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Rise, Sir Textalot, iKnight of the Realm

Jonathan Ive, Apple’s longtime head of design, is now a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire. Sir Ive Jonathan joined Apple in 1992 and has led the design team responsible for products like the iPod, iPad, iMac, and iPhone since 1997. The might make him one of the most influential product designers in the world, but Sir Ive Jonathan is said to be softspoken and humble; the Telegraph calls him “British to the core.”

Sir Ive Jonathan traces the roots of the sensibility he brings to Apple products to Britain’s history of early industrialization and its leadership in modern design:

The care that goes into Apple’s products is something that Ive speaks about earnestly. It’s a principle that he traces back to the industrial revolution. “One of the concerns was that there would somehow be, inherent with mass production and industrialisation, a godlessness and a lack of care.

“I think it’s a wonderful view that care was important – but I think you can make a one-off and not care and you can make a million of something and care. Whether you really care or not is not driven by how many of the products you’re going to make.”

One of the big themes in God and Gold is the continuing role of the Anglo-Americans in making products that reshape the world. The idea of combining radical innovation with a certain regard for tradition, beauty and, yes, a reverent sense of the presence of God is an important part of that culture. That tradition is very much alive today at Apple and the world is a richer place for it.

Rise, Sir Textalot.

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  • thibaud

    More Anglo than American. The US for most of our history was viewed as version of today’s China: the epitome of ripoffs, shoddy workmanship, the triumph of mass production over the craft ethos. It was the late 19c English like William Morris who gave the world the Arts & Crafts movement.

    Maybe the Great Deleveraging will spur more and more Americans to embrace the craft ethos, as consumer demand shifts away from oodles of cheap throwaway Chinese-made junk toward tasteful products crafted to last for years.

  • Glenn

    “Sir Ive joined Apple in 1992 and has led the design team responsible for products like the iPod”: C’mon! the haute bourgeoisie interns at the stately Mead manor surely know it’s
    Sir Jonathan, not Sir Ive….

  • Jacksonian Libertarian

    I really despise the reflexive anti-American attitudes of the leftists. American brand names dominate the world, Apple, Microsoft, Intel, McDonalds, KFC, Coke, Dow, Ford, GM, Boeing, etc… I challenge you to name more than a handful of world class brand names from any other country. I can’t think of a single Chinese brand and they are supposed to be the 2nd strongest economy.

  • chefmojo

    One small point of protocol. Knights are referred to by their first name. Therefore, you would address Mr. Ive as Sir Jonathan. It is incorrect to refer to him as Sir Ive. If protocol dictates, he would otherwise be referred to as Sir Jonathan Ive, KBE.

  • WigWag

    Speaking of the continuing role of Anglo-Americans in reshaping the world, sadly, Paul Fussell, one of the greatest American literary critics of the past century passed away today at the age of eighty eight. Paul’s extraordinary “Great War and Modern Memory” is one of the greatest non-fiction works (in English) of the twentieth century. For developing a true understanding of what the Great War was like for the British combatants Paul’s book has no equal. For those who have not read it; give yourself a treat. It is an extraordinary work. His other books are also great; especially his book about travel writing after the War.

    Fussell was one of a kind; we are unlikely to see the likes of him again any time soon.

    More on “The Great War and Modern Memory” here,

    More on Paul’s life here,

  • Kris

    Painstaking design is more affordable when it can be amortized through mass production.

    My apologies, Sir Ive. I meant “amortised”.

  • Corlyss

    Wouldn’t that be Sir Jonathan?

  • JJ

    Er, if Jonathan Ive is knighted, doesn’t he become Sir Jonathan (rather than Sir Ive).

  • aaronspook

    Shouldn’t it be “Sir Jonathan”? I don’t think it’s correct to attach a “Sir” to a family name.

  • mhb

    Just a note on the correct protocol when using the honorific of ‘Sir’.
    The title is used with the given name or full name, but never with the surname alone.
    You can call him “Sir Johnathan” or “Sir Johnathon Ives”, or even “Sir Textalot”, but never “Sir Ives”.

  • BobW

    Jonathan Ive followed in the footsteps of Steve Jobs.

    Read how in 1976 during the Apple II design, Steve continually had the product’s case designer alter its shape and appearance.

    The result stunned people at the West Coast Computer Faire in March 1976. It was the first production computer that mimicked a typewriter.

    All if its predicesors were boxes with lights and switches.

  • Kris

    @6: Mea Culpa.

  • thibaud

    @ JL #3: “I challenge you to name more than a handful of world class brand names from any other country.”

    More flapdoodle ignorant boasting that makes one suspect “Jacksonian” = 21c Know-nothing.

    So the Ford and GM global brands are superior to those obscure brands, Mercedes BMW Audi VW and Porsche. Sure.

    Nike is the only global sporting goods brand, Boeing the only airplane maker, Apple the only consumer electronics maker. And France, Sweden and those decadent sOCiaLiST$!!! don’t even have any global brands at all!


    For non-Jacksonians and others who wish to educate themselves, here’s Interbrand’s 2011 interactive database of top 100 global brands and their performance, sortable by industry, region, country etc.

    Here’s the list of nations with the highest number of global Top 100 brands per million population:

    Switzerland 0.63
    Sweden 0.21
    Netherlands 0.19
    Finland 0.19
    USA 0.15
    Germany 0.12
    France 0.11
    UK 0.8
    Japan 0.6

    USA! USA! We’re number five! Booyah!

  • Richard Treitel

    And if anyone should ask why knights are known by “Lord” plus their land-names or family names while knights are known by “Sir” plus their given names, remember that a knighthood is not inheritable. Someone can become the fifth Lord Goring, but there may very well never be another Sir Somebody Ive.

    Just to confuse you a little further, a few decades ago a retired politician called George Brown was given a life peerage, but there was already a Lord Brown. Rather than risk confusion, he chose the title Lord George-Brown.

  • Tom

    @thibaud: Such a ratio means that we have more such brands than anyone else by an extremely long shot, unless China and India are above .035 brands per million.

  • thibaud

    @Tom – the post I responded to made the rather embarrassing claim that Ford and “GM” are superior brands, when the latter is not even a distinct brand at all and the former doesn’t even compare to not one, not two or three, but SIX global automotive brands from one nation.

    Re your comparison to India and China, don’t you think it’s rather pathetic to compare ourselves to nations that until recently were considered “third world,” with most of their populations barely above subsistence level?

    The signal:noise ratio at Via Meadia would be greatly improved if there were less moronic, reflexive furreigner-bashing.

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