Thanks to Apple’s man behind the curtain

September 27, 2006 at 10:38 pm Leave a comment

Apple has enjoyed so much success recently that it’s easy to forget that was not always the case. Ten years ago, working at one of Apple’s PR agencies, we considered it a major victory if an article did not apply the epithet ‘ailing’ to the company. Back then, Gil Amelio (who famously compared the Apple brand to Maglite) was CEO and Apple’s computers looked like everyone else’s.

This week’s BusinessWeek features a profile of Apple’s senior vice president for industrial design, Jonathan Ive, calling him the “man behind Apple’s design magic.” Ive actually joined the company in 1992, but wasn’t really allowed to strut his stuff until after The Return of Jobs in 1997. According to BusinessWeek, Jobs scoured the industry looking for a superstar industrial designer until he realized that he already had one within the company. That was the start of a beautiful partnership that has produced such design icons as the iMac, the titanium Powerbook and, of course, iPod.

Says BusinessWeek: “While Jobs sets the direction and provides the inspiration, Ive melds Apple’s unique creativity with the nuts-and-bolts required to make beautiful things. Apple’s innovation success is due greatly to this alchemy between chief designer and powerful boss.”

Steve Jobs deserves every ounce of credit he has received for turning around Apple’s fortunes through bold, uncompromising vision. Jonathan Ive prefers, as BusinessWeek puts it, to be “Apple’s Man Behind the Curtain.” Nevertheless, credit is due, and I for one would like to thank him for my iPod and the beautiful machine I am currently typing on.

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Entry filed under: Innovation, The technology biz.

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