iSaber? How Apple’s Jony Ive Helped J.J. Abrams Design A New ‘Star Wars’ Lightsaber

Giuseppe Macri Tech Editor
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The designer behind some of the most popular and recognizable technology of the 21st century is extending his influence to a galaxy far, far away.

According to a new interview in the New Yorker with legendary Apple design chief Jony Ive, the crossguard lightsaber that stole the spotlight in the first “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” teaser may have featured some input from the mind behind the world’s most popular handhelds — the real ones, at least.

The two reportedly had an informal consultation during a dinner party in New York, where “Episode VII” director J.J. Abrams told Ive he was working on Star Wars. While nerding out about lightsabers over dinner, Ive gave Abrams some “very specific” input about how he thought the traditionally elegant weapon should look, particularly in the case of the new film’s presumed villain.

“I thought it would be interesting if it were less precise, and just a little bit more spitty,” Ive said. “More analog and more primitive, and I think, in that way, somehow more ominous.”

Sir Ive described the exchange as “just a conversation,” but based on what we saw in the teaser, it appears to have had an impact. The blade of the red lightsaber wielded by the black clothed and hooded presumed-Sith is edgier and noticeably less-smooth compared to the lightsabers in all previous films. That combined with the archaic crossguard design — traditionally employed on swords of medieval European make — gives the weapon a very retro feel, and hints at much older origins for the film’s new villain.

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