Computer & electronics hardware

Jonathan Ive

Year Honored

Apple Computer


"Until recently, neither computer developers nor computer users paid much attention to the exterior of personal computers: What mattered was inside. This created an industry ""where there is an obsession about product attributes that you can measure empirically,"" such as processor speed and hard disk size, says Jonathan Ive, vice president for industrial design at Apple. In 1997, though, Ive was charged by interim CEO Steve Jobs to design a radically different computer--with attention paid to style as well as content. The result of the work of Ive’s design team was the iMac, a computer whose abilities were not so different from other computers, but whose design set it apart from any previous PC. Its colorful translucent case captured the interest--and pocketbooks--of millions; the design has inspired the sincerest form of flattery from makers of computer peripherals and, more recently, rival PC makers. Apple recently unveiled their latest design, the iBook, a laptop version of the iMac. While Ive’s work helped Apple distance itself from the pack, that wasn’t the primary purpose for his group’s innovative design, he says. ""Our goal wasn’t just to differentiate our product, but to create products that people would love in the future."