Inside the head of Apple's top designer

See the new Apple Watch in :60
See the new Apple Watch in :60

Jony Ive has been shaping Apple products for years and is an icon in the design world. But he keeps a pretty low profile, typically staying behind the scenes at Apple's massive Silicon Valley headquarters.

Apple's design chief talked about how he works in a recent interview with Vogue, offering his thoughts about the late Steve Jobs, the creative process and the planned 2015 release of the company's first wearable device, the Apple watch.

His partnership with Jobs: Ive, who became Apple's top designer in 1996, was thinking of quitting in the late 1990s. But Jobs convinced him to stay. The pair "just clicked," Ive told Vogue, and created a new generation of Apple products.

"When you feel that the way you interpret the world is fairly idiosyncratic, you can feel somewhat ostracized and lonely, and I think that we both perceived the world in the same way."

His design philosophy: Both Jobs and Ive agreed that technology should be approachable -- a philosophy that was especially clear from their first hit -- the iMac computer.

"I think what we sincerely try to do is create objects and products and ideas that are new and innovative, but at the same time there is a slightly peculiar familiarity to them."

Jony Ive Apple
Apple's Jony Ive

Why he can't design in silence: Ive told Vogue that he works best against the background of the rhythmic sounds of techno music.

"I find that when I write I need things to be quiet, but when I design, I can't bear it if it's quiet."

His favorite feature of the Apple watch: The promise of the Apple Watch is that it will do everything from track your steps to let you pay for your coffee.

But Ive said he is particularly interested in a mechanism inside the watch that will let users transmit their own heartbeats to other people wearing the watch. He told Vogue the feature is a reaction against how "technology tends to inhibit rather than enable more nuanced, subtle communication."

"You feel this very gentle tap, and you can feel my heartbeat. This is a very big deal, I think. It's being able to communicate in a very gentle way."

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