So, remember when the iPhone 4 was rolled out, with much fanfare and jubilation? That was before all the trouble started…
Core77 had a chance to briefly interview Jonathan Ive, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Design, about the materials and manufacturing process used to create this object of so many’s desire.
In the interview, in addition to talking about the use of scratch-resistant aluminosilicate glass for the front and back of the phone, Ive discussed the now-famous black breaks in their custom-developed stainless steel edging for the phone. Turns out the edge detail is actually one single piece of metal which is co-injection molded. Jonathan explains:
Those three black splits are co-molded in, and then the band goes through more processes. So it’s assembled first, the band, and then the final machining and grinding are performed, so the tolerances are extraordinary… Whatever people’s feelings are about the actual design of the product is of course subjective. But objectively I can say that the manufacturing tolerances are phenomenal. And we determined this, we designed it from the very beginning to meet those goals.
Despite these issues and to Apple’s credit, they espouse the kind of attitude towards materials and design that I have long held:
For a designer to continually learn about materials is not extracurricular, it’s absolutely essential.
This interview has more pics to enjoy.