Apple’s design chief Jony Ive spoke on Thursday at Vanity Fair’s New Establishment Conference. Yes, Silicon Valley is generally anti-establishment, but they like “new”–and you have to call a conference something. Ive, who rarely gives interviews, talked with VF’s chief celebrator Graydon Carter.
An audience member asked Ive about all the companies that copy Apple. Does that piss him off? After all, he works so hard to produce the designs that have captivated people and captured so much market share. Ive called the copying “theft.” It’s a comment that helps people understand the name of the conference. Apple is the establishment now, and it can throw darts from behind that wall. By the time Steve Jobs died he’d sued everybody (Google, Microsoft, HP) for allegedly stealing Apple’s stuff. But in 1996, when Apple was struggling, Jobs famously said this: “Picasso had a saying — ‘good artists copy; great artists steal’ — and we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.” Times change.