Will Jony Ive claim Steve Jobs' crown? The moment of truth for Brit behind iOS7

The look and feel of Apple's new hardware and software have not been to everyone's taste, but they show not only that the company can still innovate, but that Jony Ive might be the man to replace Jobs

Apple has finally begun rolling out the latest version of its mobile operating system iOS 7, and as iPhones and iPads the world over start showing off a brand new look there’s only one man that’s responsible: Jony Ive.

(Click here to read our guide to the new features offered in iOS 7)

The British industrial designer has been designing hardware for Apple since 1992 and is credited with the look of the company’s most lauded products. From the colourful splash made by the “Bondi Blue” iMac to the shockingly thin outline of the MacBook Air, Ive’s designs have always been more than just pleasing to the eye: they make a virtue of their design and more importantly, they made Apple’s name.

A changing of the guard at Apple put Ive on top

Now for the first time Ive is responsible not only for Apple’s hardware but its software too. Following an acrimonious executive shake-up in 2012, former iOS head Scott Forstall was ousted and Ive installed as head of ‘Human Interface’. The result is iOS 7: a radical redesign of how Apple‘s mobile devices look and feel, described by CEO Tim Cook as “the biggest change to iOS since the introduction of the iPhone”.

When it was first unveiled at Apple’s annual developer conference in June 2013, iOS 7 certainly turned heads but the reactions were far from uniformly positive. Ive’s simplistic icons were either ‘minimalist’ or ‘childish’; his use of gradients and pastel colours either ‘bold’ or ‘ugly’. The redesign heavily pushed what’s known as flat design – simple, abstract even - whilst Apple had previously favoured a fuller range of 3D effects, from realist-looking textures to drop-shadows and glossy finishes.

These effects and the attendant ethos of skeuomorphism (the use of redundant visual metaphors in design, eg the fake leather stitching on the iOS diary) had been particular obsessions of Steve Jobs, but with their disappearance it seems that it was only the ferocious drive and character of Apple’s founder that had kept the aesthetic afloat.

Appl iOS 6 (left) vs iOS 7 (right). Gone are the fake wooden shelves of the iOS newsstand, instead we have smooth gradients and parallel lines.

'Great taste in hardware - terrible taste in software'

“Steve Jobs had great taste in hardware and terrible taste in software,” says Benedict Evans, an analyst of the mobile industry.  “Mac OS, for example, started out as very bling but has calmed down over the last 10 years. In fact, from around the time Steve left [the PC team] - and that’s not a coincidence.”

Evans describes Scott Forstall as the inheritor of Jobs’ legacy in design, and that the process of removing his influence has been referred to by some, somewhat cruelly, as “Deforstallisation”. Keeping Jobs’ favoured look in vogue at Apple was no problem when Jobs was around – the entire company was in his thrall - but now there is a clear division of labour. Whilst Cook’s responsibility is “keeping the trains running” Ive has been given a free reign in design.

“What Jony Ive has bought is a much more systematic, cleaner and much more modern sensibility. Apple’s hardware has always had this very minimal and considered approach and with iOS 7 you now see that in the interface as well,” says Evans. “Half of the changes are about the animations are how it feels like to use it. When you go back to iOS 6 it just feels clunky by comparison; you don’t have the fluidity between features.”

Made from high quality polycarbonate, the case for the 5c looks and feels beautiful - a cut above its plastic competitors

The 5c - 'beautifully, unapologetically plastic'

Ive's influence is even clearer when you consider the iPhone 5c, a phone that recalls the startling splash of colour produced by the iMac back in 1998. That was the first major collaboration between Jobs and Ive, and it launched Apple into the public's conscious. With the 5c, Ive has rekindled this sense of boldness, describing the smartphone as "beautifully, unapologetically plastic" and using adverts to push the same message. With typical bravado (and not a small amount of advertising magic) what would have been a flaw for any other phone-maker has been turned by Apple into a feature.

This is not to ignore the 5s of course, which will be providing the high-spec hardware to keep technology enthusiasts interested: the 64-bit processor may seem a bit of marketing fluff but it makes possible the device's fingerprint sensor and fantastic camera (taking 10 pictures a second then automatically selecting those in focus is no easy job). Neither of which are 'new' but they do embody Apple's love of creating flawless user experiences. The same is true of the 5c, but instead of going for hardware, it offers that unified look and feel that justify (sort of) Apple's prices.

(Click here to read our reviews of the iPhone 5s and 5c)

With its fingerprint sensor and spruced up camera, the iPhone 5s has all the technological flash (apologies) you could ask for. And with prices need justifying more than ever the promise of an exciting new harmony between hardware and software could not come at a better time. From the iPod to the iPad, the company has consistently produced innovative products that not only delight consumers but ‘disrupt’ industries (a buzzword dear to the ego of the tech community).  However, following Jobs’ death many industry commentators have speculated that the company’s glory days are over.

Now it seems that Apple may have found a successor after all. Not Scott Forstall - who would have kept to Jobs’ plans - but Jony Ive, who will be perhaps truer to the ‘spirit’ of Apple and do something new. Ive may not have Jobs’ ruthless business instinct but as the most valuable company in the world Apple hardly needs that quality now. What it does need are new products that will keep it ahead of the competition. With Ive in charge of both hardware and software it’s just possible that the best of Apple is yet to come.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Life and Style
Britons buy more than 30 million handsets each year, keeping them for an average of 18 months
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Alloysious Massaquoi, 'G' Hastings and Kayus Bankole of Young Fathers are the surprise winners of this year's Mercury Music Prize
musicThe surprise winners of the Mercury Prize – and a very brief acceptance speech
Arts and Entertainment
TV Presenters Ant McPartlin and Dec Donnelly. Winners of the 'Entertainment Programme' award for 'Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway'
musicAnt and Dec confirmed as hosts of next year's Brit Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Orson Welles made Citizen Kane at 25, and battled with Hollywood film studios thereafter
film
News
video
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Business Development Manager / Sales Executive

    £23-30k (DOE) + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking bright Business Developmen...

    Inside Sales Manager – SaaS based solutions

    25-30k + Comms + Benefits: Sphere Digital Recruitment: A rapidly expanding tag...

    2nd Line server support

    £25000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our large organisa...

    Project Manager - Contract - Procurement & Online Portal Project

    £330 - £430 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Project Manager - Birmin...

    Day In a Page

    Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

    A Syrian general speaks

    A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
    ‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

    ‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

    Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
    Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

    Fall of the Berlin Wall

    History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
    How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

    Turn your mobile phone into easy money

    There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
    Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

    Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

    "I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
    Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

    11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

    Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
    Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

    Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

    The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
    Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

    The school that means business

    Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
    10 best tablets

    The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

    They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
    Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

    Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

    The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
    Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

    Pete Jenson's a Different League

    Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
    John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

    Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

    The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
    The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

    The killer instinct

    Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
    Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

    Clothing the gap

    A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
    Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

    The Fall of the Berlin Wall

    Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain