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IPad IPod Jonathan Ive

A look at Apple's design successes under Jonathan Ive


By Stephen Lepitak, -

December 31, 2011 | 4 min read

The Knighthood of Apple’s design genius, London born Jonathan Ive, recognises a man, who alongside the late Steve Jobs, has changed the way that world handles and views entertainment technology. Here is a look at some of the design work Ive has undertaken in his astronomical career with the company.

Ive, co-founder of London design firm Tangerine, was an industrial design student at Northumbria University. In 1992, he was hired as a consultant by Apple, eventually becoming the firm’s senior vice president of industrial design in 1997.

During that time he has overseen the design of the iMac, the iPhone, the iPad and the Ipod, all of which would revitalise the ailing technology brand.

He has already received an honour from the Queen, when handed an MBE in 2006 for services to design.


Released in 1998, the iMac was truly ahead of its time, dispelling with external disk drives, instead featuring an inbuilt CD Rom drive, but was internet ready, with Apple predicting that downloads would become internet based within the coming years. The design of the product range initially evolved to feature varying colours before. The computer would undergo a full design overhaul, with the new model featuring an aluminium body, and a less colourful appearance, using shades of white and black.


With the evolution of mp3 files, the music industry was set to leap away from its dependency on compact disks and Apple’s iPod was largely credited with forcing that move, due to the popularity of the thin and pocketsize gadget. Unveiled in 2001, the iPod meant that music could be downloaded from CD’s through the users computer, but also through the development of online store iTunes, which has overtaken many high street retailer’s sales for music and entertainment. The initial iPod design now looks bulky in comparison with the more recent, thinners and smaller Nano devices, which used a similar decide to that of the iMac range in being released with varying colours to meet the user’s preference. An often overlooked aspect of the success of Apple and Ive’s design was the use of white headphones, which was highly unusual at the time, with most headphones being black in colour. This would clearly make the iPod owner stand out from those using other personal mp3 players on the market.


As it led the way in revolutionising music listening and computers, so too Apple pioneered a new generation of mobile phone devices and ‘Smartphones’ with its iPhone release in early 2007. The original design seemed simple, black with a long screen with one round button sitting directly below. It’s a design that has survived to this day, despite new models being released on an annual basis. The keyboard and functions for the phone were all designed to be virtual and the style has been imitated by several rival operators ever since.


So successful was the design of the iPhone and that iPad virtually lifted it, albeit to become slightly more rectangular and of course, to a larger scale, but the two designs have their similarities, including the round button sitting centrally at the bottom.

Macbook Pro

The successor to Apple’s iBook, which was produced until 2006, this sleeker laptop, released in 2008, featured an aluminium body with the Apple logo proudly adorning the front of the casing and had a similar look to that of the Macbook Air, which was white with black keys, but was more compact in size.

IPad IPod Jonathan Ive

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