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FT profile paints Apple's Jonathan Ive as 'very political'

updated 05:15 pm EDT, Tue April 3, 2012

Relationship with Jobs was key

The Financial Times has run a new profile of Apple's senior VP of Industrial Design, Jonathan Ive. Ive is often credited with the look and feel of Apple products; the Times comments, though, that Ive is "emerging from [Steve] Jobs' shadow," referring to the former Apple CEO's tendency to micromanage the details of products. An anonymous ex-Apple worker in fact tells the Times that Ive's "main talent was his ability to manage his relationship with Jobs."

The person adds that Ive exploited his connection with Jobs "for his own advancement," and claims he is a "very, very political person...You do not want to cross him or you lose pretty much everything."

A former Apple worker willing to go on record, Path CEO Dave Morin, paints a more positive image. "We have insane amounts of respect for him," he says. Morin notes that at an Apple meeting Ive once held, one worker complained about a part of the MacBook design being difficult for the disabled. Ive responded by saying the team had gone to considerable effort to make sure the computer could be operated with one finger, even to the extent of adjusting the screen's weight over the course of three months to make sure it could be opened with one finger without tipping the computer over.

Frog Design CEO Mark Rolston suggests that Ive is less a genius than someone who benefited from circumstance. "There are two schools of thought on this," he says. "One is that he is a transformational designer, someone who's transcended typical notions of quality and brought something really special to the market. A more complicated read is that he was the right man at the right time."

Morin comments that "Great products come from great partnerships between a designer and an entrepreneur," referring to the Ive-Jobs relationship.

by MacNN Staff





  1. chas_m




    You're saying that Jonny Ive isn't a two-dimension person who's easy to figure out? Well I nevah!!

    Comment buried. Show
  1. slboett

    Joined: Dec 1969



    He's an a**-kisser? Whoda thunk it?

  1. jpellino

    Joined: Dec 1969



    So their former design firm (the one that famously didn't bother to correct erroneous design attributions of Apple products) doesn't have a lot of praise for the guy who revamped heir design language? Shocking! And the FT needs to find the person or persons who have made as much of a difference as Jbs and Ive without being political.

  1. SwissMac

    Joined: Dec 1969


    comment title

    Someone wants rid of Ives, that's clear. Question is, is it someone at Apple or at Samsung/Google/Motorola? Motorola just lost a big court case against Apple that will affect all three. And as Steve Jobs said, he set things up so that Ive didn't have to report to anybody, so the release of any information or the manufacture of any lies to undermine him is all they're left with.

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