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Nine Designs by Jony Ive That Made Apple ‘Sexy’

Not just iPhone and iPads, Jony Ive was also the man behind the iOS 7 and the Apple Park in Cupertino, California.

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Tech News
6 min read
Nine Designs by Jony Ive That Made Apple ‘Sexy’
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Jony Ive, Apple’s design chief and the man behind the man (Steve Jobs) who brought about a near cultural revolution through products like the iPhone, iPad, and the Macbook – that have since become icons in their own regard – has decided to walk away from the company, leaving behind a nearly 30 year legacy.

Ive has left the building – the very same Apple headquarters he designed – where he reimagined the way computers are perceived.

'A Computer Absolutely Can Be Sexy'

Ive, who joined Apple in 1992 and was a close aide of Jobs, has played a key role in making the company’s products look the way they do today.

Ive, who has led Apple’s design team since 1996, is leaving “to form an independent design company (LoveFrom) which will count Apple among its primary clients.”

Though it is not known yet clear as to what his departure will mean for the company, and its design team going forward. On the business front, however, the company has already lost $10 billion in market value since his announcement.

With an era of product design coming to an end, let’s retrace Ive’s impressions on the vast canvas that is Apple:

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1. Apple Newton MessagePad (1993)

The Apple Newton (left) alongside the first iPhone.
The Apple Newton (left) alongside the first iPhone.
(Photo: Wikipedia)

Apple Newton, the first ever platform that featured handwriting recognition, was one of the first projects that Ive worked on after joining hands with Jobs.

Called a personal digital assistant (PDA), the Apple Newton MessagePad was basically a pager of sorts, which ran on the Newton OS and took handwritten inputs.

However, the product never picked up due to its high price and early problems with its handwriting recognition feature. Apple finally discontinued the Newton in February 1998.

2. iMac G3 (1998)

The iMac G3, the first Macintosh computer.
The iMac G3, the first Macintosh computer.
(Photo: Wikipedia)

The iMac G3, or the first in the Macintosh series of computers from Apple, was the first Mac computer designed by Ive. Although the computer was heavily criticised for the way it performed or functioned, the design always stood out (everyone wanted the better looking Apple computer, even though the UI was hideous!).

This March 19, 1999 file photo shows Jonathan Ive (left) and Apple Computer’s vice president of design, and Jon Rubinstein, Apple’s senior vice president of engineering, posing behind five iMac personal computers at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California. 
This March 19, 1999 file photo shows Jonathan Ive (left) and Apple Computer’s vice president of design, and Jon Rubinstein, Apple’s senior vice president of engineering, posing behind five iMac personal computers at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California. 
(Photo: AP)

The polycarbonate body with the colorful detailing was something that attracted quite a few buyers since its 15 August 1998 official launch.

The iMac G3 was the first computer to feature a hidden cable management compartment and an integrated ‘CPU+monitor’ design that made it a bit easier to set up than a traditional desktop.

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3. iPod (2001)

Apart from other things, Ive also gave people one of the first fancy MP3 players, in the form of the iPod. The first generation of the iPod (M8541) was launched in November 2001, and was the first media player that featured a 5GB hard drive, capable of storing more than 1,000 songs.

iPod’s innovations included its small size, using a 1.8-inch hard drive, at a time its competitors were using a 2.5-inch unit.

Nine Designs by Jony Ive That Made Apple ‘Sexy’
(Photo Courtesy: YouTube/@Apple Explained) 
The aluminum body and the monochrome LCD screen, along with the navigation controls panel, using a mechanical scroll wheel (unlike later iPods, which had touch-sensitive scroll wheels), a center select button, and four auxiliary buttons around the wheel were the design bits that made the first generation of iPods stand out.

After the iPod Classic, came the iPod Nano, the iPod Video, iPod Touch, among other models. The iPod Touch is still in production, as of early June 2019.

4. iMac (Aluminium Body)

Nine Designs by Jony Ive That Made Apple ‘Sexy’
(Photo: Apple)

One of the thing Ive is most known for is his obsession with Aluminum in gadgets. From the iPod, to the Mac and even Macbook laptops, Ive’s vision of Aluminum being a more sturdy and easier to cool down material to be used in gadgets is still an ongoing trend at the Cupertino-based company.

The iMac’s Aluminum body and the unibody design were one of the revolutionary upgrades the Macintosh computers went through. A design that we don’t see the company going away from in the near future.

Apple’s usage of anodised aluminum is also Ive’s idea, keeping the systems strong and sturdy, despite having a sleek and slim design.

5. iPhone (2007)

The first iPhone.
The first iPhone.
(Photo Courtesy: Apple)

The first iPhone, with the single home button and a 3.5-inch touchscreen, was perhaps the most popular design work of Ive – a design language that was used up till the iPhone 8, launched in 2017.

The first iPhone, when it was launched by Jobs, was at the time also criticised for being too similar to the iPod touch. Fast forward to 2017, Ive introduced the 5.8-inch iPhone X, which he described as a "physical object that disappears into the experience." The iPhone X design language was carried over to the next version as well, the XS and the XS Max.

Apple iPhone X with its 5.8-inch Super AMOLED display. 
Apple iPhone X with its 5.8-inch Super AMOLED display. 
(Photo: The Quint/@2shar)

We don’t need to talk a lot about the iPhone design, to be honest. It’s popularity speaks for itself.

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6. iPad (2010)

The complete line-up of Apple iPad’s.
The complete line-up of Apple iPad’s.
(Photo: Apple)

The iPad, Apple’s first tablet, was first launched in 2010. This design, despite being criticised for being just a larger iPhone, has made it the best selling tablet all over the world, up to today.

With time, the design, by and large, remained the same, apart from the improving screen-to-body ratio. The most significant update came in the shape of the latest iPad Pro models, that finally let go of the home button/fingerprint sensor to make way for Apple’s face unlock feature.

This also, in terms of tablet computers, can be called one of the most potent design languages.

7. iOS 7 (2013)

Its not just the products that Ive tried his hands at. One of the most significant upgrades to Apple’s Operating System, the iOS 7, was also his work. In their story, The Verge calls iOS 7 as “one of the more ambitious overhauls the company has ever embarked on.”

After Scott Forstall was fired from the company for the ‘faulty’ Apple Maps and other missteps relating to the previous softwares, Ive was given the responsibility to oversee the development of iOS 7, which was launched in 2013.

iOS 7 was a representation of Ive’s idea of “efficiency in simplicity”. The new structure, announced in 2013, still has its distinct mark in the latest offerings.

8. Apple Watch (2014)

Before the smart wearables became a common thing, Apple’s attempt towards the Smartwatch, in 2014, was hailed as one of the best wearable designs of the time (still a common opinion).

The stainless-steel body, rectangular display, a digital crown and swappable bands were things that people hadn’t really seen or expected from smart wearables in 2014. The same design language is still being carried forwards by Apple for its watches, which are running in their fourth generation now.

9. Apple Park (2017)

The Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California.
The Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California.
(Photo Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons)

The corporate headquarters of Apple, located in California’s Cupertino, was also a brainchild of Ive, who was Apple's immediate choice to design the project – the idea for which, was conceived by him along with Jobs.

Ive designed every detail on the new campus – from the glass panels to the elevator buttons.

The Apple park is also one of the most energy-efficient buildings in the world, which has completely been powered by renewable energy since 2018. The solar panels on top of the modern-looking Apple campus are sufficient to supply 75 percent of its power requirement during peak daytime.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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