In a new interview, Apple’s Alan Dye and Richard Howarth talk about the challenges of Apple Vision Pro and of when they knew it was working.
As Apple Vision Pro arrives in people’s hands after a decade or more of rumors and anticipation, two of the people behind it have been discussing its aims, and its journey to reality.
“We had the feeling that this could be great, but we had no idea how to achieve it,” Richard Howarth, Vice President of Industrial Design at Apple, told Wallpaper magazine. “Many of the problems we were trying to solve were huge, seemingly unsolvable and required entirely new technical innovations.”
“Getting to some of those ideas is very hard,” said Alan Dye, Apple’s Vice President of Human Interface Design. “And then protecting those ideas, all through the process of making them real and obsessing over those details, and working hard to arrive at a point where there’s no other way we could have done it, and it just feels natural, intuitive, easy to use and comfortable to wear, that’s the real hard work.”
“No product more than Apple Vision Pro exemplifies the nature of how we’ve designed the studio and worked as a studio for over a decade,” continued Dye. “This product required, more than ever, that we bring hardware and software, all the disciplines across the studio together, to create one singular product experience.”
“We also start a project at the same time,” said Howarth. “The hardware isn’t developed and then we put software on it, and the experience isn’t designed and then the hardware is created to enable it.”
“It happens symbiotically… we create it together,” he continued. “We all understand the principles and high-level goals and then we move along together, one step at a time as a single team, so there’s no distance between us.”
Dye says that Apple only got fully into Apple Vision Pro when its staff understood that “the product could be used for connection, for bringing people together and helping to enrich their lives, as we do with so many other Apple products.”
Then at the other end of such a years-long process, Dye says that Apple also knew when it was ready.
“When the product, as a piece of hardware and software, is a complete experience and feels inevitable, that’s when we know we’re done,” he said. “That’s where we are at with Apple Vision Pro. It just works, it feels familiar and it feels like something only Apple could have done.”