Arik Hesseldahl

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Will That Be Sir Jonathan, or Sir Jony?

Apple design guru Jonathan “Jony” Ive has been awarded a second knighthood by the Queen of England as part of her annual list of honors. Ive has been named Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, or KBE for short. When in England or any member of the British Commonwealth like Canada, he will be entitled to be addressed as Sir Jonathan.

Its his second honor from the Queen, who named him Commander of the British Empire, or CBE, in 2006. The new title will be conferred by the touch of a sword held by the Queen.

Interestingly, Ive is only one of two people being given this particular title this year, from the extensive list of other honors published in the London Gazette. (Ive’s name appears on page 24 of the announcement; there’s a PDF of that page here.) The other KBE recipient is the art historian John Patrick Richardson, who wrote a well regarded biography of Pablo Picasso.

The best profile of Ive that I know of is this 2006 BusinessWeek story by my former colleague Peter Burrows. It’s more than five years old, and so may be a bit dated, but it’s terrific.

The full announcement from the British Embassy is below.

Her Majesty the Queen honours Apple designer with knighthood

31 December 2011

Jonathan (Jony) Ive has been appointed by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II a Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE).

The honour, for the lead designer at Apple Inc. of products like the iPod and iPad, was part of the New Year 2012 Honours List and was in recognition of Jonathan Ive’s services to design and enterprise.

“I am keenly aware that I benefit from a wonderful tradition in the UK of designing and making,” said Jony Ive. “To be recognized with this honour is absolutely thrilling and I am both humbled and sincerely grateful.”

“I discovered at an early age that all I’ve ever wanted to do is design,” Ive added. ” I feel enormously fortunate that I continue to be able to design and make products with a truly remarkable group of people here at Apple.”

The British Consul General in San Francisco, Priya Guha, said she was “delighted that Jony Ive has been granted this exceptional honour by Her Majesty The Queen. Through his design of the iMac, iPod, iPhone and iPad, his work has transformed the lives of a generation of people, revolutionising the way people interact with technology. He epitomizes the strengths of British design and innovation.”

British Honours are bestowed on merit for exceptional achievement or service to British interests. This is the second royal honour for Ive, who was awarded a CBE (Commander of the British Empire) in 2006 for his achievements in British design and innovation. The current Knighthood recognises his work on raising design standards generally in consumer, industrial and professional goods and for his championing of British design.

Jonathan Ive becomes Sir Jonathan Ive, and the knighthood will be conferred by the touch of a sword by Her Majesty The Queen.

London-born designer Ive is the Senior Vice President of Industrial Design at Apple, reporting directly to the CEO. Since 1996, he has been responsible for leading a design team widely regarded as one of the world’s best.

Ive has demonstrated a life-long commitment to design. He has been recognized with numerous design awards including being named Designer of the Year by the Design Museum London and awarded the title Royal Designer for Industry by The Royal Society of Arts.

Ive holds honorary doctorates from The Royal College of Art, The University of Arts London, the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and Northumbria University (Newcastle Polytechnic) where he also received his Bachelor of Arts degree. He holds 596 design and utility patents in his name.

After graduating in 1989, he co-founded the London design agency Tangerine, where he designed everything from washbasins to televisions. In 1992, he moved to Apple and, after the return of Steve Jobs in 1997, became Senior Vice President of Industrial Design, designing the first iMac in 1998, its progressively sleeker successors, and then the iPod, iPhone and iPad.

The Queen chooses the recipients of Honours on the advice of the Prime Minister and other relevant ministers, to whom recommendations are made by their departments or members of the public. Private nominations–those made by individuals or by representatives of organisations to the Prime Minister’s Office–can also be made and account for about a quarter of all recommendations.

(Image is a screen grab from this Apple video on the MacBook Air.)


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus