New Biography of Jony Ive Sheds Light on Apple's Design 'Genius'
Despite numerous accolades for his role in creating a long line of iconic products at Apple, Jonathan Ive is a famously publicity-shy figure whose most visible contributions to Apple's high-profile product launches typically come in the form of his participation in brief videos highlighting the design of the company's latest devices.
But Ive's reserved nature hasn't stopped former Wired.com managing editor and current Cult of Mac editor and publisher Leander Kahney from taking on the task of covering Ive's life in a new biography entitled Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple's Greatest Products launching today.
The biography draws on interviews with a number of former classmates, teachers, co-workers, and other acquaintances of Ive, while also making extensive reference to previously-published quotes from Ive and others stretching back over the past several decades. The book begins with coverage of Ive's upbringing and schooling, including an overview of his father's role in making design technology an integral part of the UK school curriculum and discussion of how Jony was already being regarded as an excellent design student by the age of 16 or 17.
From Ive's days studying design at Newcastle Polytechnic on a rare sponsorship from leading London design firm Roberts Weaver Group (RWG) to his time working at RWG after graduation and eventually joining with friends at the young design firm Tangerine Design, the book offers a good background on Ive sprinkled with discussion of some of his projects and quotes from those he worked with.
From there, the book naturally carries on to cover Ive's recruitment to Apple, the evolution of the Industrial Design group, and more well-known topics such as the multitude of groundbreaking products for which his team has been responsible, including the original iMac that kicked off a "string of hits" for the Mac lineup, the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad.
Near the end, Kahney's biography touches on the corporate shakeup at Apple late last year that saw iOS chief Scott Forstall ousted and Ive given responsibility for the Human Interface aspects of software to go along with his hardware design role.
Overall, Kahney's book does a solid job of pulling together various tidbits of information, anecdotes, and quotes from Ive himself to highlight Ive's life, career and outlook on design. In the absence of cooperation from Ive and Apple, the book provides the best look yet at a designer whose work is seen and used by millions of people around the world.