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With just a tiny white box with a scroll wheel, he put 1,000 songs in our pocket.
The i Phone was so touchy-feely, it trashed the fiddly Blackberry in a heartbeat. His love of simplicity and directness extends beyond tech.
Ive spent his childhood taking apart the family’s worldly goods and trying to put them back together again.
“Complete intrigue with the physical world starts by destroying it,” he says.
“Steve and I spent months and months working on a part of a product that, often, nobody would ever see, nor realize was there,” Ive grins.
Apple is notorious for making the insides of its machines look as good as the outside. We did it because we cared, because when you realize how well you can make something, falling short, whether seen or not, feels like failure.” For a man whose products are all called i Something, it’s surprising that “i” is one word Ive scarcely uses.
He speaks slowly and softly in an Essex accent totally unaffected by living in America for more than two decades.
“I can’t even bring myself to say math, instead of maths, so I say mathematics. Ive is in a good mood today — and not just because he’s celebrating his 47th birthday.
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.
But last month, he invited me to Cupertino in Silicon Valley where Apple is based, for his first in-depth interview since he became head of design almost 20 years ago. But just after 10AM, an Apple tech-head appeared in an all-white meeting room on the first floor of building 4 of the firm’s antiseptic headquarters with strict instructions to find an Earl Grey tea bag. Thanks for coming,” grins Ive, as he rolls in, picking up his brew.
Ive is the most unremarkable remarkable person you could meet.
Radios were easy, but “I remember taking an alarm clock to pieces and it was very difficult to reassemble it.
I couldn’t get the mainspring rewound.” Thirty years later, he did the same to his i Phone one day. A love of making is something he shared with Jobs, Apple’s former chief executive who died three years ago.