New Biography of Jony Ive Sheds Light on Apple's Design 'Genius'

jony_ive_bookDespite 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.

Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple's Greatest Products is available now through a variety of outlets including Amazon and Apple's iBooks Store.

Top Rated Comments

Jon the Heretic Avatar
116 months ago
Book is poorly designed

This book should be designed the way this genius would have designed it:


* Remove his picture and have just a traced bald head icon...no color fill for the icon.
* Use only flat pastels on the cover. Preferably no more than two. Keep it simple.
* Make the book completely round and hide all of the complexity as to where to open the book (inspired by his round iMac mouse. Genius!)
* Use a hidden release mechanism to open the book, so that it doesn't fly open when carried across a room. This should require plying discrete pressure on the center of the book, to open it, but not on the sides, where it could happen accidentally
* Cover the book in a thin sheet of glass, front and back. It should shine.
* Like the slippery iPhone 5c, embrace this touch aesthetic. The book should feel like a polished bar of soap. Can also double as a huge hockey puck, without requiring a frictionless surface.
* Use an advanced polymer on each page to create a glass-like gloss. Each page can also double as a beautiful mirror-like surface, capturing light with requiring much.
* Like most physical objects, pages are too skeuomorphic. They look too much like pages and have annoying affordances such as turning them. The book should have a revolutionary design that makes the printed page un-pagelike, and turning them should be a modern gesture: wave your hand over the book right to left, and the pages slides into place using just the air current generated by the gesture itself.
* Use Helvetica Neue only, esp inside the book. If people don't squint to see the super thin fonts, you're doing something wrong.


This would be a book worthy of the great Sir Jony!
Score: 42 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AngerDanger Avatar
116 months ago
I'm waiting until they release a matte version; the glare off the cover is too distracting.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
attila Avatar
116 months ago
Fixed it for you, guys!

(http://s1277.photobucket.com/user/DesignByAdrian/media/jonyive_zpsd353a2ba.png.html)
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
WildCowboy Avatar
116 months ago
Hey guys, this ad for the book mistakenly got published on the front page ;)

Call it an ad if you want, but I liked the book and I think a lot of people will be interested in it. :)
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Sky Blue Avatar
116 months ago
Hey guys, this ad for the book mistakenly got published on the front page ;)
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Small White Car Avatar
116 months ago
Hey guys, this ad for the book mistakenly got published on the front page ;)
Yeah, we only want to read stories that advertise iPhones and Macs and iPads and software. And maybe sometimes a television media-streaming device.

But a book? You monsters!
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

apple watch ultra hammer test

YouTuber Tests Apple Watch Ultra Durability With a Hammer: Table Breaks Before the Watch

Sunday September 25, 2022 2:27 pm PDT by
A YouTuber has put Apple's claims for the durability of the Apple Watch Ultra to the test by putting it up against a drop test, a jar of nails, and repeated hits with a hammer to test the sapphire crystal protecting the display. TechRax, a channel popular for testing the durability of products, first tested the Apple Watch Ultra by dropping it from around four feet high. The Apple Watch...
tim cook spring loaded event

Six Major Products to Expect From Apple in 2023

Sunday September 25, 2022 10:57 am PDT by
As we approach the end of a busy product release season for Apple with only new iPads and Macs left to be announced over the next month or so, we're also setting our sights on 2023. Apple is rumored to have several major products in the pipeline for next year, including new Macs, a new HomePod, a VR/AR headset, and so much more. Other than new iPhones and Apple Watches, which are expected...
apple watch ultra deuglify 1

Apple Watch Ultra User Mods Titanium Casing to 'Deuglify' Design

Tuesday September 27, 2022 8:05 am PDT by
An Apple Watch Ultra user has modified their new device's casing to add a brushed finish and remove the orange color of the Action Button in an effort to make it more visually appealing. The Apple Watch Ultra offers the first complete redesign of the Apple Watch since the product line's announcement in 2014, and while the design has been met with praise from many users, some have criticized...
General iOS 16 Feature Yellow

Some iOS 16 Users Continue to Face Unaddressed Bugs and Battery Drain Two Weeks After Launch

Monday September 26, 2022 7:34 am PDT by
Today marks exactly two weeks since Apple released iOS 16 to the public. Besides the personalized Lock Screen, major changes in Messages, and new features in Maps, the update has also seen its fair share of bugs, performance problems, battery drain, and more. After major iOS updates, it's normal for some users to report having issues with the new update, but such reports usually subside in...
iPhone 14 Pro Sports Scores Dynamic Island

iPhone 14 Pro Features Live Sports Scores in Dynamic Island on iOS 16.1

Monday September 26, 2022 7:52 am PDT by
Earlier this month, Apple announced that iOS 16.1 will enable a new Live Activities feature that allows iPhone users to stay on top of things that are happening in real time, such as a sports game or a food delivery order, right from the Lock Screen. On the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, Live Activities also integrate with the Dynamic Island. Premier League match in Dynamic Island via Paul Bradford ...
iPhone 14 Pros in Hand Black Background Feature

Verizon iPhone 14 Pro Customers Reporting Cellular Connection Issues

Monday September 26, 2022 6:23 am PDT by
iPhone 14 Pro customers on the Verizon network in the U.S. are reporting issues with slow and unreliable 5G cellular connections and calls randomly dropping. Several threads on Reddit (1,2,3) and the MacRumors forums chronicle issues faced by Verizon customers and Apple's latest iPhone. According to user reports, signal strength on the iPhone 14 Pro is unreliable and weak, while other...
Tim Cook Apple Event

Gurman: New iPads and Macs May Be Announced Through Press Releases, No October Event

Sunday September 25, 2022 6:50 am PDT by
Apple may decide to release its remaining products for 2022, which include updated iPad Pro, Mac mini, and 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models, through press releases on its website rather than a digital event, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. In his latest Power On newsletter, Gurman said that Apple is currently "likely to release its remaining 2022 products via press releases,...
Stage Manager Extension Thumb 1

New iPadOS 16.1 Beta Expands Stage Manager to Older iPad Pro Models, Delays External Display Support

Tuesday September 27, 2022 10:24 am PDT by
The most recent beta of iPadOS 16.1 expands the controversial Stage Manager feature to older iPads, allowing it to work with iPad Pro models that have an A12X or A12Z chip, according to information Apple provided to Engadget. The beta also removes the external display support from Stage Manager for the current time, with the feature set to return in a later iPadOS 16 update. Apple's...
iOS 16

Everything New in the Latest iOS 16.1 and iPadOS 16.1 Betas: Stage Manager Expansion, Wallpaper Tweaks and More

Tuesday September 27, 2022 11:36 am PDT by
Apple today released new betas of iOS 16.1 and iPadOS 16.1 to developers, tweaking some of the functionality that's been introduced in prior betas and in the case of iPadOS 16.1, adding a major new feature to Stage Manager. We've rounded up everything new in both betas below. Wallpaper Updates Apple has updated the Wallpaper section of the Settings app to allow users to swap between...
john meyer ultra

Apple Watch Ultra Praised by Watch World Tastemaker John Mayer

Monday September 26, 2022 4:42 am PDT by
Apple Watch Ultra has been endorsed by American musician and famous watch collector John Mayer, who has been showing off the new device on his Instagram account. "Been wearing the Apple Watch Ultra for a week... and it's great," writes Mayer over a photo of the watch. "The first Apple Watch that excited me as a mechanical watch collector." "It's loaded with capability and what I call...