There aren't many consumer electronics companies that win kudos for their excellence in other realms.
Apple did just that recently when it earned an Emmy in the Creative Arts category for its commercial "Misunderstood." Apple has been named the most admired, most innovative company and the best brand too many times to count. Its leaders, designers and products have been feted more than a prize calf at the state fair.
Here are some of the other high honors and quirky tributes Apple has racked up over the years — plus one title that no one at Apple seems to merit.
Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak were crowned National Medal of Technology and Innovation laureates by Ronald Reagan in 1985 for "their development and introduction of the personal computer which has sparked the birth of a new industry extending the power of the computer to individual users."
It was the first year of the award; other winners included IBM and AT&T Bell Laboratories. Not bad for a pair of college dropouts.
Apple first got its hands around the winged statuette in 2001 with a Primetime Engineering Award earned for FireWire.
"Transferring data at up to 400Mbps, FireWire delivers more than 30 times the bandwidth of the popular USB peripheral standard," Apple's press release boasted at the time. "With its high data-transfer speed and 'hot plug-and-play' capability, FireWire is the interface of choice for today’s digital audio and video devices, as well as external hard drives and other high-speed peripherals."
While the fuzzy, wacky, colorful Muppets might seem aesthetically at odds with, well, everything Apple does, there's been a mutual appreciation dating back to the "Think Different" campaign, which featured Muppet maestro Jim Henson.
The Jim Henson Honors go to folks who make the world a better place by inspiring people to celebrate life.
"Steve Jobs has been a leader in the ongoing efforts to develop technologies that allow users to effortlessly express themselves," said Lisa Henson when the award was handed to Jobs in 2010.
Sir Jonathan Ive has won armfuls of honors, including the knighthood, for his groundbreaking designs. But not everyone can get a Blue Peter badge from the beloved BBC children's program of the same name.
“Ive is an inspiration to children around the world and we were ecstatic to hear his comments and design advice to our viewers who will remember such feedback for a lifetime,” said Ewan Vinnicombe, acting editor of Blue Peter.
In 2002, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences gave Apple a technical Grammy, the first ever awarded to a computer maker.
“We love music and are thrilled to play a part in how music is created and enjoyed,” said Steve Jobs. “We are honored to be receiving our industry’s first Technical Grammy and we look forward to making many more contributions in the years ahead.”
Steve Wozniak was awarded the Isaac Asimov Science Award in 2011.
"While most people would know Wozniak from his days at Apple, he continues to exhibit his ingenuity and generosity in other settings. A noted philanthropist, Wozniak is a committed advocate for science and computer education," organizers said, citing his funding of science schools in Los Gatos, California, and a summer camp for tech-minded kids.
He shares the title with Neil deGrasse Tyson, Robert Sapolsky and Eugenie Scott.
This is one of those honors you'd expect Apple to win. But alas, no. According to Walter Isaacson's biography, Steve Jobs thought he was up for consideration the year the magazine's editors decided to go with the personal computer instead of a person. Jobs gave access to the reporters for what he thought was a cover story and found the profile they wrote about him "so awful that I actually cried."
In 2012, Tim Cook was in the running, but had to settle for third runner-up status. "Like an Apple product, Cook runs smooth and fast," the magazine wrote. Just not enough to compete with Barack Obama, who edged him out for the title.
Want to improve your Monday by seeing how design guru Jony Ive lives? Over the weekend, Business Insider ran a gallery, showcasing Apple’s acclaimed design guru’s home on San Francisco’s “Gold Coast,” also known as “Billionaire’s Row.”
Facing the end of his long, dominant NBA career, Kobe Bryant is branching out into the business world with Kobe Inc., and while he’s picked the brains of people like Oprah, Hillary Swank and Arianna Huffington, it was a meeting with Jony Ive at Apple Campus earlier this summer that caught the web’s attention.
What could one of the greatest basketball players of all-time learn from the world’s most famous designer? According to an interview with Bloomberg, the Black Mamba simply wanted to know how Ive approaches design and how he manages to see the world differently than everyone that makes hardware.
An NBA superstar reaching out to the world’s tech designer for help sounds like an odd fit, but Bryant says building an iPhone isn’t too different from developing a world-class basketball game because like building products, you approach both sequentially, piece by piece, to make it unstoppable.
Jawbone’s new UP Coffee app can put your caffeine consumption into context. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Apple relies heavily on caffeine. A recent company job listing advertised a role for an iCup technician, with the important task of providing “a fresh brew coffee to all Apple employees within their department.”
Jony Ive’s design team is especially obsessed with the black stuff: For years they kept a $3,000-plus Italian Grimac espresso machine, despite the fact that it leaked all the time. For a while in the 1990s, the design team was even mockingly dubbed “Espresso” for their unabashed love of caffeine culture.
Apple’s not alone in its coffee snob behavior. The rise of coffee shops — with seemingly hundreds of variations on the old coffee standards — have infiltrated every city across the United States: Americans spend $18 billion per year on specialty coffee alone.
The ugly government hieroglyphs on your iPhone might be going digital Photo: Moridin, Flickr
The back of your iPhone is about to get a little more minimalist.
Thanks to a new bill introduced in the Senate, manufacturers may soon be allowed to use digital stamps on smartphones, laptops, and other gadgets, instead of using the strange symbols etched onto the back of your iPhone.
Design questions aside, the true mystery about Apple’s long-rumored iWatch lies in exactly what types of health-related sensors the wearable might include. A recent report claims the iWatch will sport an astonishing 10 different sensors, including one for sweat.
While pedometers, accelerometers, thermometers and every other o-meter Jony Ive can get his hands on might all make sense for a smartwatch, we’re wondering what Apple could do with a sweat sensor? Other than verify that, yes, your sweat glands are pouring out more fluid per minute than Niagara Falls during your jog?
It turns out that adding sweat sensors would do more than differentiate the iWatch from smartwatches by LG, Motorola and Samsung right out of the gate. It could make the iWatch the most “personal” device you’ve ever shackled yourself to, with surprising applications that go far beyond fitness and health.
Bono is a tireless promoter of his global AIDs and HIV nonprofit, (RED), but according to the U2 frontman (and, more ignobly, Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark composer), Apple’s dropping the ball when it comes to charity: not in regards to giving enough money to charity, but in regards to promoting how much charitable work it does as a company.
Apple’s approach to design is just as healthy as it was under Steve Jobs, according to Jony Ive. Looking ahead, Apple is building upcoming products with “materials we haven’t worked in before.” Let your imagination run wild.
Ive was quoted in the Cook story, but in this second installment we get more insight into how he sees the current state of Apple. Points of discussion include how Ive approaches product design, working with Cook, the values Steve Jobs instilled in the company, and how Ive doesn’t think “anything’s changed” since Cook became CEO.
The 61st Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is honoring U2’s Bono with the first Cannes LionHeart Award for his achievements in the war on AIDS through (RED), a charity he created that has partnered with Apple for years.
Jony Ive will join Bono at Cannes Lions for a special interview moderated by Shane Smith, the CEO of VICE Media. The discussion with Bono and Ive will center around “the success of (RED) and it’s unique collaboration with global partners,” namely Apple.