Apple design whizz Sir Jony Ive helped to raise $26m at a massive charity auction for AIDS research.
The Sotheby's gala – co-sponsored by U2 rock star Bono and attended by actress Meg Ryan, guitarist the Edge, Chelsea Clinton and chef Mario Batali among others – flogged stuff either designed or customized by Sir Jony and designer Marc Newson.
The big-ticket event sold off a Steinway piano, Leica digital camera and a Fiat car, each bright red in the style of the AIDS-battling charity (RED)'s cherry-colored branding. Each item drew hundreds of thousands of dollars in bids from the moneyed attendees.
Many of the most eye-popping donations, however, were bids for Apple (RED)-themed products designed and customized by Sir Jony himself. The British-born guru was able to bring the AIDS charity a $977,000 check by selling off a red-cased Mac Pro.
The new cylinder-shaped tower, set to hit the shelves next month, will likely be priced about $3,000 base.
Apple has had a long history with the (RED) charity: the fruity company touts a number of (RED)-branded iPods as well as custom cases for its iPhone and iPad lines; money from sales of this cherry-flavored gear is donated to the Bono-co-founded charity. Last month, Apple CEO Tim Cook cited the AIDS charity work Apple was contributing towards as emblematic of the company's desire to be a "force for good in world."
Other Sir-Jony-tuned Apple products sold in last week's auction included a set of rose-gold plated Apple earbud headphones that fetched $461,000. An Ive-Newson-designed aluminum desk sold for nearly $1.7m, while the custom Steinway grand piano fetched $1.92m.
In total, the sale managed to raise $13m for the Bono-backed AIDS research and treatment charity. The figure was then doubled by a matching donation from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
"The collection they put together should've been in a museum but instead they sold it off to buy medicines for those who can't afford them but whose lives depend on them," said Bono of the contributions from Ive and Newson.
"The money raised is a lifeline, literally, for so many people, but nights like this also serve as a reminder of the historical opportunity we have to end AIDS." ®