Apple’s chief designer Jonathan Ive has been appointed a Knight Commander of the British Empire (KBE) in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list.
Ive said he was "both humbled and sincerely grateful" for the award for services to design, and said the news was "absolutely thrilling." He told the BBC: "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."
The award, which will allow him to call himself Sir Jonathan, will be bestowed personally on Ive by the Queen at a later date. In days of yore a prospective knight would have to undergo fasting, purification and prayer before receiving the honour, but these days Ive will merely need to be tapped on the shoulders by the Queen wielding a sword.
Ive was born in Chingford, Essex, in 1967, the son of a silversmith, and studied industrial design at Northumbria Polytechnic. After a brief spell in business he started up his own design agency and was hired by Apple after showing them a prototype design for one of their products. His subsequent designs for the iMac, iPod, iPhone and iPad have made Apple one of the most valuable companies in the world, and Ive probably the most highly-paid designer on the planet.
He was initially frustrated by Apple, but when Steve Jobs returned to the head of the company the two formed a strong bond. Jobs described Ive as his "spiritual partner," according to Walter Isaacson’s recent biography, but didn’t let that stop him taking credit for some of Ive’s designs, to the latter’s great annoyance.
Ive remains with Apple for the moment, living in San Francisco, but there are persistent rumors that he is keen to make a return to the land of his birth. The Queen’s honour may be an added inducement for Sir Jonathan to return home. ®