Jony Ive's Voice

Apple today's got nothing on Jony in his heyday.

Jony Ive's Voice

What made Apple... Apple?

Obviously Steve Jobs' vision.

But let's not forget Jony Ive's voice.

Don't believe me?

Soak in that beautiful baritone.


Few people in technology changed the imagination around tech the way he did.

Jobs sketched the future, Ive spoke it.

Reframing the language around computers; from boxes to chassis, and enclosures, comparing a laptop to an Aston Martin. Talking about computers in terms of serious engineering. Selling us $1,000 phones as jewellery.

And all in that relaxed, neutrally British timbre; ageless, classless, inviting, and yet effortlessly detached.

He spoke, the syllables pulled money out of my pocket.

The poetry of commerce.


The magic of Ive's voice lies between content that over-claims and a tone that undersells.

The Italians call it sprezzatura: a studied carelessness that downplays effort.

No matter how imaginative and painstaking the process he described, Ive always sounded relaxed - a gift that let him make the ridiculous seem restrained.

He could tell us a new type of keyboard would 'redefine what's possible' and sound only a little goofy (spoiler: it didn't).

It let him resolve absurdities - like trying to sell a phone that was unapologetically plastic after years of praising glorious aluminium.

And he could inspire, regardless of whether the object of his affection was actually inspiring.

Making the peak of his skill this: the design story of the iPhone 7.

Here, the gap between the brilliance of the sell and the flaws of the execution was at its most pronounced. The iPhone 7 was a passable refresh to a device that was a refinement of the past, not a vision of the future; the more revolutionary X was already in the barrel, and despite the storytelling of the 7's high-gloss polishing process, the device itself - like all 'piano black' surfaces - scratched instantly.

Tim Cook was smart enough to wheel out the big guns for this one: Jony Ive hype.

Looking through the hits, it was hardly the first time.


Since Jony left Apple, that magic feels forced.

Apple today pushes services through ecosystem bait; feigns environmental concern to save money; courts obsession with privacy to fight Facebook.

The announcements are well-hewn lists of features, waiting for applause.

A design pulse beats in every product, but that's all it is. Product porn: no romance.

Excellence is nothing if no one can tell its story.

A trillion dollar company lost its million dollar voice.