“It’s theft… Thousands and thousands hours of struggle…”

“It’s theft,” said Jony Ive, explaining his views on other companies copying designs strikingly similar to Apple’s.

In a rare interview with London’s The Sunday Times, Cupertino’s design chief offered an insight into why he takes such infringement personally.

“What’s copied isn’t just a design, it’s thousands and thousands of hours of struggle,” he added.

“It’s only when you’ve achieved what you set out to do that you can say, ‘This was worth pursuing.’ It takes years of investment, years of pain.””

An integral part of one of the world’s most secretive companies, Ive has been a valuable part of the Apple team for over two decades, and for the English-born designer, the brief has not changed.

“We’re surrounded by anonymous, poorly made objects,” Ive said. “It’s tempting to think it’s because the people who use them don’t care — just like the people who make them.

“But what we’ve shown is that people do care. It’s not just about aesthetics. They care about things that are thoughtfully conceived and well made.

“We make and sell a very, very large number of (hopefully) beautiful, well-made things. Our success is a victory for purity, integrity — for giving a damn.

“At Apple, there’s almost a joy in looking at your ignorance and realizing, ‘Wow, we’re going to learn about this and, by the time we’re done, we’re going to really understand and do something great.’”

Having worked closely with the late Steve Jobs for many years, Ive’s respect for his former boss remains as strong as ever, as does his ability to look ahead into the future.

“We are at the beginning of a remarkable time, when a remarkable number of products will be developed,” he added.

“When you think about technology and what it has enabled us to do so far, and what it will enable us to do in future, we’re not even close to any kind of limit. It’s still so, so new.”

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