Apple’s stars with all eyes on design

The resignation of Apple founder and chief executive Steve Jobs will not just place more attention on his successor Tim Cook, but on other members of an all-star team.

Mr Cook has been running Apple since January, and former colleagues said he depends on a cast that includes hardware designer Jonathan Ive, who is perhaps the closest in artistic vision to Mr Jobs.

Marketing chief Phil Schiller will also play a greater role. Both the retail operation and software teams are in transition, with the resignations this year of Apple stores chief Ron Johnson and Mac OSX head Bertrand Serlet.

British-born Mr Ive is considered a design genius, responsible for the pared-down lines of the iPod, iPhone and iPad. Born in Chingford, Essex, Mr Ive started his career with Apple in 1992. He spent years in Cupertino in relative obscurity before Mr Jobs returned in 1997 and adopted his designs for the coloured, translucent iMacs launched the following year.

As senior vice-president of industrial design at Apple since 2006, he reports directly to Mr Jobs.

Known for a passionate attention to detail, the 44-year-old Mr Ive is said to have spent time at a sweet factory while developing the distinctive early iMac look. Designing the ultra-thin iPad 2, he is thought said to have sought inspiration from watching the forging of samurai swords in Japan.

Like Mr Jobs, Mr Ive rarely gives interviews and works with his teams in locked offices, apart from even other Apple employees. He has 300 patents to his name, and speculation this year that he could leave Apple caused consternation.

Mr Ive was recently awarded $25m in Apple shares as part of an incentive scheme, bringing his personal fortune to an estimated $130m. In 2005 he was made Commander of the British Empire by the Queen, in recognition for his work in designing the iPod.

Mr Ive is married with twin sons and has homes in both San Francisco and Somerset in the UK.

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