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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Alan Martin

iPhone, iMac, and Apple Watch designer helped make this £50,000 turntable

In 2019, Sir Jony Ive — the man who helped shape iconic designs for the iPod, AirPods, iPhone, and iMac — left Apple to start his own design firm, LoveFrom.

Since then, the firm has put its design instincts into helping clients like Ferrari and AirBnb, and has even redesigned the Red Nose for Comic Relief.

But hardware hasn’t really been on LoveFrom’s agenda — until now. The company has teamed up with British hi-fi and audio company Linn to help redesign its Sondek LP12 turntable for its 50th anniversary.

Linn Sondek LP12-50 (Linn)

Only 250 units of the Sondek LP12-50 turntable will be produced, and each one will cost an eye-watering £50,000.

At a glance, you might struggle to spot Ive’s influence. That’s in part because there’s only so much you can amend a turntable’s design without impacting sound quality, but also because a 50th-anniversary product has to resemble the familiar design it’s celebrating.

As such, LoveFrom’s touches are subtle, but they do echo Ive’s time at Apple. Curves have been added throughout, with smoother corners replacing squared-off components.

Linn Sondek LP12-50 (Linn)

A circular aluminium power button now sits in place of the old-school plastic rocker, and there’s a new custom hinge to allow the dust cover to stay open at any angle.

Interesting, LoveFrom apparently did the work pro bono, with no payment or contract to speak of.

“There are many things that I’ve always wanted to be able to do purely for the love of doing them,” Ive told Fast Company. “And there’s a substantial percentage of our work which we do purely for the love of doing it.”

He went on to explain that he is a fan of Linn, and visited the company factory in his 20s, long before he helped Apple enter the music space.

Linn Sondek LP12-50 (Linn)

“I think the first consequential music player that I designed was the first iPod, and that began a journey of multiple generations of iPod, and multiple Airpods and music accessories,” he said. “I feel really fortunate to have gone the full circle... so many years on from my first visit to the factory.”

It nearly didn’t happen. Linn CEO Gilad Tiefenbrun explains in a blog post about the LP12-50 that when Ive’s assistant approached via LinkedIn, he assumed it was spam and deleted it without much thought.

“As the day continued, I had this nagging feeling building in my stomach,” he wrote. “Suddenly, the feeling crystallised into a thought: What if it actually is Sir Jony Ive?”

Fortunately, he was able to retrieve the deleted message and connect to make the collaboration happen.

If you have the money to get one of the 250 Sondek LP12-50 units, you can register your interest here. It might not be delivered until next March, however.

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