Apple designer Jonathan Ive plays critical role for Cupertino Mac- & iPod-maker

“As Apple Computer’s vice-president of design, Jonathan Ive plays a critical role: keeper of Apple’s unique culture of craft. It starts with Ive’s team of a dozen or so designers, a close-knit group that has been resisting advances from recruiters for years. But what sets them apart isn’t just talent, but the way they work with Apple’s engineers and marketers, not to mention the manufacturing partners who actually build the products,” Peter Burrows writes for BusinessWeek.

Burrows writes, “Rather than just draw pretty pictures, they’re leading innovators in the use of new materials and pioneering production processes—say, the ability to put a layer of clear plastic over the white or black core of your iPod, giving it a depth of quality that most consumers don’t even realize they appreciate.”

“Born in a middle-class London neighborhood, Ive was consumed with the mystery of how things are made by his early teens. After enrolling in the design program at Newcastle Polytechnic University, his talent and drive quickly became obvious, and he became the only student ever to win two best design awards from the Royal Society of the Arts,” Burrows writes.

Burrows presents a slideshow with text of some of the creations that Ive has been responsible for over the years, including:

• Vertical Fax Machine
• Apple Newton MessagePad 110
• iMac G3
• Apple Cinema Display
• Power Mac G4 Cube
• iPod
• Titanium Powerbook
• iMac G4 “desk lamp”
• Mac mini
• iMac G5 / Core Duo / Core 2 Duo
• 1G iPod nano
• Apple Remote
• MacBook
• iPod Hi-Fi

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “CharlieBing” for the heads up.]

25 Comments

  1. ===
    The Newton software became known for being far ahead of its time—and for disastrously mediocre voice-recognition software.
    ===

    Er, first, that should be “handwriting-recognition” software…

    Second, the recognition is near 100% for those that print letters semi-neatly and take the 2 minutes necessary to play with the recognition timing and letter spacing options.

    Unfortunately, the media/Doonesbury comic strip focussed on scribbling messy-doctor style handwriting and expecting anything other than gibberish.

    As a result, it never overcame the bad PR and an entire generation succumbed to lesser also-ran devices, particularly the inferior Palm Pilot and successors.

    Rather than writing neatly and getting ~100% recognition, these hordes decided learning an entirely new script system (Graffiti) which is as arcane as the Thai alphabet was somehow better!

    This even got to the point where business people write in Graffiti on paper and whiteboards…

    Argh.

  2. It’s amazing the kind of work this man has done for Apple and by extension fans of Apple and the Macintosh. Looking at the way Macs looked before Ives got in there… Okay so the Pismo Powerbook was pretty nice, but the desktop systems were barely more interesting to look at than PC systems.

    I think it would be difficult to over estimate the effect this man has had on Apple’s resurgence.

  3. What really makes his creative efforts so significant, is that even if he left, his creative ideas would continue. It can’t be understated how iconic his designs are and how intregal they are to Apple’s identity. His minimalist designs married to simple shapes and intuitive functionality. Pure genius. It’s the standard by which everything else is measured. Apple designers after Johnathan will be influenced by his approach and seek to build on it. Lets hope he continues with Apple for a long time.

  4. re: twighlight@mac.com

    I thought about it and you are absolutely correct. I will buy Jonathan a great meal and instead of the gas I’ll buy him a new bike chain and wd40.

    re: Brits

    Brits are great. I drank with a bunch of Royal navy sailors back when I was in norfolk while docked. We played rugby and you kicked our ass but then we ran circles around you in football not futebol.

    Long live the Brits!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. @ HEY JONATHAN
    Never mind docking @ Norfolk, our Kiwi Navy boys would kick your ass in Rugby.(And yes NZ does have a Navy, Army and SAS-same as British SAS we just don’t have an Airforce) As for Ive’s designs, I am for ever drooling.

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