Yesterday, Apple unveiled its latest line of iPhones and Apple Watch to the public with much fanfare. But today, we’re going to take a deep dive into the history of the Cupertino tech company by looking at the profile and trajectory of former Apple design chief Jony Ive during the company’s rise to the Steve Jobs era.
Why did Jony Ive leave Apple? And how did he get there? The world of technology is one of constant evolution: from Apple making a sweetheart deal with Intel over its processors to developing their own, from Samsung making their screens to taking gestures for iOS to court. All these things are anecdotes inside The product. Today, we focus on a man who has made the exterior of Apple products as iconic as their working components
Jony Ive: A Design Maestro’s Journey
Jony Ive is the man behind the look of one of Apple’s most iconic and revolutionary products. From the iPod to the iPhone, man has been instrumental in shaping the tech industry as we know it. Jony Ive is a psychotherapist and the son of a silversmith from Chingford, London. Fun fact: Johnny went to the same school as footballer David Beckham in the same year.
Battling dyslexia, and with a voracious passion for understanding how gadgets and devices worked, Jony Ive loved to tear apart radios and cassette recorders to find out how they worked. Marked by that curiosity, though, it took him a while to pinpoint the focus of his exact industrial design career.
Johnny had a wide range of interests: from furniture to cars and jewelry and boats in between. When he went to Newcastle Polytechnic for college, he honed his design style, which was influenced by the German Bauhaus school of design: closely imitating the design concepts of Dieter Rams, with a minimalist philosophy, emphasizing the essentials.
I went on an academic journey that was full of rewards. He won Pitney Bowes’ Walter Wheeler Attachment Award and RSA Scholarship.
An invisible thread
Jony Ive’s journey into technology began when he chanced upon Bob Bruner, an Apple scout who was looking for innovative design firms to collaborate on a top-secret project, codenamed “Juggernaut.” In that search, Bruner met Ive and created Tangerine Design. The team at
By then, Apple had fired Steve Jobs and was under the management of John Sculley. The era of the desktop personal computer was in full swing, and Apple’s focus was to build more, which meant expanding their product line. So, Ive went and took a job as a consultant on the Juggernaut project, marking the beginning of his work with Apple. It wasn’t straightforward, and several factors came into play when taking a full-time job as head of design in Cupertino.
In 1992, Ive joined Apple and had to redesign the Newton MessagePad, a precursor to the modern tablet, which, despite commercial setbacks, became a design triumph. Newton’s designs have earned Ive acclaim in the design industry and are in the permanent collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
I designed the translucent case for the 1998 iMac in color, and with Steve Jobs giving back to Apple, they worked closely together. He designed the Sunflower Mac and went on to create iconic products such as the iPod, iPad and iPhone during the Steve Jobs era.
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Why did Jony Ive leave Apple?
After decades of working with Apple, Jony Ive decided to leave the company in 2019 to start his own design firm, LoveFrom. He survived the transition from Scully to Job and, then, Tim Cook leaving him in the post-Job years. But as Tim Cook and his style took over Apple, a regime that had become as tyrannical and controversial as Jobs’, Ive felt unsupported.
Since Cook had once been head of operations, his management style focused less on design and more on operations, and Johnny resented this, and now he had to manage over 100 employees from a tight ship to 20 designers. Zealand, Japan, USA, Germany, Ireland and UK.
Johnny found it tiring and draining to fight with his colleagues over the things Tim Cook and his new crew had created. It wasn’t his style, so he quit. And started his gig with great prestige. Apple has had their run with it, creating products that we enjoy and love.
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