The life and rise of Jony Ive, the legendary Apple designer who’s now leaving to strike out on his own

Jony Ive.

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Jony Ive.
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Getty Images/Michael Kovac

After the late Steve Jobs, no one has had more influence on Apple than the company’s longtime design chief Jony Ive.

That made it all the more surprising when Apple announced in June that Ive was leaving the company at some point this year. Ive is departing Apple to launch his own independent design company, LoveFrom, with his former employer as one of its primary clients.

Ive has worked at Apple for 27 years. In that time, he received countless awards and accolades for his ingenuity and commitment to Apple’s minimalist design aesthetic. However, his name disappeared from Apple’s website in November, potentially signaling the Ive’s official departure from the company.

Ive has become quite famous in his prolific career. The knighted London native is frequently spotted at clubs and lives in San Francisco, not terribly far from Apple’s Cupertino headquarters. Ive’s success at Apple has made him a household name and catapulted him into conversations about pop culture.

Here’s what you need to know about Jony Ive, the famed Apple designer:


Jonathan Paul Ive was born on Feb. 27, 1967, in Chingford, England, a suburb of London. His father was a silversmith, and his mother was a psychotherapist.

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Business Insider

Source: Cult of Mac


While attending secondary school, Ive was diagnosed with dyslexia.

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Romrodphoto / Shutterstock

Source: Business Insider


Ive studied industrial design at Newcastle Polytechnic, now called Northumbria University.

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Flickr/thedeveloptmentofbirmingham

Source: Cult of Mac


Some of Ive’s collegiate drawings have been exhibited at the London Design Museum.

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Wikimedia Commons

Source: The Design Museum


Here’s an early Ive sketch of an electronic pen that could write in different widths and patterns.

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Copyright Weaver Design. Used courtesy of Portfolio/Penguin, publisher of JONY IVE, The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Products

Soucre: Business Insider


His first design for Apple was the second-generation Newton MessagePad. Ive’s favorite part was the flip cover, which foreshadowed the popularity of flip cellphones.

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Photos courtesy of Portfolio/Penguin, publisher of JONY IVE, The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Products

Source: Business Insider


Here’s a shot of Ive when he was a little younger. He joined Apple in 1992 and became Senior VP of Design after Steve Jobs became CEO in 1997.

Source: Wired


Jobs’ first major assignment for Ive was the classic, candy-colored iMac, pictured below.

Source: 9To5Mac


Ive has led the design on Apple’s biggest products ever since, including the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad.

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REUTERS/Alessia Pierdomenico

To this day, Ive has creative oversight over the design of Apple’s products, and has worked with CEO Tim Cook to launch new products like the Apple Watch.

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etty

These days, Ive lives in San Francisco.

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YouTube/TheDesignStalker

Source: Business Insider


In 2012 he bought this 4-bedroom house in Pacific Heights for $17 million. That part of the neighborhood is called “Billionaire’s Row,” and for good reason.

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Google Street View

It was designed by Willis Polk, a renowned San Francisco architect who designed the city’s Palace of Fine Arts.

Source: Business Insider


Ive has a beach house on the island of Kauai in Hawaii, too.

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Shutterstock/Pierre Leclerc

Source: The New Yorker


Ive also has quite the car collection. He once helped his dad restore an Austin-Healey Sprite.

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Flickr/sg2012

Source: Cult of Mac


Ive used to own an Aston Martin DB9, but he crashed it near San Bruno, California.

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Flickr/thebogroll

Source: Cult of Mac


Ive bought another DB9, but caught fire. So he complained to Aston Martin and they gave him a deal on their Vanquish supercar.

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Flickr/janesyb

Source: Cult of Mac


Next Ive bought a white Bentley Brooklands. Here’s a shot of the interior.

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YouTube/Mehdi Soltanian

Source: Cult of Mac


Ive liked the Brooklands so much he bought a second one in black.

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YouTube/Mehdi Soltanian

Source: Cult of Mac


He also owns a Land Rover LR3.

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Flickr/klausnahr

Source: Cult of Mac


After Steve Jobs died, Ive asked CEO Tim Cook for his own Gulfstream jet. Apple’s board rejected the request, so Ive bought Jobs’ former plane instead.

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Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

Source: Business Insider


In May 2012, Ive was knighted in Buckingham Palace by Princess Anne, Queen Elizabeth II’s only daughter. Ive said the experience was “absolutely thrilling.”

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Getty Images

Source: BBC News


Ive met the Duchess of Cambridge in 2012 at Royal Academy of Arts creative industries reception.

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Getty Images

Source: Zimbio


He’s friends with U2’s Bono and prominent designer Marc Newson, too.

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Getty Images/Cindy Ord

Source: Southeby’s


Ive is also close with Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer. The two sat together at this dinner in 2013.

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Marissa Mayer CEO dinner.
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Mike Cassidy, Facebook

Source: The Verge


In 2014, he was spotted at the Chiltern Firehouse, a posh nightclub in London’s West End.

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Wikimedia Commons

Source: The Daily Dot


He also gets invited to mingle with the rich and powerful — here he is at the White House State Dinner for UK Prime Minister David Cameron in 2012.

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Getty Images/Brendan Hoffman

Source: Zimbio


In 2014, Ive was spotted at Apple headquarters with LA Lakers star Kobe Bryant. “I went up to Apple to spend the day there, talking with Jony (Ive) and picking his brain,” Bryant said.

Source: Medium


His design fame has led him to charity work. Ive designed this Leica, which set the record for a camera sold at auction.

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Getty Images/John Moore

Source: Wired


He also designed this Jaeger-LeCoultre watch for an AIDS charity auction.

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Sotheby’s

Source: Business Insider


Ive was spotted at an Oscars party hosted by Madonna in 2015. He was reportedly “basically inseparable” from Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

Source: Apple Insider


In May 2015, Ive was promoted to the role of chief design officer at Apple.

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Stephen Lam / Getty Images

Source: The Design Museum


From 2015 to 2017, Ive focused on Apple’s new headquarters, the Apple Park “spaceship,” for which he designed most of the little details.

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YouTube/Matthew Roberts

Source: Business Insider


Ive regained direct control of Apple’s design team in 2017.

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Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Design team leads Evans Hankey, vice president of industrial design, and Alan Dye, vice president of human interface design, began reporting to Ive again.

Source: Bloomberg, Business Insider.


In June 2019, Apple announced that Ive was leaving the company after 27 years at the company. The press release said Ive would depart “later this year,” and Ive’s face has since disappeared off the list of key executives on Apple’s website.

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Getty Images/Michael Kovac

Source: Business Insider


Ive revealed he would be leaving Apple to launch his own independent design company called LoveFrom. Apple is the design firm’s first client, and Ive told the Financial Times he hopes to stay “very involved” in Apple’s designs for “many, many years to come”

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Getty

Source: Financial Times

This is an update to a story by Sam Colt originally published in 2014.