Bono Stories January 20, 2016

Jony Ive reflects on a decade of Bono’s Product RED campaign to combat HIV/AIDS

Bono’s Product RED campaign to fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa has partnered with Apple for so long that you could easily mistake it as an Apple-created initiative, and this year the effort turns 10 years old with more than $350 million raised according to the Financial Times. In marking the decade-long effort to raise awareness and eliminate the virus/disease, FT highlighted Apple’s roots in the campaign:

The late Steve Jobs was involved with Red, designing and selling a Red-branded iPod. Apple has maintained its connection since Jobs’ death in 2011. Two years ago, Sir Jonathan Ive, Apple’s chief design officer, and his colleague Marc Newson, ran an auction of specially designed products, including a Leica Digital Rangefinder camera the pair customised, which sold for $1.8m. The auction raised $13m for Red, matched by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Apple’s design chief Jony Ive shared his take in the piece on how Product RED has had a humanitarian reach, challenging the idea of any corporate effect.

Does Sir Jonathan think Red affected how companies think of corporate social responsibility? He demurs. “I’m much more interested in how a mother feels whose daughter is still alive than whether Red has had an impact on other companies.”

He adds: “The thing that first struck me was that the magnitude and ugliness of the problem would normally be cause for people to turn away. I loved the way Bono saw it as a problem to be solved.”

You can read the full piece on a decade of Bono’s Product RED campaign here.

Bono Stories October 14, 2014

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iTunes customers who didn’t watch Apple’s iPhone keynote last month were a bit surprised to discover that they suddenly owned a copy of U2’s new albumSongs of Innocence,” even though they’d never bought it. The band had partnered with Apple to add the album to every single iTunes account for free in what they called the largest album debut ever.

iTunes users were less than thrilled at the arrangement, noting that the album was being automatically downloaded to their devices in many cases and there was no way to remove it from their purchase history. Apple responded soon thereafter by releasing an online tool to remove the album, but thus far U2 has remained quiet on the issue… until today.

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Bono Stories October 9, 2014

U2 Tim Cook free album

Apple’s controversial U2 album giveaway is about to wrap up as the record is only scheduled to be free through October 13th, and the company is sharing some numbers about the promotion to celebrate.

Apple SVP of Internet Software & Services Eddy Cue told Billboard that more than 81 million customers ‘experienced songs’ from U2’s Songs of Innocence album either through plays or streams over iTunes, iTunes Radio, or Beats Music where the album was exclusively available to users. The Apple exec added that 26 million full downloads of the album were measured by Apple. Cue also shared that U2’s music had previously been purchased by 14 million customers through iTunes since 2003.

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Bono Stories September 22, 2014

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In an Irish radio interview, Bono discusses his various collaborations with Apple, as transcribed by TUAW. Interesting, Bono claims Apple now has 885 million iTunes accounts (up from 800 million as officially announced in April). With his work on a mysterious new music format, he aims to help Apple cross the billion accounts mark. The new medium has apparently been underway for a while, spanning back to a conversation with Steve Jobs in 2009. expand full story

Bono Stories September 18, 2014

u2

According to TIME, U2’s partnership with Apple goes far beyond a free album in your iTunes library, much to the chagrin of some users. The group is reportedly working with Apple on a ‘secret project’ to rejuvenate digital music scales.

Details, however, are thin on the ground. Bono is quoted as saying he is developing a new music format that will somehow inspire consumers to buy complete albums once more. Without more information, it’s impossible to tell whether this is a silly pipe dream or an actual possibility. In the age of streaming music, the sales potential for individually bought songs is waning.

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Bono Stories September 15, 2014

U2 Tim Cook free album

Tim Cook and U2 announced that the band’s new album “Songs of Innocence” would be automatically gifted to Apple’s over 500 million iTunes users last week following the announcement of the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, but many iTunes users were not happy with seeing music from U2 added to their iTunes libraries (even for free).

While iTunes supports a way to “hide” previous purchases, the complaints and confusion apparently grew loud enough to warrant a dedicated support site for permanently removing the free U2 album from iTunes purchase history. Apple says once you remove the free album from your iTunes purchase history and library, you will need to “get it again” if you decide you want it. The U2 album is available for free until October 13th next month when the album will then be available for sale at various retailers. View below for information on how to remove the free U2 album… expand full story

Bono Stories September 12, 2014

Wondering what it cost Apple to give away that U2 album to every customer?

If you were wondering how much it cost Apple to give away a copy of U2’s Songs of Innocence album to every customer, the answer, according the the New York Times, is more than $100M.

