But now the designer who spearheaded iconic designs like the iMac G3, the iPod and the Apple Watch has unveiled the first hardware he’s had a hand in since leaving Apple: a $60,000 turntable for British audiophile brand Linn.
The limited edition hardware is to celebrate the 50th birthday of the company’s Sondek LP12 turntable, and just 250 will be produced.
If you’re familiar with the original, you may wonder what Ive’s involvement is exactly, as the two certainly look very similar indeed. That’s partly because a 50th-anniversary product can’t stray too far from the original design without losing its point, but also because the turntable’s central architecture couldn’t be altered without affecting its signature sound.
But Ive’s love of curves is present with squared-off components swapped out for smoother corners. There’s also a circular aluminium power button in place of the old plastic rocker, and LoveFrom developed a custom hinge to allow the dust cover to remain open at any angle.
To be clear, the $60,000 price tag has nothing to do with Ive or Lovefrom, and indeed the company won’t directly benefit from any sales. In an interview with Fast Company, Ive revealed that the work was done pro bono without a contract.
“There are many things that I’ve always wanted to be able to do purely for the love of doing them,” Ive said. “And there’s a substantial percentage of our work which we do purely for the love of doing it.”
Ive considers himself a fan of Linn, and fondly recalls visiting the company’s factory decades ago. “I’ve owned multiple Linn products over the years, and music has always been profoundly important to me,” he said.
“So you can imagine, I think the first consequential music player that I designed was the first iPod, and that began a journey of multiple generations of iPod, and multiple Airpods and music accessories. I feel really fortunate to have gone the full circle . . . so many years on from my first visit to the factory.”
That circle almost wasn’t completed. Linn’s CEO Gilad Tiefenbrun initially didn’t take Ive’s approach seriously, understandably mistaking a LinkedIn approach from someone purporting to be Ive’s personal assistant for a scam.
“Of course, I deleted it immediately believing it was spam,” he wrote in a blog post explaining the collaboration. “However, as the day continued, I had this nagging feeling building in my stomach. Suddenly the feeling crystallised into a thought: What if it actually is Sir Jony Ive?”
He was able to retrieve the deleted message from the depths of LinkedIn’s trash, arranged a meeting and the rest is history.
If you want to be one of the 250 owners of the Linn Sondek LP12-50, and have the funds to make that dream a reality, you can expect delivery between August 2023 and March 2024.