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Jonathan Ive, Apple's Design Guru, On What Competitors Are Doing Wrong

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JONATHAN IVE APPLE
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What are Apple's competitors doing wrong?

Apple's design guru Sir Jonathan Ive, the company's senior vice president of industrial design, has some thoughts on the matter, which he shared in an interview with the Evening Standard's Mark Prigg.

In the must-read Q&A with Ive, who is the mastermind behind the iconic appearance of the iMac, iPod, iPhone and iPad, Ive touches on the differences between London and Silicon Valley, how new products come about at Apple, why consumers have become obsessed with Apple products, how he measures success, and much, much more.

The release of the third generation iPad widened the gap between Apple and its competitors in the tablet market, and left many wondering why rivals had yet to catch up.

According to Slate writer Farhad Manjoo, the iPad is on course to do what Apple's iPod music player did: create an entirely new category of product and then dominate that category in such a way that competition basically falls by the wayside.

Manjoo writes:

[T]here’s a good chance I’ll run out of superlatives to describe Apple’s tremendous, astonishing, stupendous, unbelievable emerging position in the tablet market. But I think the overkill is justified, as I worry that Apple’s rivals haven’t adequately taken stock of the potential disaster that lies ahead of them.

According to Ive, one reason competitors have such a hard time matching Apple's success is because they are coming at their designs from the wrong direction.

Ive told the Evening Standard:

Most of our competitors are interested in doing something different, or want to appear new -- I think those are completely the wrong goals. A product has to be genuinely better. This requires real discipline, and that’s what drives us -- a sincere, genuine appetite to do something that is better.

When Apple begins work on a new offering, Ive said, "Our goals are very simple — to design and make better products. If we can’t make something that is better, we won’t do it."

By all accounts Ive and Apple's approach is working. According to market research firm iHS iSuppli, in 2011, the iPad, commanded over 60 percent of the tablet market share.

Sure, this number fell from 64 percent in the third quarter of 2011 to 57 percent in the fourth quarter, but according to iHS iSuppli this was not due to tablet rivals, but to the success of Apple's own iPhone 4S.

As iHS iSuppli writes in a press release, "The rollout of the iPhone 4S in October generated intense competition for Apple purchasers’ disposable income, doing more to limit iPad shipment growth than competition from the Kindle Fire and other media tablets."

It should be a scary state of affairs for competitors when Apple's main competition is itself.

Want more iPad? Check out how Apple's new iPad compares to the iPad 2, how it compares to Samsung's Galaxy Note 10.1 and whether the Twitterverse likes the new tablet or not. According to Apple, demand for the new iPad has been "off the charts."

Read the full interview with Ive here.

Flick through the slideshow (below) for a look back at Apple's most iconic products.

The 10 Most Iconic Products From Steve Jobs's Career
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