After nearly 30 years at Apple, Jony Ive is leaving the Cupertino tech giant to form his own company. While Ive will continue to work with Apple on special projects, it’s safe to say that his departure will mark the end of an era for the firm.
Best ✅ The iPhone
If there's one Ive design that had a major and lasting impact on the technology industry, it’s likely the iPhone. The very first iPhone was pretty much the only device in its category when it launched — and it isn’t a stretch to say that it spawned the birth of the smartphone industry as we know it today.
Speaking of today, the iPhone is still a magnificent piece of design. Just take a look at the iPhone X. While the notch has its critics, Apple’s OLED iPhones are clean and intuitive in a way that’s hard to beat. As
Worst 🚫 The iPhone 5c
While the iPhone itself is iconic, that doesn’t mean that every iPhone iteration is successful. The iPhone 5c stands out as an example of that. While it was obviously made to be a budget-friendly alternative to Apple’s more premium models, there’s likely a reason why Apple eventually discontinued the design.
Making a product out of plastic seems very unlike Apple as we know it today. And yet, the iPhone 5c was clad in a colorful plastic shell that made it appear more like a toy than a serious smartphone. And while it was quite a bit cheaper, it still felt somewhat overpriced for its form factor and its capabilities compared to the premimum iPhone 5s.
Best ✅ iMac G3
The very first iMac, also known as the iMac G3, certainly looks like a computer from a completely different era. But the fact that the iMac G3 contributed heavily to Apple’s turnaround from the verge of bankruptcy to consumer success in the late 1990s warrants its inclusion on this list.
While the iMac G3’s design was spearheaded by Danny Coster, Jonathan Ive played a major role in the development of the computer. Apple even highlighted Ive’s role in the company’s “revival,” and specifically mentioned the original iMac, in its press release announcing the industrial designer’s departure.
Worst 🚫 The 2013 Mac Pro
The “trashcan” Mac Pro from 2013 is likely one of the reasons why Apple’s professional Mac users have felt abandoned in recent years. Among longtime Mac fans, there probably isn’t a Macintosh design that’s as loathed as the trashcan.
To be clear, some people actually like the 2013 Mac Pro’s design — and its performance wasn’t anything to scoff at. But the machine basically lacked any support for internal or external expansion. That’s something that many pro-level users found completely unacceptable (and something that Apple has addressed with the 2019 Mac Pro).
Best ✅ Apple Watch
If the sign of a well-designed product is how it can benefit people, the Apple Watch may just take the cake for one of Jony Ive’s most helpful designs. While designing the Apple Watch reportedly took its toll on the industrial designer, it’s perhaps the only Apple product that routinely helps save lives.
But the Apple Watch doesn’t just help save lives — it’s also aimed at helping users improve their overall health and wellbeing. For a wearable product that integrates extremely easily into an owner’s existing lifestyle, that’s a pretty big deal.
Worst 🚫 The Magic Mouse 2
When it comes to computer mouses, Apple has had some major misses over the years (the Hockey Puck mouse from the 90s, for example). But the Magic Mouse 2 deserves a special mention because it’s an otherwise well-designed product with a single, almost deal-breaking flaw.
Basically, the Magic Mouse 2’s charging port is on the bottom of the pointing device. That means a user needs to lay the mouse on its side to charge it. That may not seem like such a big deal, but it means that you simply can’t charge the mouse and actually use it at the same time. That’s kind of a huge design oversight.
Best ✅ The Original iPod
The iPod was far from the first MP3 player on the market when it debuted back in 2001. But it may just be one of the most well-loved and well-received music devices in recent history. It also likely helped to cement Apple’s reputation as a popular consumer electronics company.
The very first iPod’s design was groundbreaking at the time, with a minimalist aesthetic and a clever click wheel that made navigating the small display a breeze. While Apple no longer sells any iPods with a click wheel, that overall design is about as iconic and lasting as they come.
Worst 🚫 Third-Gen iPod shuffle
Apple has made quite a few iPods over the years with differing control schemes and user interfaces. The tiny iPod shuffle was unique because, despite not having any sort of display, it was still fairly easy to navigate your digital music library.
That all changed with the third-generation iPod shuffle. It shared a similar design to past
Best ✅ iOS 7
While Ive is perhaps best known for his physical product work, the industrial designer also played a major role in how Apple’s software was designed. If you need any indication of that, just look at the iOS 7 update from 2013 — which was the first major refresh of iOS after Ive took over as lead of both hardware and software design.
iOS 7 did away with the charming-but-dated skeuomorphism of previous versions and replaced it with a clean, minimal and easy-to-navigate aesthetic that has remained to this day. At the time of launch, Ive said that “true simplicity is derived from so much more than just the absence of clutter and ornamentation; it’s about bringing order to complexity.”
Worst 🚫 The First-Gen Apple Pencil
Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was famously anti-stylus. But the Cupertino tech giant seemingly changed its tune (at least with its tablets) with the introduction of the Apple Pencil. But while the first-generation Apple stylus added new capabilities to the iPad, it certainly wasn’t the cleanest design.
For one, there’s no way to attach the original Apple Pencil, which Apple still sells, to an iPad. The stylus also needs to be charged in a fairly awkward way — by plugging its Lightning port into an iPad itself. Luckily, these are both downsides that Apple obviously fixed with the second-generation Apple Pencil and the new iPad Pro lineup.
Best ✅ Apple Park
Jony Ive didn’t just have a hand in designing Apple’s software and hardware, he also helped design Apple’s current headquarters. While Apple Park was primarily spearheaded by architect Norman Foster and his company, Ive still played a major roll in the spaceship campus’s overall design.
Apple Park is a sprawling 2.8 million square foot building that houses more than 10,000 employees. It also features plenty of immaculate landscaping, a theater named after Steve Jobs, and the ability to evolve with Apple itself. In an interview with Wallpaper,