10 Most Noteworthy Jony Ive Apple Designs

It’s difficult, if not impossible, to think of Apple without thinking about Steve Jobs. And it’s just as difficult to look at Apple’s products without thinking about Jony Ive.

Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

(Image credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Promoted to Apple’s senior vice president of industrial design 22 years ago, Ive has put his unique stamp on every noteworthy product coming out of Cupertino in the last two-plus decades, from Apple’s all-in-one desktops all the way to its more recent mobile accessories. But some designs stand out more than others. With Ive leaving his current post as Chief Design Officer at Apple, here are the products that best reflect the visual style and substance he’s brought to the company over the years.

MacBook Air (2008)

It was an unforgettable moment in Apple history: Apple CEO Steve Jobs pulled the MacBook Air out of a manila envelope at an event on-stage to show off how thin the company’s newest laptop was. That ultra-slim notebook design was the work of Ive. The MacBook Air is no longer as beloved as it once was, as its keyboard has evolved (or devolved), but the original remains a classic. Caitlin McGarry

Original iMac (iMac G3) (1998)

Credit: Cineberg/Shutterstock

(Image credit: Cineberg/Shutterstock)

Ive single-handedly made personal computers fun again with the launch of the iMac G3 and its signature Bondi Blue shell. No other computer-maker was experimenting with color the way Apple did, and while we might laugh at how bulky the G3 seems now compared to a svelte modern iMac, we also kind of wish we could still buy a colorful, translucent computer. Caitlin McGarry

iMac G4 (2002)

The iMac G4 was iconic in its own right, with an adjustable monitor attached to a circular base that could swivel like a desk lamp. The base was where everything was plugged in, so you could easily maneuver the display around to show coworkers without whipping cords around. This is one of Ive’s underappreciated designs. Caitlin McGarry

Click-Wheel iPod (2001)

Credit: Distinctive Shots/Shutterstock

(Image credit: Distinctive Shots/Shutterstock)

If the original iMac was the product that helped Apple reverse course from irrelevant ‘90s has-been to a company that still had a trick or two up its sleeve, the iPod was the device that ushered in the 21st century boom times. One of the big reasons why was that eye-catching click wheel, a design so recognizable that it became part of Apple’s iconography. The capacitive click wheel Apple introduced in subsequent iPod designs was easily the pinnacle of this look, but let’s not forget the original iPod and its spinning wheel for launching this distinctive look. — Philip Michaels

iPad (2010)

Steve Jobs liked to say that a person was fortunate if they could be involved with at least one game-changing product. The iPad is the fourth such product Apple can claim, and it’s another one that benefits heavily from Ive’s design touch. Highlights include the same touch interface popularized by the iPhone along with the bare minimum of physicals buttons that came to characterize Ive’s designs in the back-half of his Apple stint. Apple has experimented with different iPad forms from the thinness of the iPad Air to the compact design of the iPad mini, but every tablet Apple has rolled out over the past decade is a testament to Ive’s Less-Is-More approach. — Philip Michaels

Mac Pro (2019)

Credit: Tom's Guide

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

This may be one of the last big product releases that Ive has a hand in — at least, as an Apple employee and not as an independent designer — and if so, it’s a welcome return to form. The 2013 Mac Pro featured a bold cylindrical design that proved to be utterly impractical if you wanted to keep your hardware up to date. That shouldn’t be a problem with the latest Mac Pro, which places an emphasis on upgradability while also adding the visual flourishes — dig that cheese grater-style lattice on the front of the machine — that we’d expect from Apple. — Philip Michaels

AirPort Base Station (1999)

Who says that routers need to be bland boxes tucked away out of view? Apple’s first foray into wireless networking was the AirPort Base Station, which looked less like a boxy router and more like a flying saucer out of a 1950s B-movie. Subsequent AirPort ditched the original’s silver coloring for a more stately white, and Apple eventually phased out the UFO look in favor of a more traditional set-top box (one that eventually informed the Apple TV’s design). But that first base station really underscored Apple’s reputation as a company that wasn’t afraid to shake up the look of even the most utilitarian of products.— Philip Michaels

iPhone (2007)

The iPhone is Ive’s piece de resistance — his crowning achievement (so far) in a lengthy, successful career. Much has been written about Ive’s collaboration with Apple CEO Steve Jobs to create the iPhone, which was like nothing else before it, and rightly so. No other product this century has so changed the lives of consumers, and Ive is responsible for that. Caitlin McGarry

Apple Watch (2015)

Credit: Tom's Guide

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Ive, a collector of classic timepieces, married the rounded off edges of an iPhone with a Digital Crown, a nod to Swiss watches. The combination allows you to swipe away on your wrist, just like you would on an iPhone, but also scroll through and select items using the familiar crown. The squared-off circle design is polarizing for some, but the Apple Watch is the best-selling smartwatch on the market now that Apple has found its footing with a focus on health and fitness. Caitlin McGarry

AirPods (2016)

The plastic white stem design Ive chose for Apple’s first completely wireless earbuds was widely mocked — as was the AirPod case’s floss-like look — until everyone started buying them. At first we thought AirPods were popular despite their design, but now it’s clear that the look has become aspirational. AirPods are a cultural touchstone and Ive’s laughing all the way to the bank. Caitlin McGarry