Sir Jonathan Paul Ive is an English designer and the Chief Design Officer at Apple. He oversees the Apple Industrial Design Group and also provides leadership and direction for Human Interface software teams across the company. Ive is the designer of many of Apple's products, including the MacBook Pro, iMac, MacBook Air, Mac mini, iPod, iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad, iPad Mini, Apple Watch and iOS. Steve Jobs considered Ive to be his "spiritual partner at Apple", while Fortune magazine stated in 2010 that Apple design motifs Ive's designs have "set the course not just for Apple but for design more broadly". He also serves as the narrator for most of Apple's product reveal videos. Actor Giles Matthey portrayed him in the 2013 film, Jobs.
|Sir Jonathan Ive
Jonathan Ive, April 2009
|Born||Jonathan Paul Ive
Chingford, London, England, UK
|Other names||Jony Ive|
|Alma mater||Newcastle Polytechnic (BA)|
|Occupation||Chief Design Officer at Apple Inc.|
|Known for||Design work and innovation at Apple Inc.|
|Spouse(s)||Heather Pegg (m. 1987)|
Ive was born in Chingford, London, United Kingdom. His father was a silversmith who lectured at Middlesex Polytechnic. "He's a fantastic craftsman, his Christmas gift to me would be one day of his time in his college workshop, during the Christmas break when no one else was there, helping me make whatever I dreamed up". Ive attended the Chingford Foundation School, then Walton High School in Stafford. During his high school years, Ive was passionate about cars and it was this interest that led to his later career as a designer. Following graduation from Walton, Ive explored the option of studying car design in London, such as the course offered at the Royal College of Art; however, he encountered a learning environment that was off-putting: "The classes were full of students making vroom! vroom! noises as they drew".
Ive studied industrial design at Newcastle Polytechnic, which is now Northumbria University. Items from his student portfolio, such as a hearing aid design, were exhibited at the Design Museum in London. Ive had been interested in drawing and making anything he could think of. Since he was a teenager, he was unsure of what area to specialise in after leaving Newcastle. After meeting with various design experts, he was drawn to product design. He was given employment at London design agency Roberts Weaver group, his college sponsor. Ive graduated with a first class Bachelor of Arts degree in 1989.
Ive explained that his discovery of the Apple Mac, after "having a real problem with computers" during his later student years, was a turning point. Fearing he was "technically inept", he felt the Apple user experience was a departure from the computer design at that time and was particularly impressed by the intuitive mouse-driven system.
After a year with Roberts Weaver, Ive joined a London startup design agency called Tangerine, located in Hoxton Square where he designed a diverse array of products, such as microwave ovens and toothbrushes. However, his frustration with the position reached a turning point after he designed a toilet, bidet and sink for client Ideal Standard, and the company's boss rejected Ive's work, stating that the products were too costly and looked too modern. Ive was unhappy working for clients whom he disliked and who didn't possess the same principles. Apple was a Tangerine client that Ive appreciated and he had been acting in a consultancy role for the computer firm while at Tangerine, creating the initial PowerBook designs. Apple had actually been attempting to recruit him as a full-time employee for two years without success.
Ive worked as a consultant for Apple's Chief of Industrial Design at the time Robert Brunner, and eventually became a full-time Apple employee in 1992. He designed the second generation of the Newton, the MessagePad 110, taking him to Taipei for the first time. Shortly before Jobs's return to Apple, Ive nearly resigned from the company. Jon Rubinstein, Ive's boss at the time, managed to retain Ive as an employee by explaining that Apple was "going to make history" following the revival of the company.
He became the Senior Vice President of Industrial Design in 1997 after the return of Jobs, and subsequently headed the industrial design team responsible for most of the company's significant hardware products. Ive's first design assignment was the iMac; it helped pave the way for many other designs such as the iPod and eventually the iPhone and the iPad. Jobs made design a chief focus of the firm's product strategy, and Ive proceeded to establish the firm’s leading position with a series of functionally clean, aesthetically pleasing, and remarkably popular products. Ive explained the close rapport that existed in his working relationship with Jobs in 2014: "When we were looking at objects, what our eyes physically saw and what we came to perceive were exactly the same. And we would ask the same questions, have the same curiosity about things." Ive described Jobs as "so clever", with "bold" and "magnificent" ideas.
The work and principles of Dieter Rams, the chief designer at Braun from 1961 until 1995, influenced Ive's work. In Gary Hustwit's documentary film Objectified (2009), Rams says that Apple is one of only a handful of companies existing today that design products according to Rams' ten principles of "good design".
Ive runs his own laboratory at Apple, in which he oversees the work of his appointed design team, and he is the only Apple designer with a private office. Only his core team — which consists of around 15 people from Britain, America, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand (who have worked together for around two decades) — and top Apple executives are allowed into the laboratory, as it contains all of the concepts, including prototypes, that the design team is working on. Ive also refuses to allow his children to enter the laboratory. According to the Jobs biography, Ive's design studio contains foam-cutting and printing machines, while the windows are tinted. Jobs told biographer Walter Isaacson: "He has more operational power than anyone else at Apple except me."
