Bono: Apple’s Jony Ive is Obi-Wan of design

By , Apr 19, 2013

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Time Magazine’s list of the 100 most interesting people for 2013 is packed with profiles of technology leaders. Apple design guru Jony Ive is among those listed, described as a Star Wars’ Obi-Wan leading a team of Jedi employees.

The thread of Apple’s innovation runs through other profiles, including Samsung’s CEO, who is viewed by a former executive of the iPhone maker as carrying on the tradition of Steve Jobs…

U2′s Bono writes Ive’s profile.

The musician has particular insight into Apple, Ive and Jobs, given his close connection with the company and the production of a U2-branded iPod.

Still, Bono’s comments paint the industrial designer as a mythical leader instructing a group of acolytes.

You be the judge as to whether his portrait is a bit over-the-top:

Jony Ive is himself classic Apple.

Brushed steel, polished glass hardware, complicated software honed to simplicity. His genius is not just his ability to see what others cannot but also how he applies it. To watch him with his workmates in the holy of holies, Apple’s design lab, or on a night out is to observe a very rare esprit de corps.

They love their boss, and he loves them. What the competitors don’t seem to understand is you cannot get people this smart to work this hard just for money.

And here’s the money quote:

Jony is Obi-Wan.

His team are Jedi whose nobility depends on the pursuit of greatness over profit, believing the latter will always follow the former, stubbornly passing up near-term good opportunities to pursue great ones in the distance. Jony’s values happen to add value – emotional and financial.

It takes a unique alchemy of form and function for millions of people to feel so passionately about the robot in their pocket.

jony ive

The phrase getting the most attention today is “…you cannot get people this smart to work this hard just for money.”

Of course, you can.

The small group of designers within Apple may buy into the mystique proposed by Bono, but profit is not a foreign word at the company. Indeed, the CEO of Apple, Tim Cook, previously oversaw the nuts and bolts of making sure enough of those designs made it onto the shelf.

Here’s the Ive segment, from the ‘Objectified’ documentary.

The financial reward for working at Apple is delayed, though. The benefit of working at Apple comes later, when you are interviewing for a job and people see the Apple brand among your work history.

Although Apple fans love to hate Samsung, former CEO John Scully calls the South Korean company’s CEO shoulder-to-shoulder with Steve Jobs.

Oh-Hyun Kwon (headshot 001)

While Samsung’s new CEO and former head of the company’s components business, Oh-Hyun Kwon, (pictured above) pushes the Android-based Galaxy smartphones, he has much in common with Apple, according to Scully.

Product design, marketing and complex supply-chain management are the trifecta of success in consumer electronics. Excelling at all of them simultaneously is a rare feat, much like throwing a no-hitter in baseball.

Akio Morita did it at Sony with the Walkman and Sony Trinitron. Steve Jobs did it with the iPhone and iPad. With the Samsung Galaxy, Oh-Hyun Kwon joins those business giants.

And his take on Samsung’s Galaxy devices:

Galaxy phones have a signature design feature: big, beautiful, highest-definition screens; an integrated supply chain allows for a family of products at more price points than competitors’; and their brand advertising is bold, tasteful and executed with a cheeky self-confidence equaled only by Apple’s.

Scully’s comments echo others which have claimed Samsung is changing the game on Apple through increased advertising and marketing.

In another link to Apple, Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer, Sheryl Sandberg was among Time’s annual list of movers and shakers.

Sheryl Sandberg and MArk Zuckerberg

In a profile by feminist pioneer Gloria Steinem, Sandberg is seen as opposing barriers to equality, particularly when it comes to business.

“For a woman to be loved, she has to fail, and for a man to be loved, he has to succeed,” Steinem writes.

Sandberg recently made waves with her book Lean In, which proposes a woman’s most important career decision is who to marry. But for Apple, Facebook may be the next destination for Apple employees looking to expand their horizons.

The social networking giant recently unveiled Facebook Home for Android smartphone owners.

The move briefly gave rise to speculation Facebook was working on an iOS version.

No list of technology leaders would be complete without Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer.

Marissa Mayer (headshot 001)

Mayer’s Time profile is penned by Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, where the Yahoo leader previously worked. Schmidt points to Mayer’s role in designing the Google home page.

“She is simply one of the smartest, most talented leaders the tech world has ever known,” he said.

At another point, the Schmidt said “Yahoo is lucky to have her taking them someplace new.”

The comment is ironic, seeing that Google all but owns the search market and Yahoo has veered all over the map looking for an alternative revenue source.

She is also infamous for her nervous laugh and Gawker claims her former boyfriend Larry Page and the other Google co-founder, Sergey Brin, avoid her at social events over the irritating laughter.

