Apple design chief Jonathan Ive is knighted

Sir Jonathan Ive: video courtesy British Ceremonial Arts

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Jonathan Ive - the British designer responsible for Apple's iMac, iPod, iPhone and iPad - has been knighted at Buckingham Palace.

The 45-year-old said the investiture in front of the Princess Royal was "really thrilling and particularly humbling".

Now based in the US, Apple's senior vice-president of industrial design flew in to the UK with his wife and eight-year-old twin sons for the event.

He was born in Chingford, east London, and studied at Newcastle Polytechnic.

Sir Jonathan had a brief chat with Princess Anne and later revealed they had talked about how often he comes back to the UK while she spoke of her iPad.

He was made a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) in the New Year Honours list for services to design and enterprise.

After graduating from Newcastle Polytechnic - now Northumbria University - Sir Jonathan began working as a commercial designer before founding design agency Tangerine with three friends.

Apple iMac G3 The "Bondi blue" iMac G3 was launched in 1998

One of the agency's clients, Apple, was so impressed with his work it took him on as a full-time employee in 1992.

Sir Jonathan, who now lives in San Francisco, has led the Apple design team since 1996.

He was described by Steve Jobs as his "spiritual partner", according to the late Apple co-founder's biographer Walter Isaacson.

His eye for design, combined with Mr Jobs' attention to detail, has helped to turn Apple into one of the biggest technology companies in the world.

Over the past 15 years, the company has created a series of products which are all considered to be design classics.

They include the iMac G3 - the "Bondi blue" computer launched in 1998 - and the iPod, released in 2001, which helped to revolutionise the music industry.

Earlier, in a rare interview, Sir Jonathan told the Daily Telegraph he was "the product of a very British design education".

Jonathan Ive with his Knight Commander medal Sir Jonathan has led Apple's design team since 1996

He said that, "even in high school, I was keenly aware of this remarkable tradition that the UK had of designing and making".

"It's important to remember that Britain was the first country to industrialize, so I think there's a strong argument to say this is where my profession was founded."

"We try to develop products that seem somehow inevitable, that leave you with the sense that that's the only possible solution that makes sense," Sir Jonathan told the Telegraph.

Sir Jonathan said Apple products were tools "and we don't want design to get in the way".

He was made a Commander of Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2005.

Other figures honoured by Princess Anne on Wednesday included Sir Peter Bazalgette, 59, of Endemol - the TV company behind Big Brother - who was knighted for services to broadcasting.

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