Sir Jonathan Paul Ive, or Jony to his friends and fanbase, has put his mark on the world. The descendant of a jeweler and an engineer, he brought his background of industrial design and Bauhaus minimalism to Apple in 1992. He was a key part of Steve Jobs’ revival of the company in the mid-1990s, when his designs began to become iconic. His design for the iMac—bold shapes and colors in striking lines—made a statement that Apple was setting itself apart from the growing crowd of home computer companies.
Since then, Sir Jonathan has designed the Power Mac Cube, the MacBook, parts of the UI of Apple’s operating system iOS, and perhaps most notably, the iPod and its successors, iPhone and iPad. Even the trademark commercials from the mid-00s, featuring black silhouettes dancing against bold colors with white cords, showed his hand.
In 2012, Sir Jonathan was knighted for his work with Apple; he has also been awarded a number of honorary degrees from design and engineering schools. In 2004, he was justly voted “Most Influential Person on British Culture” in a BBC poll.
Now, after more than 20 years giving Apple its signature look, Sir Jonathan is leaving. He will still work with the tech giant, but a contractor. Sir Jonathan is transitioning to a creative company of his own, Lovefrom, which will launch next year with Apple as its flagship client. Little so far is known about Lovefrom, except that Sir Jonathan wants to focus on healthcare and wearable tech, his “personal passions.”
“While I will not be an [Apple] employee, I will still be very involved—I hope for many, mean years to come,” Sir Jonathan told the Financial Times in an exclusive interview. “This just seems like a natural and gentle time to make this change.”
“We get to continue with the same team that we’ve had for a long time and have the pleasure of continuing to work with Jony,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook. “I can’t imagine a better result.”
Investors worry that Sir Jonathan’s departure will shake consumer faith in the company, but Cook calls this change an “evolution.” Apple will still have a group of in-house designers who were all brought up under Sr Jonathan’s hand. Most notable among these is Apple’s chief operating officer, Jeff Williams, who was a key developer of the Apple Watch.
Photo: An array of Apple products. Credit: Neirfy / Shutterstock.com