“Deviceful” – Wonderful word. I discovered it serendipitously in a thesaurus search for “creative” – An interesting story of the way words evolve, a Middle English word that’s out of common use now. I came across the word about the same time the iPad was launched and it seemed fitting for the occasion.
I’m interested in the human element of the iPad story, especially talk about Apple Head Steve Jobs and Designer Jonathan Ive. Jobs, of course, was the center of media attention, with dozens of articles focusing on him. But the younger Ive also got mentioned a fair amount. Since about 2006, he’s been suggested as a possible successor to Jobs as Apple CEO, and with the iPad being the first big Apple Media Hype since Jobs health-related leave-of-absence in 2009, this talk is becoming more voluble.
Invariably described as a quite, behind-the-scenes sort of personality, Ive’s award-winning designs are widely recognized as being central to Apple’s success. One little-reported episode stands out as a tantalizing “what if” story — How different our world might be if Ive hadn’t been a failure as a designer of toilets! …
One day in 1992 a then-struggling Apple hired Tangerine [the small London-based consultancy where Ive worked] to toss around a few ideas for the emerging portable computer market. Ive took on the project while he was designing a new range of bathroom appliances for Hull-based Ideal Standard. On a grey afternoon he drove to Hull to present a new toilet to Ideal Standard. … Ive’s designs were rejected. Shortly afterwards Ive went to the US to present the new laptop to Apple. The firm liked his ideas so much they offered him a job … It wasn’t until Steve Jobs returned to take charge in 1997 that Ive’s career took off. Former Tangerine colleague, Peter Phillips, recalls: ‘Jobs realised he had a jewel in Jonathan.
Another interesting tidbit on Jobs and Ive, that I haven’t seen discussed — They both have important “outside America” connections in their background — Ive, of course, is native to Britain. What’s not so well known is that Steve Jobs biological father was a native of Syria. Our debt to the World is striking.
Eric Rumsey is at: eric-rumsey AttSign uiowa dott edu and on Twitter @ericrumsey