When Steve Jobs returned to Apple, one the smartest things he did was promote Jony Ive, Apple’s now legendary designer.
Ive had been toiling away in the bowels of Apple producing Newton PDAs, printer cartridges, and far out prototypes for products that were never made, reports Rob Waugh at the Daily Mail.
His prototypes would have gone for naught, but when Jobs was reacquainting himself with Apple, he saw Ive’s work and said, “My God, what have we got here?” according to Leander Kahney, editor of Cult of Mac, who spoke with Waugh.
Jobs promoted Ive, who went on to become the main designer of Apple’s biggest hit products in the last 10 years.
And while he’s a celebrity in the design world, he’s still a relatively unknown character to the world at large.
Part of that is because there’s only one star at Apple — Steve Jobs. And part of that is because he’s a quiet, somewhat secretive guy by nature. Even people at Apple probably don’t know him all that well. According to Waugh, his lab is separate from Apple’s main campus to keep designers from inadvertently leaking any details.
Despite the secrecy that surrounds Ive and his lab, Waugh managed to pick up a few nuggets of detail:
- Ive’s lab has its own kitchen so designers don’t talk about what they’re working on in open areas. It also has beefed up security.
- Ive has a dozen “hand-picked” designers who work with him listening to music picked by Ive’s celebrity DJ pal Jon Digweed.
- Waugh describes the inside of Ive’s lab: “Here, touch screens control the glass-sided machines in which new products take form. Desks are bare bar the aluminium sheets that slot together to form the familiar lines of iconic products such as the MacBook Air.”
- One senior Apple exec recounted his first trip to Ive’s lab for Waugh saying, “The creations they were working on were all over the map, crazy stuff. It was always very experimental, material that the world is not quite ready for. Even within Apple, the design team is very secretive.”
One more thing to note: Despite reports to the contrary, Ive is NOT leaving Apple for the UK any time soon.
Waugh’s profile of Ive is an excellent read, click here for the whole thing »