Jonathan Ive
Steve Jobs is widely held to be the design maestro at Apple (AAPL). But Ive, the company's senior vice-president for industrial design, also requires nothing less than perfection from his team. Ive, 42, has overseen such iconic products as the iMac, iPod, iPhone, and, most recently, the iPad. In so doing, he and his team have produced a range of products that have been central to the company's revitalization. For his part, Ive says he prioritizes "better" over "new" and favors user-friendly design that is simple to use and understand, a philosophy that many have copied, few have repeated. Business Week

As shares of Apple, the most valuable technology company, fell about 1 percent to $422.37 Tuesday ahead of its first-quarter earnings announcement, TechnoBuffalo editor Jon Rettinger warned the company is swimming in uncharted waters.

I wouldn't bet against Apple, he said in an interview. Rettinger said he expects the Cupertino, Calif.-based computer, smartphone and iPod developer to report its most profitable-ever quarter.

Rettinger expects Apple's net income to blow past estimates, or around $11.55 a share on revenue as high as $42 billion. Analysts generally expect earnings to rise 54 percent to $9.95 a share as revenue gains 40 percent to percent to $38.58 billion.

The technology expert said Apple is running strong on all cylinders, presumably on a so-called roadmap devised by its late Chairman Steve Jobs. Rettinger predicted new CEO Tim Cook will unleash Apple TV within the next five months along with some new initiatives.

Apple, though, has lost the fear, fire and business acumen Jobs brought to daily business operations, Rettinger said. It's also unclear how crucial the role will be of Jonathan Ive, Apple's Senior VP of Industrial Design, who is an acknowledged master.

Who was the 'heart and soul' of products? Rettinger wondered. Was it Ive who designed products and Jobs who fine-tuned them? Or was it Jobs and Ive who designed them together?

The special feel of Apple products, along with their high brand equity, are attributable to Jobs, he said. Not known is what magic Ive possesses on his own.

Rettinger also suggested Apple will soon devise new consumer digital photo technology for the iPhone 4S and successors, rather than for a separate discrete family of photography products. Using so-called light-field technology, the better cameras will allow Apple to now battle the camera-makers in their own sector, he said.

More crucial, Rettinger suggested CEO Cook may announce some plans to bring back some of Apple's manufacturing jobs to the U.S. from Asia, as part of contributing to domestic job growth. It's become part of the presidential campaign, the TechnoBuffalo editor said.

Apple, which has built huge server farms in rural communities to take advantage of low power costs to feed its cloud technologies may also feel obligated to add to national GDP by employing more Americans, Rettinger said.

Apple has a payroll of 63,000 now, with 20,000 overseas. But virtually all its manufacturing is done in Asia by contractors including Hai Hon Precision Industries of Taiwan, also known as Foxconn.

Apple might tap part of its cash and investments, which exceeded $85 billion in the fourth quarter, to do it, he suggested.

Meanwhile, Rettinger, 31, recalled that Tuesday is the 28th anniversary of the Macintosh computer.