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Apple and designer Jonathan Ive star in German museum exhibit, book

September 6, 2011 | 12:38 pm

Ive

Apple has never made an entirely new electronic device.

Yet, the devices it has created from the iPod to the iPad are considered to be among the most innovative.

How to explain that? It's all in the design, a forthcoming book argues.

And design at Apple means Jonathan Ive. His first major product after Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997 was the iMac, which Jobs described as looking like  "it's from another planet." 

"And a good planet,"Jobs said. "A planet with better designers."

"Since then design at Apple functions as an economic factor and ranks as an overriding, unique selling point that enables Apple to stand out from the rest of the electronics industry," according to "Apple Design," set for release in November. "Since 2000, the devices have come to be distinguished by uniform design principles and consistently adhere to an individual design language. They owe their high recognition value to an intuitive consistency of form that is characterized by functional design and an innovative use of materials."

This scholarly attention to Apple's much-vaunted marriage of form and function led to "Stylectrical: On Electro-Design that Makes History," the first comprehensive exhibition of Apple products designed under Ive and his elite design team.

The exhibition recently opened at the Museum for Arts and Crafts in Hamburg, Germany, and runs through January. "Apple Design" is a companion book to the exhibition, which also features scholarly commentary and products influenced by Apple design: lamps that resemble iPods, tablet computers that are similar to the iPad, cutting boards in the shape of MacBooks. 

Ive is one of the world's top industrial designers. Now that Jobs has stepped down as chief executive, Apple will be counting on him to continue to deliver breakthrough designs. For more on Ive, check out my profile.

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-- Jessica Guynn

Photo: Apple's then-Chief Executive Steve Jobs talks about designer Jonathan 'Jony' Ive at a 2008 meeting in Cupertino, Calif. Photo credit: Paul Sakuma / Associated Press

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