He has only one house — in the swanky Pacific Heights district of San Francisco, where his neighbors include Oracle’s Larry Ellison, Paypal co-founder Peter Thiel and actor Nicolas Cage.
We use Jonathan Ive’s products to help us to eat, drink and sleep, to work, travel, relax, read, listen and watch, to shop, chat, date and have sex. It had not rained properly in California for months but that morning the clouds rolled off the Pacific, turning the Golden Gate Bridge black.
Many of us spend more time with his screens than with our families. For years, Ive’s natural shyness, coupled with the secrecy bordering on paranoia of his employer, Apple, has meant we have known little about the man who shapes the future, with such innovations as the i Mac, the i Pod, the i Phone and the i Pad. Interstate 280 South to Silicon Valley was a river of water, instead of the usual lava streaks of stop-start SUVs.
(He obviously has a thing about firms named after fruit.) There, he designed everything from microwave ovens to toothbrushes.
But he quickly became disillusioned working for clients he didn’t like or whose values he didn’t share. But when Steve Jobs, who had been ousted in 1985, returned to try to save the firm in 1996, he spotted Ive’s talent and the two men set out on their maniacal journey to remake what they saw as the bland, lazy world around them.
You might think you’d recognize him if you passed him on the street, but you wouldn’t.
He’s not particularly tall, is well built and bald(ish), has two-day-old stubble and dresses like dads do on weekends — navy polo shirt, canvas trousers, desert boots.
It helped the two men forge the most creative partnership modern capitalism has seen.
In less than two decades, they transformed Apple from a near-bankrupt also-ran into the most valuable corporation on the planet, worth more than 5 billion.
It was his teenage love of cars that made Ive decide to become a designer. After leaving Newcastle, he went to work for Roberts Weaver group, the London design agency that had sponsored him through college.