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After Jony Ive leaves Apple, these are the products he should redesign next

He is having a David Letterman moment and I can't wait to see what his "Netflix show" will be like -- literally and figuratively.

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Jony Ive (left) opening his glasses while holding an iPad Pro.

James Martin/CNET

When Apple announced on Thursday that Jony Ive was leaving the company, I immediately thought back to when David Letterman retired from his Late Show in May 2015. After walking away to spend more time with his family, Letterman launched another talk show three and a half years later called My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman. It premiered on Netflix with a vastly different format and allowed us to see Letterman and his talent in a completely different light. While I don't think Ive will grow a giant prospector beard like Letterman did (though how awesome would that be), I am excited to see how he'll apply his talent to a slew of new products and designs outside of the Apple-sphere.

Ive and fellow designer Marc Newsom, who in 2013 designed high-end one-of-a-kind products for charity including an aluminum Leica camera, are forming their own design firm called LoveFrom. According to Ive, the company gets its name from an address Steve Jobs gave at an Apple employee meeting.

He became an industrial design legend with the Apple products he worked on like the iPhone, the original iMac and the Apple Watch. And who knows what products and projects are in the works that we haven't seen yet from him -- augmented reality glasses, anyone? Though Apple will be a client of LoveFrom, Ive will work independently from the tech giant possibly as early as 2020. With this move, it's fascinating to ponder what products he might redesign next and how that could give him a late-career renaissance and further embolden him as a design icon.

LG TV designed by Jony Ive

Since LoveFrom isn't a part of Apple, he could potentially work with any company. I honestly don't think there will be an LG G9 phone designed by Ive or a Galaxy S11. But there are several electronics projects that Apple was rumored to make that never materialized.

The most obvious example is an Apple television set. Perhaps LoveFrom might partner with LG or Sharp for a high-end TV. Ive and LG already have a history of collaborating when they worked together on the LG UltraFine 4K display.

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An Ive TV would be an epic product of industrial design. LG makes the thinnest TV to date, but I'm sure Ive would find a way to make it even thinner and lighter. I can already imagine a ceramic remote with a single button that controls everything.

Newsom, Ive and Dieter Rams walk into a bar

It's been long known that Ive was inspired by the famous industrial Braun designer Dieter Rams. Leaving Apple will give LoveFrom the chance to interpret classic housewares that Braun made like clocks, speakers and kitchen appliances. My head can barely wrap itself around what a Jony Ive toaster might look like. It would probably have one thin slot for bread and a long digital toggle I'd have to slide my finger down to lower the bread.

At Apple, Ive's best designs came under his collaborations with Jobs kind of like how Lennon and McCartney wrote their best songs when they were in The Beatles. Obviously with Jobs' passing, Ive not only lost a close friend, but also a creative balance to his work. But one possible design-nerd fantasy would be for Rams to work on a project with LoveFrom. It would be the design equivalent of when rockstars from different bands come together to form a supergroup. However, I'm sure whatever product they came up with would be leaps and bounds better than the best song from any supergroup. OK, Cream's song White Room is absolutely the best. But this kind of collaboration could put the spring back into Ive's design process.

Jony Ive's Marie Kondo show

While not as sexy as an iPhone XS, I could see Ive having his own Netflix show like Marie Kondo's. Instead of visiting everyday people, he would show up at various maker spaces and design studios to lend a hand tweaking CNC machined cutouts and simplifying overcomplicated designs.

Kondo is known for having people go through their belongings and ask whether items "spark joy." Ive could challenge designers on whether their projects, "spark magic." And honestly, the name of his new company is the perfect title for a Netflix show: LoveFrom Jony Ive. In a close second place would be the title: Sir Jonathan.

Weird products that deserve a Jony Ive hosted intro video

Perhaps what I'm looking forward to the most is seeing more product videos that feature Ive, like the ones he did for Apple while overusing words like "simple" and "magic." I genuinely have so much love for these videos because he is so sincere and passionate about the smallest details. 

Here are a handful of other products I'd love to hear him talk about in similar videos. Remember to read all of these with Ive's voice in mind:

  • Toilet - "Every flush is the first flush. Our toilet uses evaporation and condensation to create water anew and refill the bowl as if it were the first time it was used."
  • Karaoke machine: "I've designed the perfect karaoke machine. It only plays U2's Desire."
  • Traffic light with only two colors - "Three colors are one too many. Life doesn't give us a yellow light when it's about to stop so why should a traffic light?"
  • Cuckoo clock - "Cuckoo clocks needed a revolution. I've done away with the bird all together and replaced it with a slab of hand polished petrified wood."
  • Q-Tips - "We've known for years that people put these into their ears. Now they are designed with a patented curve to follow your ear canal more accurately. No more bending and twisting. I call them AirPods... er, I mean Q-Pods."
  • Men's clothing line - "Men's basics aren't that basic. I completely redesigned underwear so there are no holes except for your legs. It's a simpler and more durable approach."
  • Women's clothing line - "Bra straps were designed a hundred years ago. I knew we could do better. Using a combination of rare Earth magnets and spider silk, we have truly re-envisioned the bra."
  • Tap shoes - "Each step is a note, each stride a bar. Taps have been re-engineered to be thinner, lighter and more tappy."
  • Titanium soda can - "This $826 dollar titanium soda can will provide you with the smoothest sips of carbonated water and aspartame. Each can is ten times stronger than aluminium but also four times lighter. A 4pack will feel like you're carrying a single regular can."
  • Oreo - "Two cookies are far too complicated. One is all you need. And we got rid of the cream too because it just gets in the way of the cookie."

Jony Ive dark roast coffee

Ive could also go in another direction stepping away from electronics altogether. For instance, he could start working with only organic materials including food and coffee. Similar to how famous artists have various aesthetic periods, Ive would have his "Organic Phase." He would live a Nick Offerman-esque life, woodworking and dispensing folksy design parables while building his own hand tools.

And if he ever does jump into food, I don't imagine him going the Nathan Myhrvold from Microsoft route and publishing a super expensive book about molecular gastronomy. Though going from a design chief to a design chef would be quite the unexpected turn. Instead, I could easily see him designing his own coffee where every bean is exactly the same size and shape. And since beans have natural curves, Ive would find a way to grow the edges perfectly square like those square watermelons. He would join the ranks of celebrity coffee roasters Danny Trejo and David Lynch. Seriously, I would buy Jony Ive coffee beans in a heartbeat.

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