Steve Jobs left designer Jony Ive more power than anyone at Apple

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Apple's widely praised design chief Jonathan Ive has no true boss who can tell him what to do at the company, a distinction put in place by Steve Jobs himself.



Information from the new biography of Jobs, set to arrive next week, continues to arrive, offering a glimpse into the highly private life of the Apple co-founder. The Associated Press obtained an early copy of the book, and shared some details on the relationship between Jobs and Ive, Apple's senior vice president of industrial design.



In talking with author Walter Isaacson for the book, Jobs revealed that he viewed Ive as his "spiritual partner" at Apple. Showing his trust in Ive, the company co-founder left him more freedom than anyone else in the company -- a perk that remains even after Jobs's death.



"He told Isaacson that Ive had 'more operational power' at Apple than anyone else besides Jobs himself -- that there's no one at the company who can tell Ive what to do," the report said. "That, says Jobs, is 'the way I set it up.'"



Ive and Jobs became close at Apple, working directly together on designing a number of the company's core products, including the iMac, iPod, iPhone and iPad. Ive, a 44-year-old native of London, joined Apple in 1996 and has held his current job since 1997.



Showcasing their extensive work together, Jobs and Ive share credit for inventing over 200 patents. Jobs is responsible for the most total patents at the company, at 313.



A 2006 profile of Ive said that at the time he and his team worked in a large, secretive open studio that many Apple employees were not allowed to enter. There a "massive sound system" played music as he and his team worked with state-of-the-art prototyping equipment with "intense iteration."



Apple design chief Jonathan Ive somewhere in Apple's design studio | Source: Objectified



Ive has been heralded as one of the most influential designers of his time, and legendary Braun designer Dieter Rams publicly praised him in the 2009 documentary Objectified. In return for his design work at Apple, Ive has been well compensated, and is said to be worth more than $128 million.



In 2009, Ive was declared the "smartest designer" in technology by Forbes. He was also honored with the title "Designer of the Year" in 2003 by Design Museum London, and was named "Royal Designer for Industry" by The Royal Society of Arts.



More details on the relationship between Ive and Jobs will be available in Isaacson's book, arriving next week. Entitled "Steve Jobs," will be available in a hardcover edition, as well as digitally through Amazon Kindle and Apple's iBooks.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 102
    Someone else might be more accurate, but I thought those were protyping fab units behind him in the picture, probably the most innocuous background they could find in the studio, given the kind of intensely iterative development that Jony and others have described as going on in the studio.
  • Reply 2 of 102
    That's probably a good thing.
  • Reply 3 of 102
    More so than anyone else now at Apple, I really believe it will be him that will see the company forward.
  • Reply 4 of 102
    saareksaarek Posts: 1,105member
    Jony Ive is an absolute legend. The design that he and Steve assembled do amazing work, long may this continue!
  • Reply 5 of 102
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by robogobo View Post


    That's probably a good thing.



    Agreed. Not being weighed down by bureaucratic nonsense and corporate expectation will certainly help him be a lot more creative and ground-breaking in his designs.
  • Reply 6 of 102
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by fecklesstechguy View Post


    Someone else might be more accurate, but I thought those were protyping fab units behind him in the picture, probably the most innocuous background they could find in the studio, given the kind of intensely iterative development that Jony and others have described as going on in the studio.



    Yes, prototypes are made there. All design and testing first before moving out for mass stamping.
  • Reply 7 of 102
    kerrybkerryb Posts: 270member
    Probably the best arrangement for Ivy and Apple. Can you imagine an accountant telling Ivy how to design? Steve had a bro-mance with Jon, that's nice.
  • Reply 8 of 102
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,198member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kerryb View Post


    Probably the best arrangement for Ivy and Apple. Can you imagine an accountant telling Ivy how to design? Steve had a bro-mance with Jon, that's nice.



    The article is a tad inaccurate because Ive likely did have to answer to Steve and now Tim, but it is still very powerful to not have to answer to anyone below the CEO. Ive makes the designs and the COO etc do what is needed to make them happen cost etc wise. Ive more than anyone is probably well trained in the way that Steve thought about products so yes he'll likely be the one to carry on "The Steve Way"
  • Reply 9 of 102
    bdkennedy1bdkennedy1 Posts: 1,459member
    While I hope he continues to work his magic on us, unless he owns Apple he can be told what to do by the board of directors.
  • Reply 10 of 102
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post


    While I hope he continues to work his magic on us, unless he owns Apple he can be told what to do by the board of directors.



    And the last time the Apple Board told the Innovator what to do, it killed the company.



    You seriously believe they haven't learned from that?
  • Reply 11 of 102
    obamaobama Posts: 62member
    I guess we're never going to get rid of the all glass phone.
  • Reply 12 of 102
    jetlawjetlaw Posts: 156member
    I don't know much about Ive, but everything I've ever read about him suggests that he is an unassuming, almost shy, personality that is unlikely to let the power go to his head. He seems the type that loves what he does to the extent that he doesn't really know he is working, and is therefore very likely continue along the trajectory he has established - very good news for those of us who love beautiful and minimalistic Apple products!
  • Reply 13 of 102
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post


    Yes, prototypes are made there. All design and testing first before moving out for mass stamping.



    Except that Apple doesn't do much stamping. Most equipment is mass produced on prototyping equipment. They are the first (and probably only) company to do this at this scale.
  • Reply 14 of 102
    Just more proof that Apple's future was well planed. Thing like this are a testament to how much Steve loved Apple, it takes a lot to think past your roll in a company when you are such an important part of it. This is why Apple will for years to come be a leader in design and innovation, and why I love being an Apple fan.
  • Reply 15 of 102
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Obama View Post


    I guess we're never going to get rid of the all glass phone.



    The glass back on the iphone 4 is a poor design and an example of form over function. It is slippery on any surface ( other than the hand). And simply put, it breaks.



    Kind of ironic that all the people that talk ill of plastic phones end up putting plastic bumpers and cases on their ip4's.
  • Reply 16 of 102
    "... Jobs and Ive share credit for inventing over 200 patents?"



    You don't invent patents. You patent inventions.



    Back to the story...
  • Reply 17 of 102
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Boogerman2000 View Post


    The glass back on the iphone 4 is a poor design and an example of form over function. It is slippery on any surface ( other than the hand). And simply put, it breaks.



    Kind of ironic that all the people that talk ill of plastic phones end up putting plastic bumpers and cases on their ip4's.



    I personally have no issue with plastic phones, as long as the plastics used are of high quality. While I think the original iPhone was the best combination of beauty and durability, and the iPhone 4/4S is the most beautiful, the iPhone 3G/3GS probably, ironically, was the most durable when it came to drops and accidents. The metal of the original iPhone would get dented pretty bad when dropped, and the iPhone 4/4S, well, simply shatters, my 3GS took an unfortunate trip down a flight of stairs on its own and came out of it with one fairly noticeable nick on the corner, but otherwise was perfect.
  • Reply 18 of 102
    Thank god. The products this man designed at Apple are simply amazing. I would definitely hope he still has a lot of say of what my next laptop looks like
  • Reply 19 of 102
    I look forward to reading the book. I ordered my digital copy on iBooks today.
  • Reply 20 of 102
    For me the question is, when they've produced a dud (and they will at some point) who will have the power like Jobs did to put the breaks on and stop release, regardless of cost impact.



    I hope Ive has that power.
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