Home Business Jony Ive leaves Apple: here are his most important Apple product videos – The Verge

Jony Ive leaves Apple: here are his most important Apple product videos – The Verge

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Jony Ive, Apple’s Chief Design Officer and arguably the biggest influence on the look and feel of the company’s products for nearly three decades, is leaving. The news, abruptly announced earlier this afternoon, shocked the tech industry, despite years-long rumors that he was headed for the door soon. Ive claims he will continue to work closely with Apple through his upcoming design firm LoveFrom.

We don’t know what kind of impact this will have on Apple’s business or its design philosophy; Ive has been somewhat distant from the company’s public showings of late, even though he returned in 2017 to take on the design chief role after a two-year “hands off” break back.

What we can do right now is look back at Ive’s prolific legacy. Since the early ‘90s, the British designer has worked on some of the most iconic consumer technology products of our time, and he will long be remembered as having had a colossal impact on modern industrial design and software aesthetics. (Through his new design firm, he may very well continue having a massive impact well into old age.)

But perhaps his most recognizable contribution to mainstream culture, beyond the design of the objects that have become intertwined with our daily lives, is his appearance in Apple marketing material. Ive has narrated a number of videos over the last decade or so in what’s become his signature meticulous and accented manner, rarely appearing onstage and, after the first few years, not even appearing onscreen. His pronunciation of “aluminium,” in more traditional British English form, has become a meme, and you can find scores of YouTube parody videos and just plain old compilations of his narrations, if you’re into that.

Here at The Verge, we’ve decided to collect the most important Ive videos over the years, tied to pivotal Apple product launches. And just for good fun, we’ve ranked them using aluminium ingots, of course. So take a trip down memory lane with Ive and see how his style has evolved over the years.

Jony Ive with hair, just because | 1999

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Beyond his professional career, Ive may be most singularly known for his silky smooth, British narration, but coming in at a close second is his shiny bald head. But here, in this very brief interview snippet from the Macworld conference in San Francisco way back in 1999, you can see Ive with a full head of hair, talking about the sexiness of machines. Fitting.

Rating: 5 / 5 aluminium ingots

Apple iMac (aluminum) | 2009

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It can sometimes feel like Ive’s signature narration has been a part of Apple’s world-famous marketing since the return of former CEO and cofounder Steve Jobs, who promoted Ive to senior vice president of industrial design in 1997, shortly after his triumphant return as chief executive. But it wouldn’t be until more than a decade later that Ive first tried his hand at on-camera evangelizing.

Though he’s mixed in with other well-known Apple faces, Ive stands out here for his word choice and calming demeanor. In this video, Ive also waxes poetic about the new Magic Mouse design, which retains its look to this day. Alarmingly, it does not appear that Ive says aluminium even once in this video. A travesty.

Rating: 2 / 5 aluminium ingots

Apple iPhone 4 | 2010

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Up until 2010, Apple was rather subdued about its iPhone launches, choosing not to go with big flashy product videos, as it had with the new aluminum body iMac. But that changed with the iPhone 4, which was introduced with a similarly styled video featuring Ive at its center.

He shared the spotlight with former software chief Scott Forstall and former hardware chief Bob Mansfield, but Ive stole the show with his talk of glass as strong as sapphire crystal coating both the front and back of the phone. “Ultimately, all of this becomes relevant when you just hold it in your hand,” Ive said, tantalizing Apple fans everywhere.

Rating: 3 / 5 aluminium ingots

Apple iPad (gen 1) | 2010

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“It’s true when something exceeds your ability to understand how it works, it sort of becomes magical. And that’s exactly what the iPad is,” Ive says in the intro to this video. It felt a little presumptuous, and this was the first time Ive started to come off as a bit of blowhard. But when he ends the video theorizing that, although the iPad is a new product category, “millions upon millions of people are going… to know how to use this,” his prediction couldn’t have been more on the nose.

Rating: 3 / 5 aluminium ingots

Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display | 2012

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Ive was at his best when he was describing the interior build quality of computers, and nowhere was that better on display than in the reveal of the MacBook Pro with Retina Display in the summer of 2012. “It’s without doubt the very best computer we’ve ever built,” Ive says.

Frankly, it was easy to believe him, especially when he discussed the asymmetrical fan blades to improve cooling and reduce noise and when he said “every part of the enclosure makes a contribution that directly benefits the user.” Ive even called himself “obsessive” in the video, describing the attention to detail in what remains arguably the best laptop Apple has made to date.

Rating: 5 / 5 aluminium ingots

Apple iPhone 5 | 2012

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While this video wasn’t a big leap forward over the one promoting the iPhone 4, it did for the first time pair Ive with an emotive, instrumental backing tune, amping up the gravitas of his narration and really driving home Apple’s commitment to treating its products like works of art. Compared to the more rock and pop-friendly tunes Apple had used before, this was when Ive started to truly feel like an in-house philosopher.