To release U2’s album free, Apple paid the band and Universal an unspecified fee as a blanket royalty and committed to a marketing campaign for the band worth up to $100 million, according to several people briefed on the deal. That marketing will include a global television campaign, the first piece of which was a commercial that was shown during the event.

Yep, that album that ended up on many people’s iPhones uninvited cost Apple whatever the royalty fee is for half a billion downloads plus a further $100M spend on marketing it. Nice. Perhaps the band will be donating a portion of it to Project RED?

Bono and Cook joked around about the cost during the keynote, with Bono telling Cook “you would have to pay for it, because we’re not going in for the free music around here.”

Bono Stories June 25, 2014

Bono, Shane Smith, and Jony Ive at Cannes Lions Festival

Bono, Shane Smith, and Jony Ive at <a href="https://www.facebook.com/Cannes.Lions.Festival.of.Creativity/photos/a.10153429012248539.1073741859.62629358538/10153445276373539/?type=3&permPage=1" target="_blank">Cannes Lions Festival</a>

Earlier this week, we noted Apple SVP of Design Jony Ive and U2 pop star Bono made a joint appearance at the Cannes Lions Festival to discuss Apple and Product Red’s partnership in raising funds for AIDS/HIV programs in Africa. During that appearance, Bono pointed out with Jony Ive on stage that Apple does not prominently display the Product Red logo on the products that support the effort, according to AdWeek’s account of the event (the full video has not been made available and the clip showing Bono relaying another story on Steve Jobs has since been made private):

“Where’s the (Red) branding?” he asked Ive. “Nobody can see that. This is modesty run amok. This is the Apple way. They’re like a religious cult.”

Bono began that bit saying that Apple is “f*cking annoyingly quiet about the fact they’ve raised $75 million.” Product Red followed up today on Bono’s position, though, toning down the nature of Bono’s comments in a blog post thanking Apple for its partnership and the success of Product Red: expand full story

Bono Stories June 23, 2014

Jony Ive Bono Cannes Lions Festival

Jony Ive presenting Bono with Cannes LionHeart Award

Apple’s SVP of Design Jony Ive joined U2 pop star and activist Bono in a joint interview over the weekend at the Cannes Lions Festival to discuss Product Red and Apple’s partnership as we previously mentioned. Product Red, of course, partners with brands to raise money to fund AID/HIV programs in Africa, and Apple has long supported the effort with a number of Red-branded products including iPhone and iPad cases as well as iPods and iPod touches.

As part of the festival, Jony Ive presented Bono with the first Cannes LionHeart Award to honor his work with Product Red as you can see above. During the discussion segment of their appearance, Bono shared his account of working with Steve Jobs when establishing the Product Red partnership with Apple and Jobs’ desire to control the Product Red branding right down to the parentheses in the Product Red logo… expand full story

Bono Stories November 23, 2013

The one of a kind, special edition red Mac Pro designed by Jony Ive and Marc Newson brought in a whopping $977k at Sotheby’s (RED) Auction this evening in New York. The custom Mac was estimated to sell for $40-60,000, but ended up fetching quite a bit more than its value, as did the majority of the other items sold at the charity auction. Recently, Ive and Newson shared their thoughts on the auction and design in an interview on Charlie Rose. 

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Bono Stories October 31, 2013

As we’ve been covering, Jony Ive and Marc Newson have teamed with Sotheby’s to host an auction for Bono’s Product(RED) Charity. The auction, which takes place on November 23rd, is highlighted by several items hand picked by the two world-famous designers. The auction includes one-of-a-kind items such as gold-plated Apple EarPods, an aluminum unibody Leica camera, and a red next-generation Mac Pro.

In addition to the images and online catalog of the products, we thought it would be interested to provide a look at Sotheby’s hardcover version of the catalog. As you can see in the images above, the book has an intriguing front and back cover design that showcase cartoon-like representations of both Ive and Newson. Inside, the catalog provides an in-depth look at the items on auction.

You can see our full gallery of images of the catalog below, courtesy of 9to5 reader Chris:

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Bono Stories October 8, 2013

Last month we reported that Apple’s Senior Vice President of Design Jony Ive had teamed up with designer & friend Marc Newson to create one of a kind pieces for Bono’s (Product) RED charity auction scheduled for November 23 at Sotheby’s New York. Those pieces included one-of-a-kind 18k sold rose gold Apple EarPods, and Steinway & Sons piano, and other unique items designed by the pair. Today we get a look at another beautifully designed product set to go up for auction next month.

