, and before the end of the year, early prototypes of the iPhone 6 were lined up in the studio. at “every point-one of an inch, from four all the way through to well over six.”

“We explore a lot of things, and we’re resigned to the fact that most of them don’t continue,” he said. “It’s not very often that we start something that’s an entirely new platform,” he added, talking about the Apple Watch.

Further providing insight into Apple’s way of deciding on which projects get approved inside Apple is an anecdote from Bob Mansfield, Apple’s former top executive who was closely involved with the watch project. According to him, there was “a lot of resistance” inside Apple, as the company had concerns about how it would sell the device in its own stores, and about the device potentially creating a divide between wealthy and less wealthy customers.

Eventually, Ive won the battle, and the project ended up being what it is today. The New Yorker’s full and extremely interesting Ive profile is available at the source link.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.