Apple Design Chief Newly Knighted

Dennis Faas's picture

Sir Jonathan Ive, who is Apple's senior vice president of Industrial Design and a man Steve Jobs once described as his "spiritual partner," has been made a Knight Commander of the British Empire.

Ive, who was born in London, England, has worked at Apple, based in Cupertino, California, for nearly twenty years. In 1996, he was promoted to lead Apple's design team. There he played a key role in the development of the iMac, the iPod and the iPhone.

According to many observers, Ive can be credited with helping Apple to establish its current reputation as the source of some of the tech industry's most functional, popular, and aesthetically-pleasing devices.

Ive Worked Closely With Apple's Late Chairman

"I discovered at an early age that all I've ever wanted to do is design. I feel enormously fortunate that I continue to be able to design and make products with a truly remarkable group of people here at Apple," Ive said recently in a public statement, and added that he found the honor of being knighted "absolutely thrilling." (Source:

Ive was said to be very close to Apple's late chairman, Steve Jobs. According to Jobs' biographer, Walter Isaacson, Ive's toughest years at Apple came when Jobs temporarily left the firm in the mid-1990s.

Feeling that the company's focus was on profits rather than design and innovation, Ive almost abandoned his position at Apple, but was able to last long enough for Jobs to return and change the company's direction toward better design.

"I remember very clearly Steve announcing that our goal is not just to make money but to make great products," Ive said. (Source:

Ive's Future With Apple Now Uncertain

Jobs' death has led to rumors that Ive may leave Apple and return to England, his homeland. However, Sir Jonathan has not yet made public his plans for the future.

Some say that Steve Jobs was considered for the peerage at one time, but the final decision in his favor was blocked by former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, according to rumor, because Jobs refused to attend a Labour Party event. (Source:

The accomplished industrial designer is by no means the first tech leader raised to knighthood. Microsoft's Bill Gates was given the honor in 2005.

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