Rating: 4 / 5 aluminium ingots

Apple iOS 7 | 2013

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One of the very rare instances Ive ever spoke about software in an Apple product video happens to one of the more ambitious overhauls the company has ever embarked on. Apple had tapped Ive to oversee iOS 7 after the departure of Forstall, who’s fumbling of Apple Maps and other missteps got him unceremoniously fired, and he was chosen to present it to the world in 2013.

While iOS 7 and Ive’s aggressively flat approach to user interface was polarizing when it was revealed, he made a pretty strong case for the revamp in this video. And iOS 7 has gone on to become a pivotal turning point in Apple’s approach to software design on both mobile and desktop. That said, because it’s not hardware, you could tell Ive was a bit out of his element discussing a new version of iOS and not once had an opportunity to talk about aluminium or industrial design.

Rating: 1 / 5 aluminium ingots

Apple Watch Sport (aluminium) | 2014

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Perhaps the height of Apple’s unapologetically indulgent style of product marketing, the first of three Ive videos to go along with the already 10-minute-long Apple Watch reveal was focused exclusively on aluminium. It’s the first word Ive says in the video, and he goes on to describe the custom-built alloy Apple created for Apple Watch Sport that starts out with Ive’s best, most memorable phrase: “raw aluminium of exceptional purity.” It’s pure magic — soak it in.

Rating: 5 / 5 aluminium ingots

Apple Watch (stainless steel) | 2014

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Here’s the equally indulgent video shot for the Apple Watch launch that’s specifically about the stainless steel version of the device. Only Ive could make a phrase like “known for its strength and corrosive resistance” feel somehow meditative. Unfortunately, he does not say the word aluminum once in this video.

Rating: 3 / 5 aluminium ingots

Apple Watch Edition (gold) | 2014

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And this Ive talking about the 18-karat gold version of the Apple Watch it stopped selling because it was so damn expensive. It’s great, but also not as great as the aluminium one. It does have Ive saying, “Each case is hand polished to an immaculate degree by highly-skilled jewelry artisans,” which is just an astounding series of words. Pay close attention to his pronunciation of the word “artisan.” It is intense.

Rating: 4 / 5 aluminium ingots

Apple 12-inch MacBook | 2015

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By 2015, Apple had pretty much nailed its product video approach, and Ive was indisputably the anchor to its hardware launch strategy. The 12-inch MacBook reveal is basically a best-of compilation of an Apple product video’s most crucial elements: Ive’s voice, but never his face; intense, swelling music alternating between classical and modern styles; unnecessarily technical talk about electromagnets; an absurdly detailed logic board composition animation. It doesn’t get more core Apple than this.

Rating: 5 / 5 aluminium ingots

Apple iPad Pro | 2016

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Looking back on this video, released in 2016 and pegged to a hardcover book on the company’s history titled Designed by Apple In California, it’s clear it provided Ive a rather succinct platform to describe both his approach to design and comment on Apple’s notoriously secretive culture.

When he says, “the best ideas can actually come from the quietest voice,” it really feels like Ive was reflecting on his career at Apple and perhaps even his relationship with the late Jobs, a man Ive has tirelessly defended from criticism and the person who gave Ive free reign to define Apple’s product philosophy. It’s a nice video, devoid of talk of aluminium, but well worth a watch now knowing he’s leaving.

Rating: 2 / 5 aluminium ingots

Apple iPhone X | 2017

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It’s impossible to imagine the reveal of the most drastic visual transformation of the iPhone in the product’s history without Ive’s narration. Unlike past iPhone videos, Ive is tasked with encompassing every standout feature of the phone in one sweeping speech.

He jumps from water resistance to Face ID and the camera to Animoji and onward to augmented reality. The music is dramatic, and the impossible camera angles surreal and awe-inspiring. It’s an Apple product video doing what it does best: making you want the thing onscreen, even though you probably don’t need it.

Rating: 4 / 5 aluminium ingots

Apple Watch Series 4 | 2018

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If the original Apple Watch Series 0 videos were Ive in his prime, then the Series 4 product reveal was his swan song. It’s the second-to-last product Ive would narrate, but the final one to make its debut during an Apple product launch event. It’s also the last video Ive narrates entirely by himself.

Soak in his description of the Apple Watch’s digital crown, and how one of “the most intricate mechanisms” Apple has ever created was “entirely reengineered.” We likely won’t get any more Ive poetry on watches, unless he and fellow designer and business partner Marc Newson design one at Ive’s new firm. (Which is totally likely, now that I think about it.)

Rating: 4 / 5 aluminium ingots

Apple Mac Pro | 2019

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The writing on the wall foretelling Ive’s departure could be seen earlier this month, if you looked hard enough. With the reveal of the Mac Pro, Ive was nowhere to be found, except in a product video Apple apparently shot and then decided to release only online. Even weirder is Ive shares the video with a disembodied voice of some other Apple employee who’s name you may not recognize: Dan Riccio, senior vice president of hardware engineering. There’s a lot of aluminum on display here, but not nearly enough aluminium. Farewell Jony, you’ll be missed.

Rating: 2 / 5 aluminium ingots

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