Twitter seems to be the perfect platform to do all kinds of irony and parody. Satire accounts are particulary popular. There is a God on Twitter, a fake Donald Trump, a fake Elon Musk, a Nicht-Chevy-Chase and a Not-Jony-Ive. The latter belongs to the Apple media that follow and comment on the developments in Cupertino. His biting and short comments summarize events sometimes better than columns of well-established blogs or pundits. We talked to the person behind Not-Jony-Ive.
One of your follower said, you are the real Ive pretending to be parody account to be able to tell the truth. Is it true?
It’s the only way I can let my true feelings be known outside my white room.
What product do you consider your masterpiece – Mac Pro 2013 or the butterfly keyboard?
Every product that I have ever designed is a masterpiece. They are all equally perfect in every way possible.
Not one single failure in my entire career. How many other designers can say that?
How much time did you spend inside your white room at Apple?
Far too much. I may be getting a little stir crazy. It’s probably best I leave Apple before I completely lose my mind. It’s better to be stuck inside a white room than to have to attend a pointless meeting, however. That’s a benefit!
Any windows? I mean inside your white room?
The only Windows inside my white room is running on the one, lonely PC we use to “test” iTunes for Windows. It’s some beige Pentium with a CRT display. We want to ensure PC users have the same magical experience using iTunes on their hardware as Apple users.
Is it actually a coincidence that iTunes is going to be splitted and you are leaving Apple?
iTunes should have been split up several years ago. The truth is, Eddy Cue really only does two things: Shops for brightly coloured shirts, and watches the Golden State Warriors play basketball. I thought it would be a good idea to finally break up iTunes, and when I mentioned it to Tim, he said, “Let’s make Eddy do it; it’s not like he has anything else going on” and so now Eddy has a project and I have more time to pack my bags before leaving. All applications should be designed to be as thin as possible.
With the fonts as thin as possible?
If you can still read it, the font is not thin enough.
And that how we turn to minimaluminiumalism. What is it?
Minimaluminiumalism is the greatest portmanteau ever created and my personal design philosophy. Minimalism + Aluminium. Life simply does not get any better than that.
This does not very well apply to the newest Mac Pro. Or does it?
The new Mac Pro features a stainless steel housing with an aluminium frame, which is incredible because using two different metals allows us to charge you twice as much for it. It’s the best Mac Pro that we have ever done!
Is there any life after Apple, Jony?
I look forward to not having to limit myself to only making computers, phones, and watches as thin as possible. Now I can design even more things to be thinner and lighter. Maybe I’ll finally get around to designing the world’s greatest cups I casually mentioned years ago .
We may or may not still be working on that. Either way, rest assured you won’t be able to afford it. An Apple Car would be wonderful. There are lots of opportunities for innovation in that automobile industry. Everyone thinks Tesla is the greatest electric car (and they do make a fine vehicle), but Apple could do so much better. We could offer an electric vehicle with a much higher price, and features that Tesla owners could only *dream* of, like including Apple CarPlay.
Are you friends with Bored Elon Musk?
I’m familiar with his account. He used to follow me, but no longer does. We’ve conversed on Twitter before, but I don’t regularly read his tweets.
What does the departure of Jony Ive mean for your account? Are you going to stay on Twitter as Not Jony Ive?
I think I’d like to stay on Twitter for as long as people will continue to tune in and keep things fun.
Why Jony Ive as a parody account? Why not Tim Cook, Steve Jobs?
I never wanted to do a parody account as Steve Jobs because of the Fake Steve Jobs blog that Dan Lyons ran a few years ago. Essentially, it has already been done. Tim is an operations guy and doesn’t provide enough excitement or fodder. What am I going to do, tweet about Duke basketball? People say “write what you know” and I am a designer, so Jony seemed the most obvious choice.
Where did you get all those Jony Ive pictures, in any mood possible, even with hair!
I import my interviews into iMovie and literally scrub through them frame by frame until I find the most magical pose. Then I export an image and save it to Photos. It takes forever, but I think I have over 1,000 incredible photos now.
Are you online 24/7? That’s because you are commenting on breaking news only five minutes later after they were broke.
I am not online 24/7. Even the world’s greatest designer needs his rest. But I am online quite a bit, and I follow various Apple news sites to keep informed of the company. I like to see which websites and bloggers say nice things about us so that we can reward them, and which sites and bloggers talk shit about us so that we can ban them from Apple events and take them off our Christmas card list.
What is your relation with Apple and its employees on Twitter and behind the scenes?
My relationship with Apple is that they are not fond of me, at least on any “official” capacity. They tried to shut down my account years ago (and were successful for about a week) but I’m far too incredible to be kept silent. I know a fair amount of Apple employees follow me, but I also have some executive level employees follow me so maybe Apple doesn’t hate me too much after all? I don’t really give a damn what the executives think, but I hope the “regular” employees at least get a good laugh out of my tweets. Most Apple employees are good people and put up with a lot for very little pay, and whenever I am in an Apple Store for service or something I always try to go out of my way to thank them because I really do appreciate them. There really isn’t a lot of communication “behind the scenes”—I like to interact with my followers directly on Twitter as much as possible.
Is this account your hobby or your job or both?
This account started as a hobby. I was in a really boring meeting and decided to sign up for Twitter on my iPhone and tweet Apple commentary. People started to tune in and follow and it grew from there. Now I honestly probably spend more time tweeting than anything else. I’m fortunate that I can usually do my job and keep Twitter open as I work, which is why it seems like I am online 24/7. I wish I could do this as my job. It’s *SO* much more fun and entertaining than my job.
Were you able to monetise your persona on twitter?
Apple should hire me to run their social media accounts. I think I’m good at engaging with Apple fans.
And their official accounts are not as funny as yours…
Yes, the official Apple accounts are quite dull, but that’s because Apple is now an uptight luxury brand. I do miss the days when it really was “the computer for the rest of us” and the company that believed in “the Crazy Ones”. Now it’s much more about money, luxury, and their “image”.
This account doesn’t make me any money. In fact I think it’s fair to say I *lose* money because I spend so much time tweeting or doing some ridiculous Photoshop for Twitter instead of working on a design for work or for a client. I tweet because I want people to have a laugh—at the end of the day, that really is my ultimate goal. About a week ago I did design a T-shirt with my minimaluminiumalism logo on it and I have been selling them, but the margin on shirts is very thin (almost TOO thin, even for me!) and the few that I have sold won’t replace my day job.
Well, Jony. Thank you for the interview. Its was both very funny and very insightful.
Thank you for having me. The greatest interview that Macwelt has ever done!