Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

Fortune: Apple's Ive helped design the heroine of Pixar's Wall-E

May 12, 2008: 12:53 PM ET

It's no accident that Eve, Wall-E's sleek, pod-like love interest in the forthcoming Disney/Pixar animated feature film by the same name, looks like something out of Apple's (AAPL) design department.

Writing in the current issue of Fortune, Richard Siklos reports that Jonathan Ive, head of Apple's design department and the man responsible for the iMac, iPod and iPhone, had a hand in creating the robot.

In the piece, director Andrew Stanton tells Siklos:

"I wanted Eve to be high-end technology -- no expense spared -- and I wanted it to be seamless and for the technology to be sort of hidden and subcutaneous. The more I started describing it, the more I realized I was pretty much describing the Apple playbook for design." (link)

According to Siklos, a call from Stanton to Steve Jobs in 2005 resulted in Ive spending a day at Pixar consulting on the Eve prototype. Siklos writes:

"Stanton said that it was a 'lovefest' with Ive, but that the notoriously tight-lipped design wizard offered few specific modifications. 'Apple is so proprietary and so secretive that he couldn't even really allude to where the future of technology was going,' says Stanton. 'The most he could do is nod his head to the things we said we wanted to do.' (Through a spokesman, Ive declined to comment.)" (link)

Disney (DIS) bought Pixar in 2006 in a deal that made Jobs Disney's largest individual shareholder.

Stanton, who directed Finding Nemo, says he's been kicking around the idea for Wall-E for years, even before Toy Story was made. He has summarized it most succinctly like this: "What if mankind evacuated Earth and forgot to turn off the last remaining robot?"

The movie opens June 27, which is the day the smart money is betting that the 3G iPhone goes on sale.

You can read Siklos' piece at Fortune.com here.

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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