Monday, 02 January 2012 10:29

Arise Sir Jonathan


Jonathan Ive, Apple's chief designer had been awarded a knighthood in the New Year honours list.

Jonathan Ive has been head of the Apple design team since the mid 1990s and was responsible for pretty-much all of the physical look and feel of every product since then.

One of his earliest achievements was the set of five "bubble gum" coloured iMacs.  From there, he moved on to the slew of portable products for which Apple is now famous (with a few laptop and desktop computers in between, of course).

After completing university in London, Ive co-founded the design agency Tangerine and gained some work for Apple soon after.  In 1997, Ive joined Apple as Senior Vice President of Industrial Design sometime before the return of Steve Jobs to the company.

As much as Jobs was responsible for the over-all vision of Apple's product line, it fell to Ive to actually "produce the goods."

In a recent interview Ive told the London Design Museum that he felt frustrated with computers available at the time (early 1990s) until he discovered the Mac.  "I remember being astounded at just how much better it was than anything else I had tried to use. I was struck by the care taken with the whole user experience. I had a sense of connection via the object with the designers."

In late 2005, the Sunday Times named Ive as one of Britain's most influential expatriates, "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."

Design Museum also asked Ive what it was that distinguishes the products developed by Ive's team.

Ive described the aspects of his design that distinguish his work from others in the industry; "Perhaps the decisive factor is fanatical care beyond the obvious stuff: the obsessive attention to details that are often overlooked, like cables and power adaptors. Take the iMac, our attempts to make it less exclusive and more accessible occurred at a number of different levels. A detail example is the handle.

"While its primary function is obviously associated with making the product easy to move, a compelling part of its function is the immediate connection it makes with the user by unambiguously referencing the hand. That reference represents, at some level, an understanding beyond the iMac's core function. Seeing an object with a handle, you instantly understand aspects of its physical nature - I can touch it, move it, it's not too precious."

Ive was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2006 New Year Honours list for services to design and enterprise and was elevated to Knight Commander (KBE) in the 2012 New Year list.

Ive released the following statement: "To be recognized with this honor is absolutely thrilling and I am both humbled and sincerely grateful.  I discovered at an early age that all I've ever wanted to do is design. I feel enormously fortunate that I continue to be able to design and make products with a truly remarkable group of people here at Apple."

It had even been suggested by MacUser that Ive would be the best person to follow Steve Jobs at Apple, but clearly Jobs (and Apple) felt that Tim Cook was the best candidate.  However, it would be a reasonable assumption that Ive will continue to have a significant input into the company's products.


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David Heath

David Heath has had a long and varied career in the IT industry having worked as a Pre-sales Network Engineer (remember Novell NetWare?), General Manager of IT&T for the TV Shopping Network, as a Technical manager in the Biometrics industry, and as a Technical Trainer and Instructional Designer in the industrial control sector. In all aspects, security has been a driving focus. Throughout his career, David has sought to inform and educate people and has done that through his writings and in more formal educational environments.

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