5 Lesser-Known Facts About Apple's Jony Ive

by CXOtoday News Desk    May 26, 2015

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Apple’s Jony Ive, the ‘design genius’ often credited for Apple’s innovative and unique industrial design language over the past couple of decades, has taken on a new role at the company: Chief Design Officer. The other two insiders Richad Howarth is being promoted to vice president of industrial design and Alan Dye will become the vice president of user interface design.

Here are some not so popular facts about the ‘design genius’

1. From consultant to Full time job

Ive worked as a consultant for Apple’s Chief of Industrial Design at the time Robert Brunner, and eventually became a full-time Apple employee in 1992, when he designed the second generation of the Newton, and MessagePad 110.

He became the Senior Vice President of Industrial Design in 1997 after the return of Jobs, and subsequently headed the industrial design team responsible for most of the company’s significant hardware products - iMac; followed by designs such as the iPod and eventually the iPhone and the iPad.

2. The most ‘talented designer’

The design mastermind behind the look of the iPhone and the iPad, Ive is already responsible for overseeing the physical look of Apple products as well as the design of the company’s software. As sources say,  Jobs made design a chief focus of the firm’s product strategy, and Ive proceeded to establish the firm’s leading position with a series of functionally clean, aesthetically pleasing, and remarkably popular products.

In his expanded role, he’ll have more time to focus his design expertise on other parts of Apple’s empire, such as its Apple Stores, the physical packaging of its products and even the design of its massive new spaceship-shaped headquarters, which is set to open by 2017.

 “Jony is one of the most talented and accomplished designers of his generation, with an astonishing 5000 design and utility patents to his name,” Cook commented about Ive.

3. The Man With The ‘most operational power’

Ive runs his own laboratory at Apple, in which he oversees the work of his appointed design team, and he is the only Apple designer with a private office.  Only his core team — which consists of around 15 people from Britain, America, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand (who have worked together for around two decades) — and top Apple executives are allowed into the laboratory, as it contains all of the concepts, including prototypes, that the design team is working on.

 “Ive also refuses to allow his children to enter the laboratory,” he said in an interview.  

According to the Jobs biography, Ive’s design studio contains foam-cutting and printing machines, while the windows are tinted. Jobs told biographer Walter Isaacson: “He has more operational power than anyone else at Apple except me.

4. Now on a bigger canvas

In a book detailing Ive’s life and work at Apple, Leander Kahney has noted that the British designer has sometimes been uncomfortable with the administrative side of business, and instead prefers to focus on the craft of the actual design process.

The promotion will bring him on a bigger canvas, where he should be able to concentrate on Apple’s broader design language after being freed from banal administrative and management work. In a statement provided to Re/code, Apple said Ive will work on current design products, new ideas and future initiatives. 

Ive told The Telegraph that he’ll now be able to travel more easily, spending time at important Apple locations beyond the secretive Cupertino lab where Apple tests and refines the look and feel of its products. 

5. The secretive CXO

Ive is married toBritish writer and historian Heather Pegg in 1987, with whom he raises twin sons. Ive has been publicised as a very private and low-profile public figure. His family resides in the Pacific Heights district of San Francisco, California, US. 

Ive avoids publicity and stated in March 2014 that Jobs was his “closest friend”, a person he finds it “odd and tough to talk about”, as “it doesn’t feel that long ago that he died.”