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We've now had a chance to see the prototype G1 phone.  Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is hoping to carve out its own niche in the cellphone market in much the same way Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has recently done.  Can we expect to see lines outside of T-Mobile stores when the phone goes on sale next month?  Highly unlikely.  Instead, Google's gPhone appears headed down the same path of irrelevancy as the Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Zune.  According to Walt Mossberg, "The G1 won't win any beauty contests with its Apple rival.  It's stubby and chunky, nearly 30% thicker and almost 20% heavier that the iPhone."

I was prepared to delve into a detailed comparison between the gPhone and the iPhone but Mr. Mossberg's statement just put an end to any constructive debate that we might have had.  When you try and tell me how cool the copy and paste feature is or how excited you are about the MMS photo function I'll just have to give you the look.  The same look that I gave to Zune enthusiasts who told me how much better the large video screen was.  I don't think so.  It's on days like today, when someone comes out with a product like the gPhone that we remember just how dominant Apple has become.  Aren't new product releases supposed to be better than the existing ones?  Apple competitors are shamefully years behind and it's all because of one man, Jonathan Ive.

Senior VP of Industrial Design, Jonathan Ive, is the most important man in the tech world.  He is more important to Apple than Steve Jobs. Have you seen what the Mac looked like before Ive came along?  Do you remember where Steve Jobs was before Ive took over the design team?  Jonathan Ive is the principal designer of the Mac, the iPod, and the iPhone.  Not Steve Jobs.  While Wall Street's busy watching Steve's weight we should be more concerned with Ive's eyesight.  Jonathan Ive is the real Moses here, Jobs is just Aaron.  In January the guy was rated the most influential Brit in America, ahead of Beckham.  Those in the know praise his work. Read the following reviews that Ive received for his iPhone design:

  • "He has an uncanny skill for imparting a device with simplicity, distinction, and inevitability.  He could probably design a better triangle, and when he was done you'd realize that three sides were one side too many." --James Lileks, Minneapolis Star Tribune
  • "The iPhone is something out of Tom Cruise's science-fiction film Minority Report, which is set in 2054."  --Paul Durman, The UK Times
  • "The iPhone is a typical piece of Ive design: an austere, abstract, platonic-looking form that somehow also manages to feel warm and organic and ergonomic." -- Lev Grossman, Time

Jonathan Ive should be the next CEO of Apple.  Apple's software is good, their end to end user experience is great, but the look and feel of their products is what set's them apart.  In the last few months, the world has quietly been experiencing a sea change.  The market share tidal wave of Apple is coming and it's not all riding on Steve Jobs's shoulders.

DISCLOSURE: LONG AAPL.

Source: Jonathan Ive: More Valuable to Apple than Steve Jobs?