Apple

What's Apple's Jonathan Ive Going to Do? Kids May Know First


Jonathan Ive, senior vice president of industrial design at Apple

Photograph by Andrew Cowie/AFP via Getty Images

Jonathan Ive, senior vice president of industrial design at Apple

Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook will be running today’s keynote at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), but the real man of the hour will be chief designer Jonathan Ive. Since being given control over Apple’s (AAPL) software interfaces, Ive is expected to put his mark on iOS and Mac OS X the same way he did with the company’s hardware.

At Apple events, Ive usually shows up in a video watched by the auditorium’s crowd. It’s a highly polished affair, with Ive shot on a white background as he narrates a short video explaining the design and manufacturing attributes of the latest Apple product. Inspirational music helps guide us to what we’re supposed to think and feel as Ive talks of chamfered edges and milled aluminum.

We may see a similar performance today. While we’re waiting to find out, let’s take a more casual look at Jonathan Ive. In February, he spent about six minutes on the BBC children’s program Blue Peter:

Those looking for clues to what Ive might reveal today can parse his responses to a design challenge to Blue Peter’s viewers: to create a combination backpack/lunchbox/pencil case. Three designs were shown to Ive, who, it must be said, graciously praised them and talked a little about how his team would approach such a project:

“If we’re thinking of ‘lunchbox,’ we’d be really careful about not having the word ‘box’ already give you a bunch of ideas that could be quite narrow. Because you think of ‘box’ as being square and like a cube. And so we’re quite careful with the words we use, because those can determine the path you go down.”

Let the overthinking begin.

Grobart is a senior writer for Bloomberg Businessweek and the managing editor of Bloomberg Digital Video. Follow him on Twitter @samgrobart.

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