The Daily Mail — I know! — has posted up an excellent bio on Jonny Ive, explaining how the soft-spoken muscle man from Chingford went from designing toilet bowls — I know! — to becoming the lead designer over at Apple, which they argue makes him the most valuable Englishman on Earth.
From a news perspective, the most interesting detail of the bio might be word from close friends of Ive who say that he has no intention of leaving Apple to go back to the UK, and is, in fact, looking to sell his Grade II mansion in Britain to concentrate on America more closely.
There’s so much more, though. For example, this fantastic description of how Ive met Jobs, which has got to be heartening to anyone who has toiled away in a thankless job, his talents unrecognized: you too might suddenly meet someone who will transform your life forever.
The design team was eventually forced to surrender the Cray supercomputer it used for simulating new gadgets. Even the designs that did get built were met with a lukewarm reception. Ive’s Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh was one of the first computers to have a flat LCD screen but it was saddled with a strangely squashed appearance and a massive price tag. Originally priced at $9,000, it was selling for under $2,000 by the time it was pulled from shelves less than a year later.
But just as Ive was considering a return to England, his luck changed. In 1997, Steve Jobs returned to Apple after an absence of 12 years. He purged the company, dropping most of its products and dispensing with staff. Eventually, Jobs took a tour of the design department, then based across thestreet from Apple’s main campus.
‘Jobs comes in, looks at all Ive’s amazing prototypes and says, “My God, what have we got here?”’ says Kahney.
Jobs swiftly brought Ive in from the cold, moving the designers into a building on campus and investing in the latest rapid-prototyping equipment. He also beefed up Apple’s security, locking down the design studio to prevent leaks and installing a private kitchen so designers wouldn’t talk shop in public.
Yup, that’s Cult of Mac’s Dear Leader himself, Leander Kahney, quoted. A fantastic read well worth draining a cup of joe over this morning.