26 May 2015

Apple’s Sir Jonathan Ive promoted to top design job

British technology guru Sir Jonathan Ive, a driving force behind many of Apple’s biggest selling products, is promoted to the company’s chief design officer.

Sir Jonathan Ive, Apple's new chief design officer

Apple chief executive Tim Cook told Apple employees about the promotion of Sir Jonathan – known as Jony – on Monday.

He said: “Jony is one of the most talented and accomplished designers of his generation, with an astonishing 5,000 design and utility patents to his name.”

The designer, who joined Apple in 1992, has been integral in the design of a host of house-hold names for Apple, from the iMac and the iPod to the iPad and the iWatch.

Apple products

The late Apple chief executive Steve Jobs described Sir Jonathan – knighted in 2012 for services to design and enterprise – as his “spiritual partner” at Apple.

When Jobs returned to Apple in 1997 he and Sir Jonathan worked closely together on reviving Apple’s fortunes, with Jobs’ office connected to Sir Jonathan’s design lab by a corridor.

Five facts about Sir Jonathan Ive

Born in Chingford, London, his father was a silversmith who lectured at Middlesex Polytechnic. His father's Christmas gift to him would be a day in the college workshop "helping me make whatever I dreamed up".

Earlier in his career, Sir Jonathan was involved in less glamorous design projects - including designs for a sink, toilet and bath.

He is in part responsible for the design of the new lightsabres in the latest Star Wars film, 'The Force Awakens' after suggesting to director JJ Abrams they should be "more analog and more primitive".

When Steve Jobs returned to Apple, Sir Jonathan had his resignation letter in his pocket, expecting to be replaced. As it turned out, the pair hit it off (though Jobs had previosuly been looking at hiring a new designer).

Sir Jonathan is also co-designing Apple's new "spaceship campus" - a $5bn project in Cupertino, California - alongside architects Foster + Partners.

Under the promotion Sir Jonathan’s day-to-day managerial responsibilities have been passed on to two new vice-presidents, Richard Howarth and Alan Dye.

This means Sir Jonathan can focus “entirely on current design projects, new ideas and future initiatives”.