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Jonathan Ive: Apple's current work is 'most important' yet

Apple's senior vice president for industrial design doesn't say which products his team is working on at the moment, but he does say they're awfully significant.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read
Sir Jony
Sir Jony Apple

Jonathan Ive, Apple's senior vice president of industrial design, won't say what his company is working on, but he believes it's extremely important.

Speaking in a sprawling interview published today by the Daily Telegraph, Ive couldn't decide which Apple product he'd most like linked to him. He told the Telegraph that choosing a device with knowledge of Apple's future product launches just isn't so easy.

"It's a really tough one," said Ive, who was knighted today in the U.K. "A lot does seem to come back to the fact that what we're working on now feels like the most important and the best work we've done, and so it would be what we're working on right now, which of course I can't tell you about."

Speculation abounds over what Ive might have been talking about. Is it the long-rumored iPhone 5, which according to the latest reports, comes with a taller display and a few design improvements to differentiate it from its predecessor, the iPhone 4S? Or is it the highly sought-after Apple television -- the device that Steve Jobs said last year, he had finally "cracked" the code on?

Ive has certainly been no stranger to big launches. His design ideas have played an integral role in nearly every Apple product since 1996. According to many reports, Ive was Jobs' trusted partner on design. Even Jobs himself acknowledged last year the unique role "Jony" has played at Apple.

"He understands what we do at our core better than anyone," Jobs told his biographer Walter Isaacson. "If I had a spiritual partner at Apple, it's Jony."

Ive and Jobs shared a similar view on design. In fact, according to Ive, it's just as important to him as it was Jobs to design everything on down to the "back of the drawer."

"It's the 'finishing the back of the drawer' -- you can argue that people will never see it and it's very hard to, in any rational sense, describe why it's important but it just seems important," Ive told the Telegraph. "It's a way that you demonstrate that you care for the people that you are making these products for. I think we see ourselves as having a civic responsibility to do that. It's important. It's right. It's very hard to explain why."

Ive's contributions to design certainly haven't gone unnoticed. Earlier today, Ive was knighted, officially making him "Sir" and giving him the title of Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. The honor was bestowed on Ive "for services to design and enterprise."