Jony Ive and Apple design

Lab Reports, Timelines


Apple is a technology giant with global influence. Jony Ive worked at Apple for nearly 30 years and he is Apple’s Chief Design Officer (CDO). If Steve Jobs is the man who gave the soul of Apple, then Ive shaped Apple’s body. Just last year, as soon as the news of Ive’s departure came out, it became big news in the entire design field and even Apple stock fell as much as 1.4%. This timeline summarizes Apple’s milestone products that Ive participated in. It can be said that Ive’s personal achievement is actually Apple’s glorious history.

It is pretty interesting to present a company’s products in the timeline, especially such a well-known brand like Apple. It may make you recall how Apple’s design has changed our life step by step. Let’s take a look at how Ive and Apple products reshaped the world in the past 20 more years.

Link to the timeline presentation


The data and details of related products mostly come from “Timeline of Apple Inc. products” of Wikipedia. For the selection of milestone products, I refer to some articles about Ive and apple products design. Most of the products are the first generation of different series and some innovations that change user behavior or the way of thinking.

The tool used in this report is TimelinesJS, an open source application provided by Knight Lab. TimelinesJS’s official website provides a detailed tutorial. First, open the Google Sheets link in the first step and fill in the data following the guidance on the top line. Column A-H can input the time of each event to generate the timeline, and the data will be shown on the presentation automatically.  Column J-O is used to fill in the main content, including the title, brief description, and related pictures and videos, as well as the annotations for these materials. Column P-R can set basic page display styles, as shown below.

After completing the sheet, you can click the “Publish to the Web…” option under file, as shown in step 2. Then paste the Google spreadsheet URL to the blank in step 3. Finally, you can click “preview” in step 4, to see the preview of the timeline or get the timeline share link.


Following the method above, a simple and understandable timeline could be generated, clicking the label on the timeline to read the details. You can see that, Ive joined Apple in 1992 and made great contributions to product design, user experience design, and even Apple Park design. The product design he involved in include iMac, PowerBook, iPod, iPhone, iPad, MacBook, and other major Apple products. 

In terms of UX, flat design, which we are now familiar with, was controversial when it first came out and replaced skeuomorphism design. However, Ive’s foresight of design and the deep understanding of users made the right decisions once again that lead Apple to success.

It can be said that Ive is integral to the successes of Apple, and his design talent is also extremely appreciated by Jobs. Even though the last page is “IVE LEFT APPLE”,  but it’s more like they change the way of cooperation, from Ive was Apple’s important designer to Apple is Ive’s the biggest client.  Ive still have a huge effect on Apple product design.


In summary, I found that the breakthrough innovations in Ive and Apple’s products are far greater than our impressions. Good product and UX design not only can win the market or business competition but also can change user behavior, notion, or even the way people live. As an IXD student with the industrial design background, both Apple design or Ive’s thoughts, are worth my time to study deeper. It is also a good choice to present the evolution of different products separately in the form of the timeline. Then you can see what improvements the product has in each evolution clearly.

In the future, when 5G, the next-generation communication technology, become mature gradually, our existing products and communication methods perhaps will be subverted again. Technology brings new demands and markets, which means new products and UX also need to be designed, for AR, VR or IoT. The history of Apple products evolution and Ive’s core design concepts will provide us with an important reference for future design challenges.


Timeline of Apple Inc. products
Jony Ive is leaving Apple: 15 of his most iconic products and designs
Linzmayer, O. W. (2004). Apple confidential 2.0: The definitive history of the world’s most colorful company. No starch press, 294-303
Bollini, L. (2016). From Skeuomorphism to Material Design and back. The language of colours in the 2nd generation of mobile interface design. Colour and colorimetry. Multidisciplinary contributions, 12, 309-320.