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Newly knighted, Apple design chief hints at mystery product

Jonathan Ive, the design chief at Apple, told a reporter that his current work – still a mystery – trumps everything that has come before. 

By Matthew Shaer / May 23, 2012

Apple design chief Jonathan Ive and late Apple founder Steve Jobs participate in a teleconference at a 2010 Apple event. Ive was recently knighted.

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The iPhone: A good looking machine. So good, in fact, that the man who designed it has just been made a "sir." According to the BBC, Jonathan Ives, the design chief at Apple, was knighted on Wednesday by Princess Anne, at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace. The BBC reports that Ives, a native of Britain, even had a friendly post-knighting chat about the Princess's iPad and Ive's regular trips to and from his home country. 

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Jonathan "Jony" Ive was born in 1967 in London. He studied industrial design at Northumbria University, and after graduation, he and three friends founded a design agency called Tangerine. One of Tangerine's first clients was Apple, which promptly hired Ive away to California. Ive was made design chief at Apple in 1992, and in the two decades since, he has helped oversee the creation of a range of products, including the iPhone and the iPod

Steve Jobs, the late founder of Apple, told biographer Walter Isaacson that Ive was a kind of "spiritual partner."

"We try to develop products that seem somehow inevitable. That leave you with the sense that that’s the only possible solution that makes sense," Ive said in an interview with the Daily Telegraph this week. "Our products are tools and we don’t want design to get in the way. We’re trying to bring simplicity and clarity, we’re trying to order the products. I think subconsciously people are remarkably discerning. I think that they can sense care."

In the interview with the Telegraph – rare for Ive, who is press shy – Ive explains that although he is proud of his past work, it's his current projects that he'd like to be remembered for. "[W]hat we’re working on now feels like the most important and the best work we’ve done, and so it would be what we’re working on right now, which of course I can’t tell you about," Ive said. 

Of course, as Josh Ong of Apple Insider noted today, it's easy enough to read between the lines. "Though Ive likely has a range of products in the pipeline, his comments will likely be interepreted as evidence toward a rumored Apple television," Ong writes. "According to one report from early this year, Ive has a 50-inch prototype TV inside his well-guarded design studio." 

Or it could be the new iPhone. Just saying. 

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