Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Jony Ive and Marc Newson

Paul Goldberger interviewed Ive and Newson for Vanity Fair. In this part, they describe the effort required to produce the one-off Leica Rangefinder camera:

“I found it a very odd and unusual thing to put this amount of love and energy into one thing, where you are only going to make one,” Ive said. “But isn’t it beautiful?” The camera’s dollar worth is hard to estimate, since it is an art piece as much as a functioning object, but the value of the time Ive, Newson, and Leica’s own engineers put into it probably totals well into six figures, and possibly seven. The process of designing and making the camera took more than nine months, and involved 947 different prototype parts and 561 different models before the design was completed. According to Apple, 55 engineers assisted at some part in the process, spending a collective total of 2,149 hours on the project. Final assembly of the actual camera took one engineer 50 hours, the equivalent of more than six workdays, all of which makes Ive’s comment to me that he thought the Leica might bring $6 million seem not so far-fetched.

What’s fascinating, too, about this article is the way in which it contrasts the amount of effort put into producing both these one-off auction items and for Ive to design the mass-produced goods for Apple.