Disclaimer: I own Apple for myself & client accounts. I own & love all of my Apple products. I run my home & company on Apple. Anything in this post is my own personal Apple-loving opinion. Accentuated with heavy amounts of speculation & hyperbole. My kids are named Apple & Macintosh, ok? I am clearly biased. (and my kids are not named Apple & Macintosh)
As much as people think Steve Jobs is a driving force behind Apple. And that he’s the secret weapon. The Jesus to the phone, if you will. A big part of what you’ve come to identify Apple with is design. And that’s the not-so-secret weapon too–Design.
…Where you expecting to be surprised? I said it was not-so-secret…
And while everyone loves to imagine Steve Jobs at the lathe burnishing the edges of the macbook prototype making sure the curve is just right, Apple’s design actually happens to rest in the hands & mind of Jonathan Ive.
Yet Ive’s interview onstage revealed what many people close to the company say is indisputable — that he is Apple’s Man Behind the Curtain. While Jobs sets the direction and provides the inspiration, Ive melds Apple’s unique creativity with the nuts-and-bolts required to make beautiful things. Apple’s innovation success is due greatly to this alchemy between chief designer and powerful boss.
So, who is this Jonathan Ive?
From Apple: London born designer Jonathan Ive is the senior vice president of Industrial Design at Apple, reporting directly to the CEO. Since 1996 he has been responsible for leading a design team widely regarded as one of the world’s best.
Recognized with numerous design awards, Apple products are featured in the permanent collections of museums worldwide including MOMA in New York and the Pompidou in Paris.
Ive holds a Bachelor of Arts and an honorary doctorate from Newcastle Polytechnic. In 2003 he was named Designer of the Year by the Design Museum London and awarded the title Royal Designer for Industry by The Royal Society of Arts.
So, basically almost everything you’ve touched in the last 15 years is from Jobs & Ive. And Ive sits at the right hand of El Jobso. If Apple is Design. Then Jony Ive is Apple.
Enter The Speculation: There was some speculation in the UK’s Daily Mail that Jonathan Ive was moving back to England. The same publication then refuted their own story. B’okay. But it did start the conversation again.
What would Apple do without…
Jonathan Ive? The Guardian wonders. Me? I think Apple would drop 100 points. At least.
And 5 years ago (almost to the day) Dan Moren of Mac World said:
During Jobs’s cancer scare a few years ago, Chief Operations Officer Tim Cook took the reigns, but it was hardly a noticeable difference—and Steve was still there. But unless Leopard or, um, Ocelot has some serious rejuvenation functionality, well, the man ain’t getting any younger. Alexander the Great’s empire fell apart after his death; Judah and Israel went their separate ways after Solomon kicked the bucket. Is there anyone in Apple who could keep the momentum going, or are we doomed to reenter the dark ages of Sculley, Spindler, and Amelio?
My opinion? The man to look to is not Steve Ballmer “good twin” Phil Schiller, but the spotlight-shy Jonathan Ive, the man who embodies what Apple is perhaps most famous for: design. Plus, I’ll bet you he won’t ask for a raise.
Today’s media frenzy over Ive moving is the beginning of the changing of the guard. I’m not saying Steve is going to the great beyond any time soon. And I don’t claim to have an insiders take on the shifts occurring; but I do know people are anxious for a succession plan. I also know Apple manages almost every aspect of their story & moves the media at will. As such, I don’t think today’s rumor was an accident. It was tastefully understated coming out party.
Jonathan Ive is the new face of Apple. The new conversation piece. And today is the beginning of that movement.
And just look at the man. He’s handsome. With a real British accent. He’s charming. He’s very smart. And he even looks like Steve Jobs’ son.
If Steve Jobs is the embodiment of the brand, Ive is the heir apparent. His style is so refined he started rocking the Queen’s ears way back in 2005. The man is arguably the designer of the 21st century. And Steve Jobs hand picked him to head design. Anybody else want to take a crack at topping that? Yeh, didn’t think so.
So, today’s media blitz wasn’t a coincidence. It was Apple turning the key on their not-so-secret secret weapon.
Watch the man work his magic:
Some Fun Facts: Steve Jobs & Jonathan Ive share the same middle name: Paul (ht:@AppleXOF). Both were born in Feburary. The first public FaceTime phone call was made by Steve Jobs,”to one of my best friends in the whole world, Jony Ives…” They were both raised by teachers. Mr. Ive quietly enjoys his Aston Martin & Bentley.
Apple’s Secret to Success – I heart Wall Street
All You Need is a Good Soundtrack – I heart Wall Street
10 Unusual Things I didn’t Know About Steve Jobs – Althucher Confidential
The One Reason Apple Will Be The First Trillion Dollar Company – Altucher Confidential
The Behind-The-Scenes Partnership At Apple – (Audio) NPR: All Things Considered
What It’s Like Inside Apple Design God Jony Ive’s Secret Lab – Silicon Alley Insider