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Arise Sir Jonathan: Apple iPhone, iPad, iPod Designer Knighted

Nathan Eddy is a contributor to eWeek and TechWeekEurope, covering cloud and BYOD

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Apple lead designer Jonathan Ive, named in the New Year Honours list, called the knighthood “absolutely thrilling”

Apple’s senior vice president of industrial design Jonathan Ive, born in England, has been honoured by Queen Elizabeth II as a Knight Commander of the British Empire (KBE) for “services to design and enterprise”.

Ive, the winner of numerous awards including World’s Smartest Designer by Forbes magazine and the National Design award, holds about 400 design patents and has helped design the iPod, iPhone and Macbook Air. The KBE marks the second time Ive has been honoured by the Queen, following his recognition as a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in 2005.

Thrilled, grateful and humbled

The BBC reported Ive calling the award “absolutely thrilling” and said he was sincerely grateful and humbled by the knighthood. “I am keenly aware that I benefit from a wonderful tradition in the UK of designing and making I discovered at an early age that all I’ve ever wanted to do is design,” he told the news organisation.

Ive, who goes by “Jony” and will officially become Sir Jonathan Ive as a result of the award, also gave thanks to his “truly remarkable” colleagues at Apple. The Wall Street Journal reported the British consul general in San Francisco, Priya Guha, expressed her delight at Ive’s award. “Through his design of the iMac, iPod, iPhone and iPad, his work has transformed the lives of a generation of people, revolutionising the way people interact with technology,” she told the paper.

Ive studied industrial design at Newcastle Polytechnic (now Northumbria University) and began his relationship with Apple in 1992 when the company’s then design chief Robert Brunner appointed him as a consultant through Ive’s London-based design agency Tangerine. Upon Steve Jobs’ return to Apple in 1997, Ive became senior vice president of industrial design and would go on to design some of Apple’s most iconic and best-reviewed products.

“What’s made him so outstandingly successful is the relationship he’s had with Steve Jobs and Apple,” Deyan Sudjic, director of The Design Museum, told the BBC. “He’s been working there for 19 years and has built up the kind of relationship that’s very rare.”