On 29 October 2012, Apple announced that "Jony Ive will provide leadership and direction for Human Interface (HI) across the company in addition to his role as the leader of Industrial Design." With the WWDC13 announcement of the iOS7 and Ive's role as principal, the Apple Press information was also updated to reflect his new title: Senior Vice President of Design.
The scheduled publication of an unofficial Ive biography was announced in late 2013. Written by Leander Kahney, who conducted interviews with former Apple designers and executives, the book is titled Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple's Greatest Products.
In March 2014, Time magazine published a feature interview with Ive, in which he revealed an optimistic view of his future with Apple:
We are at the beginning of a remarkable time, when a remarkable number of products will be developed. When you think about technology and what it has enabled us to do so far, and what it will enable us to do in future, we’re not even close to any kind of limit. It’s still so, so new ... At Apple, there’s almost a joy in looking at your ignorance and realizing, ‘Wow, we’re going to learn about this and, by the time we’re done, we’re going to really understand and do something great.’ Apple is imperfect, like every large collection of people. But we have a rare quality. There is this almost pre-verbal, instinctive understanding about what we do, why we do it. We share the same values.
In the same interview, Ive stated that he hopes that his best work is yet to emerge and that he prefers to be identified as a maker of products, rather than a designer. Ive believes that there is "a resurgence of the idea of craft" in 2014.
Ive has designed products for charitable causes, including a Leica camera for a charity auction that set a world record auction price for a camera and a Jaeger-LeCoultre sports watch—only one of three in the world—for an AIDS-charity auction.
Honors and awards
In 2004, he was named the "Most Influential Person on British Culture" by the BBC.
In 2005 The Sunday Times named Ive one of Britain's most influential expatriates, saying: "Ive may not be the richest or the most senior figure on the list, but he has certainly been one of the most influential as the man who designed the iPod."
A 2006 Macworld magazine poll listed Ive's joining Apple in 1992 as the sixth most significant event in Apple's history, while Dan Moren, a writer at MacUser magazine (a subsidiary of Macworld), suggested in March 2006 that, when the time came for Steve Jobs to step down as the CEO of Apple, Ive would be an excellent candidate for the position, justifying the statement by saying that Ive "embodies what Apple is perhaps most famous for: design". However, Jobs was succeeded by Tim Cook, the company's former COO.
In 2008, he was named the No. 1 "Most Influential Briton in America" by the Daily Telegraph. Creativity Online included Ive in their "Creativity 50" list. The same year, he was awarded the MDA Personal Achievement Award for the design of the iPhone.
In 2009, Ive received an honorary doctorate from the Rhode Island School of Design, and honorary doctor of the Royal College of Art. Also in 2009, Fast Company put him at No. 1 on their list of "100 Most Creative People in Business; the Daily Telegraph named him the second "Most Influential Briton in Technology, Forbes magazine listed him as second amongst the "Most Powerful People in Technology; and The Guardian named him "Inventor of the Decade".
In 2010, Bloomberg BusinessWeek listed Ive among the "World's Most Influential Designers", CNN Money named him "Smartest Designer" in their "Smartest People in Tech" story. Ive was listed at No. 18 on "The Vanity Fair 100" list, and Eureka of The Times group placed him No. 5 on their list of "Britain's Most Important Scientists"; Fortune named Ive the "world's smartest designer" for his work on Apple products.
Ive was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2006 New Year Honours for services to the design industry. In the 2012 New Year Honours, he was elevated to Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) for "services to design and enterprise"; he was knighted by Princess Anne in Buckingham Palace in a May 2012 ceremony. He described the honour as "absolutely thrilling" and said he was "both humbled and sincerely grateful".
As of early 2014, Ive is listed as a patent holder on over 730 U.S. design and utility patents, as well as many more related patents around the world.
Ive married British writer and historian Heather Pegg in 1987, with whom he raises twin sons. Ive has been publicised as a very private and low-profile public figure. His family resides in the Pacific Heights district of San Francisco, California, US. Ive avoids publicity and stated in March 2014 that Jobs was his "closest friend", a person he finds it "odd and tough to talk about", as "it doesn’t feel that long ago that he died". He also explained in 2014 that if his work at Apple ever became substandard, he would "make things for [himself], for [his] friends at home instead".
- Apple Inc. design motifs
- Apple Industrial Design Group
- History of Apple Computer
- History of computing hardware (1960s–present)
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Designer: Dieter Rams and Dietrich Lubs
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- Descriptions of Work
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- Jonathan Ive interview with Shane Richmond of The Daily Telegraph on 23 May 2012
- Jonathan Ive interview with Dylan Jones, editor of British GQ, following Ives' Honorary Doctorate from the University of the Arts, London on 16 November 2006
- Design of the Power Mac G5 with Wired magazine
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- Mark Prigg, "Sir Jonathan Ive: The iMan cometh", in the London Evening Standard