“Precious few designers have left Sir Jonathan Ive’s industrial design group since he took over in 1996: Two quit; three died. (We talked to the two who quit, among dozens of other longtime Apple veterans.) What we found is that the greatest business story of the past two decades–how Apple used design to rise from near bankruptcy to become the most valuable company in the world–is completely misunderstood,” Fast Company reports.

“Outsiders have tended to assume that because longtime CEO Steve Jobs was a champion of products in which hardware and software work together seamlessly, Apple itself was a paragon of collaboration. In fact, the opposite was often true,” Fast Company reports. “What’s more, the myth of Jobs’s exile in 1985 and restoration in 1997 has obscured the fact that much of the critical design work that led to Apple’s resurgence started while Jobs was running Pixar and NeXT. Ive–of whom Jobs once said, “He has more operational power than anyone else at Apple except me”–joined the company in 1992. And since Ive added software to his domain, in 2012, the industrial designer has even more power now.”

Fast Company reports, “Neither Ive, nor anyone else at Apple, was willing to speak on the record for this article. As a result, this story is different from any other you’ve read about Apple. It is an oral history of Apple’s design, a decoding of the signature as told by the people who helped create it. Its roots go back to the 1980s, when Jobs’s metaphor that the computer is a “bicycle for the mind” became a touchstone for design at Apple, an expression of the ambition to turn high tech into simple and accessible devices. In the immediate aftermath of Jobs’s 1985 ouster, Apple had some commercial success, thanks in part to the work of Hartmut Esslinger’s Frog Design (now Frog). But Esslinger followed Jobs to NeXT in the late 1980s, and as the 1990s wore on, Apple struggled as a me-too PC maker, and its market share plummeted. Our creative conversation starts in those dark days, when a hardy few trying to hold onto Jobs’s ideals are heartened by the arrival of a soft-spoken, young industrial designer from the United Kingdom.”

Much more in the full article here.