Might Jony Ive have Apple Pencil-thin skin?

Jony Ive, Apple’s brilliant British-born chief design guru whose Rasputin-like role in the court of Steven I continues under the reign of Tim II, may be a tad sensitive.

From Business Insider comes a tale of royal intrigue, a story of cold-blooded revenge deep within Apple’s inner sanctum at the corner of North De Anza Boulevard and Interstate 280.

For a guy knighted in 2012 by Princess Anne, Sir Jonathan Paul Ive did not show much noblesse oblige when it came to interface designer Amy Hoy.

A big fan of the Apple designer, Hoy and a friend had a brainstorm: And according to Business Insider, it all started with a tweet:

“I was lying sick in bed, reading Twitter last weekend and a convo went by about iOS 8+ app design being all same-y same,” she tells Business Insider via email. “One of the guys replied with nothing but a picture of Jony looking VERY serious and heartfelt.”

Hoy wanted to reply to the tweet with a funny Ive sound-bite, but when she tried to find a soundboard of his quotes, she discovered that there wasn’t one.

And it was at that moment that a dastardly plot was hatched. Perhaps there was also an oversight by Hoy. A soundboard, which is a computer program usually built in Adobe Flash that archives and plays short soundbites and audio clips, can quickly turn into a sticky wicket. As they’ve become a popular plaything on mobile devices, controversial soundboard apps like iFart Mobile and BodyBoard have not helped lift the technology to anything close to an exalted status. Unless, of course, you’re a 14-year-old boy who’s really into rude body sounds.

In any case, Hoy and software engineer Thomas Fuchs were off to the races, creating their own soundboard and naming it “JonyJive.”

Hoy says that she “mostly shouted directions” while Fuchs, a “JavaScript machine,” built the site in about eight hours. The end result was a hilarious website where you could mash a bunch of Ive-isms together into delightfully nonsensical sentences.

But one man’s hilarious, it seems, is another man’s offensive, especially if that other man is Sir Jony. Before long, Hoy’s phone was ringing and it was an Apple lawyer on the other end of the line. The lawyer left a vague voicemail, and since Hoy was concerned that her soundboard might have riled the Royal Court of Cupertino, she had her lawyer call Apple’s lawyer back.

Fortunately, everything was civil. Apple was asking Hoy to take down the site because it had personally offended Ive. Business Insider said it tried to reach Apple for comment, but had not yet heard back. Meanwhile, JonyJive is gone, replaced by an apology that reads:

This site was meant as good-natured teasing. We are (big) fans of Jony Ive’s work. We have an original iPod on a shelf in the office, so we’re reminded about great design every day. We didn’t intend to be mean or hurt feelings.

We’d still like you to read our blog post about the problems of flat design in software.

Amy Hoy and Thomas Fuchs

If Ive is miffed, Hoy and Fuchs are practically mortified by the entire episode, reacting with what Hoy calls “a lot of shock, a little bit of horror.”

“We’re fans,” Hoy says. “JonyJive was just supposed to be silly fun. Like, my friends tease me about my chair addiction. We teased Jony about his dramatic delivery. Wink wink, nudge nudge. It was never meant to be mean. There was no legal threat, just a personal request. So… we took it down.”

Well, at least they weren’t banished to the bottom of the feudalism pyramid, relegated to serfdom and a life of tilling the soil around One Infinite Loop.

Photo: Jony Ive at Apple headquarters in Cupertino on Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2008. (Maria J. Avila/Mercury News archives)


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  • freddysrevng2

    Jonny Boy hasn’t come out with a hit/revolutionary product since the passing of Steve.

    Apple is about to enter a very challenging time in their history – from a stock perspective with the “Law of Obscenely Large Numbers” beginning to crush them….

  • phil28

    Those who can’t laugh at themselves leave the job to others. – Dave Barry