Here’s a nice compilation of Marissa’s laugh taken from her Stanford appearance.

Capping off the list is hedge fund owner David Einhorn, who has called on Apple to give back to investors.

While time calls such investor-driven demands just the start, it said Einhorn’s push for preferred Apple shares was “short-term thinking.”

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  • Lordthree

    Meh. All fluff. No substance

  • sleeperjoe

    Only question now is which ex Apple employee will play the role of Anakin.

  • Bambino

    Sir Jonathan Ive is the man. But did I read that right “Scully calls the south Korean company’s CEO should-to-shoulder with Steve Jobs.” ??? lol Has Samsung really changed the world or am I missing something? I love my Samsung TV and the galaxy devices are great, but did they change/revolutionized the game? Maybe the refrigerator?

    • http://twitter.com/aidanharris1 ✪ aidan harris ✪

      Their refrigerators are probably the only cool thing they’ve ever made and if they’re not its cause they’re broke like half there other products

      • http://www.facebook.com/leonodobasic Feđa Jebivetar

        Why do people enjoy talking smack about products they haven’t even used or even seen? Right. Samsung is world renown because all their products are crappy and break all the time. I’m want some of what you’re smoking.
        If you’re going to talk smack about Samsung, then at least do it right, because this is getting freaking pathetic.

      • http://twitter.com/aidanharris1 ✪ aidan harris ✪

        What, because Sarcasm isn’t the right way to do it?

    • iDon’tWantToShareMyDetails

      The CPU in your phone is made by Samsung, some other circuit-board on your very own computer is Samsung too, same goes as your TV etc.

      So you see Samsung may not claim they re-invent the wheel every year, but they damn sure supply everything you need to make a great product. Besides Apple does not need kids as PR agents, its stupid hating/loving a company – they are both in it for the money.

      • http://twitter.com/aidanharris1 ✪ aidan harris ✪

        Who makes the blueprints for these components? Not Samsung. Samsung are the manufactures and mass producers. Not designers and inventors…

      • iDon’tWantToShareMyDetails

        Yeah… cause Apple invented the CPU. Its not like they used an existing architecture as a prototype and just fusing chips togheter.

        Apple polish two things: design (looks and feel) and software.

      • http://twitter.com/aidanharris1 ✪ aidan harris ✪

        Apple more a less invented the home PC market albeit lost the home PC market but still.

        Also in order to have the fastest processor in your devices believe it or not Apple actually does have to innovate as opposed to just “fusing chips together”.

      • http://twitter.com/int3nsive Int3nsive

        Since the Apple A4, it’s designed by Apple and only manufactured by Samsung.

        This is because Apple has no manufactures, so they pay someone to manufacture the components that they need. And in a near future…bye bye Samsung.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000603361739 Osama Muhammed

    he seems a good thinking man, one way to real success is by the design taste and if its true that he designed almost all apple products then i hope someday he becomes Apple CEO instead of Cook

  • http://twitter.com/int3nsive Int3nsive

    “Although Apple fans love to hate Samsung, former CEO John Scully calls
    the South Korean company’s CEO shoulder-to-shoulder with Steve Jobs.”

    Coming from the guy who fired Steve Jobs and leave Apple almost bankrupt and had Jony Ive almost alone in a room full of great concepts that only Steve Jobs saw their potential… Scully just GFYS

  • Malay Mody

    You can show yourself out Scully LOL. Coming from the guy who fired Steve Jobs, I wouldnt take your opinion seriously at all. Samsung hasn’t changed the world in any product category like Steve Jobs did.

  • http://twitter.com/RohanJPrabhu Rohan Jay Prabhu

    “The Sam people are easily startled, but they’ll soon be back, and in greater screen sizes”

  • http://www.facebook.com/tafk1 Taf Khan

    In Jonny we trust… Apples product design is in the safest of hands.

  • makolpiyush

    i’d say steve was lucky to have johny who could deliver and provide steve with the best possible alternatives and same goes with many of apple employees. and johny was lucky to be in a place and with a guy like steve who could see his potential and utilize it. and now johny has proved enough and earned the respect of top apple executives as well as apple fans who have faith in him.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ishaanmalhotra92 Ishaan Malhotra

    Though im an iphone person, i hate the way apple works( no bluetooth sharing, closed OS, etc). And ive never liked samsung as their products have nice specs, but the quality sucks. Have sent my samsung tv for repair 3 times in a year. Was at a samsung showroom yesterday, and was checking out the S3 they had placed for demo. I was scrolling through the home pages, when it suddenly started to hang and just crashed.

  • Hyr3m

    Please don’t insult Obi-Wan Kenobi’s memory by comparing him to the likes of low-lives such as Apple employees.