Jonathan Ive gets gold Blue Peter badge

Watch presenter Barney Harwood present Sir Jonathan with the gold badge

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The BBC's Blue Peter programme has honoured Apple's design chief Sir Jonathan Ive with its highest accolade - the gold Blue Peter badge.

The British executive helped create the iMac and iPhone and, in October, took responsibility for the look and feel of the firm's software user interfaces.

Blue Peter said he was an "inspiration to children around the world".

He will appear in a gadget-themed special broadcast on Saturday, offering advice to the viewers.

In the pre-filmed segment he reviewed designs sent in by children and recalled how he had enjoyed watching one of Blue Peter's past presenters reuse a detergent bottle to create a paintbrush holder.

"I loved the way there was just products that you thought were no longer useful, but reusing them," he said. "It was fantastic."

Blue Peter has only presented about 1,000 gold badges in its history,

Other recipients include footballer David Beckham and author JK Rowling.

Sir Jonathan, known as Jony, described the news as "absolutely incredible".

He also presented the show with his own version of the Blue Peter badge made out of solid aluminium, manufactured by Apple's equipment, using the programme's catchphrase: "Here's one that we made earlier".

The award adds to a series of honours.

In May, Sir Jonathan was knighted at Buckingham Palace for his services to design and enterprise.

In September, he brought his entire design team to London to celebrate winning the best brand and design studio of the previous 50 years prize at the Design and Art Direction (D&AD) awards.

App redesign?

October's management shake-up at Apple means a lot is now riding on his shoulders.

After the firm's previous iOS software chief was ousted, it was announced Sir Jonathan would provide "leadership and direction for human interface across the company" in addition to being its industrial design boss.

There had been criticism that the firm's iOS operating system - which powers its iPhones and iPads - was in need of an overhaul to help it fend off competition from Google's Android and other rivals.

According to new figures from research firm IDC, 159.8 million Android-powered smartphones were shipped worldwide between October and December 2012, marking an 88% year-on-year gain.

By contrast, IDC suggests that 47.8 million iPhone were shipped over the same period - an annual gain of 29.2%.

In its analysis of the data, the consultancy said "what stands out is how iOS's year-over-year growth has slowed compared to the overall market".

It has been widely speculated that Sir Jonathan might now shift the Apple's software away from its reliance on "skeuomorphic" textures and effects - in other words stop trying to make its apps look like their real-world equivalents.

This might see an end, for instance, to it showing stitched leather borders and torn paper in its Calendar app and lined yellow legal paper in its Notes product.

Sir Jonathan's hardware designs have been praised for having a more minimalist approach.

However, it is unclear whether he will have had enough time in his new post to make such changes to Apple's next iOS and Mac OS X system revisions which are expected later this year.

Blue Peter's gadget special will be broadcast in the UK on the CBBC channel at 10:00 GMT on Saturday 16 February.

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