In the gallery below we get a look at the gorgeous aluminum Leica M for (RED) designed by Ive and Newson that features “a laser machined aluminum body and an anodized aluminum outer shell.” The one of a kind camera took 85 days to create with the team going through 561 models and nearly 1000 prototype parts: expand full story

Bono Stories September 26, 2013

Apple’s (PRODUCT)RED contributions have reached over $65 million

Apple has contributed to Bono’s (PRODUCT)RED charity for quite sometime by donating a portion of profits from sales of special red editions of iOS devices and accessories. Today, the official PRODUCT(RED) Twitter account (via TheLoop) revealed that Apple’s contributions to fighting AIDS through the charity have now topped $65 million, making it the largest contributor to the charity out of all participating companies.

U2 singer Bono, who cofounded the charity back in 2006, commented that “Apple is certainly leading the crew” when it comes to donations from (PRODUCT)RED partners.

Apple currently sells red versions of the iPod shuffle, iPod nano, iPod touch, iPad Smart Cover, and iPhone 4S bumper under the (PRODUCT)RED branding.

Bono Stories September 9, 2013

Jony Ive designs one of a kind pieces for upcoming Product (Red) charity auction at Sotheby’s

Apple’s Senior Vice President of Design Jony Ive has teamed up with designer & friend Marc Newson to create one of a kind pieces for Bono’s Product (Red) charity auction scheduled for November 23 at Sotheby’s New York. Ive commented on the upcoming auction in statement today released by Sotheby’s:

“It’s been a fantastic honour to curate this collection of objects with Marc for the auction at Sotheby’s. Each piece represents the value of thoughtful design. What we create for each other is not only a comment on our culture but of course in many ways defines it. (RED) is making a difference in the lives of millions of people and we’re humbled to make this contribution to such an important and worth cause.”

Among the items to be auctioned off that were designed by Jony and Marc: a unique Leica Digital Rangefinder Camera, an aluminium desk produced by Neal Feay Studios, a Steinway & Sons Parlor Grand Piano, a 2012 Range Rover, and the rose gold Apple EarPods pictured above.

Bono said, “When you think of Jony and Marc, you think of design which is both iconic and sublime. Those two words can be applied to the unique collection of objects on the auction block this November. Each bang of the hammer will be raising critical dollars to fight AIDS… by getting medication to mothers with HIV which means they will not pass the virus on to their newborns.” 

The press release from Sotheby’s says that Marc and Jony spent the last year and a half curating the collection that includes “objects from disciplines as diverse as space travel and lighting design to contemporary art and rare automobiles.”

(via MacRumors)

Bono Stories April 18, 2013

Jonathan Ive gets tribute in Time 100 from Bono

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Nice words in the Time 100 for Apple SVP of Industrial Design Sir Jony from U2 frontman Bono:

Jony Ive is himself classic Apple. Brushed steel, polished glass hardware, complicated software honed to simplicity. His genius is not just his ability to see what others cannot but also how he applies it. To watch him with his workmates in the holy of holies, Apple’s design lab, or on a night out is to observe a very rare esprit de corps. They love their boss, and he loves them. What the competitors don’t seem to understand is you cannot get people this smart to work this hard just for money. Jony is Obi-Wan. His team are Jedi whose nobility depends on the pursuit of greatness over profit, believing the latter will always follow the former, stubbornly passing up near-term good opportunities to pursue great ones in the distance. Jony’s values happen to add value — emotional and financial. It takes a unique alchemy of form and function for millions of people to feel so passionately about the robot in their pocket.

Many more in the Time100 including Samsung’s CEO Oh-Hyun Kwon, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and AAPL stock manipulator David Einhorn.

Bono Stories September 2, 2011

U2 frontman Bono responded to the story The Mystery of Jobs’s Public Giving,” in the NYTimes Opinion pages today telling readers that Jobs was indeed a generous giver through the product (Red) campaign.  Bono further hinted that Jobs is a private person and his donations may not all be on the books.

I’m proud to know him; he’s a poetic fellow, an artist and a businessman. Just because he’s been extremely busy, that doesn’t mean that he and his wife, Laurene, have not been thinking about these things. You don’t have to be a friend of his to know what a private person he is or that he doesn’t do things by halves.

Apple and U2 of course collaborated on a U2 iPod and later Apple built red iPods with a portion of the proceeds going to Bono’s private fund to fight AIDS in Africa. Steve Jobs reportedly said when Bono first approached him about (RED), “There is nothing better than the chance to save lives.”  Apple’s involvement encouraged other companies to get involved.

Jobs has also been active in organ donation causes since his liver transplant. expand full story

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