Sir Jonathan “Jony” Ive, KBE (born February 1967) is a British designer and the senior vice president of industrial design at Apple Inc. He is the leading designer and conceptual mind behind the iMac, titanium and aluminum PowerBook G4, G4 Cube, MacBook, unibody MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iPod, iPhone, and iPad.
Early life and family
Ive was born in Chingford, London. He was brought up by his teacher father and attended the Chingford Foundation School and went on to attend Walton High School in Stafford, then studied industrial design at Northumbria University (Newcastle Polytechnic at the time). Once enrolled in Walton, it became clear that he attained many technical and drawing skills through his father. Ive met his wife, Heather Pegg, while in secondary school. She is a year younger than Ive. They married in 1987 and have twin sons and now live in San Francisco.
Ive has said that he knew he was interested in “drawing and making stuff” since around age 14. The idea of design was long in his mind, but he was unsure about exactly what he would design. His interests were very broad — from furniture and jewellery to boats and cars. He was never sure about where his interest would lead. It wasn’t until he met with various design experts that he was able to see some standard ground in wanting to further his study in product design.
Ive was not always adept with computers and found them quite frustrating. Technology to him was difficult to grasp or may not have been for him. Once he discovered Apple’s Mac computers, he felt more at ease. He realized they helped his once confusion and brought a newer and greater outlook to the technology of computers. For him, this was a significant discovery because he was hoping to enhance his design skills using computers.
After finishing university, Ive went on to become a co-founder of London design agency Tangerine. Subsequently, he was commissioned in 1992 by Apple’s then Chief of Industrial Design Robert Brunner as a Tangerine consult. He then gained his current position at Apple in 1997 as the senior vice president of industrial design after the return of Steve Jobs and has 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 to many other designs such as the iPod and eventually the iPhone. 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.
The work and principles of Dieter Rams, the chief designer at Braun from 1961 until 1995, have influenced Ive’s work. In Gary Hustwit’s documentary film Objectified (2009), Rams states that Apple is one of only a handful of companies existing today that design products according to Rams’s ten principles of “good design.”
Ive has his own laboratory with his appointed design team. They work to music that a close friend of his, DJ Jon Digweed, provides. Purportedly, the majority of Apple employees are not allowed in the laboratory.
The Sunday Times named Ive one of Britain’s most influential expatriates on 27 November 2005: “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 recent 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 as the CEO by Tim Cook, the company’s former COO.
On 11 January 2008, The Daily Telegraph rated Ive the most influential Briton in America.
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