Apple Adds Renowned Designer Marc Newson for New Products

Apple Inc. hired renowned industrial designer Marc Newson to work on future products, adding a close friend and collaborator of the iPhone maker’s head of design, Jony Ive.

Newson, whose work has been featured by New York’s Museum of Modern Art, has designed plane seats for Qantas Airlines Ltd., concept cars for Ford Motor Co., as well as various watches and furniture pieces. He will join the small and secretive group of about 20 people who work on designs that give Apple’s products their physical look and feel.

The Australia-born designer has been close friends with Ive for years and the two recently collaborated on a collection for an auction organized by U2 singer Bono that raised $26.2 million for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS in Africa.

Newson has collaborated with Ive on designs for Apple in the past. He’s now officially hired just a few days before Apple’s Sept. 9 event, when the company will announce a range of new products, including bigger-screen iPhones and a new wristwatch-like wearable device, according to people familiar with the plan.

Apple’s hiring of Newson was first reported yesterday by Vanity Fair. Amy Bessette, a spokeswoman for the company, confirmed the report. She declined to comment on whether Newson had any involvement in the products Apple will introduce next week.

Newson continues a recent trend by Apple of high-profile hires of people outside of the technology industry. From the fashion world, former Burberry Group Plc Chief Executive Officer Angela Ahrendts is running Apple’s retail stores and former Yves St Laurent SA CEO Paul Deneve is working on “special projects.” Jimmy Iovine, the longtime music industry executive, also recently joined after Apple bought Beats Electronics LLC.

Newson will be based in the U.K. and commute regularly to Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, California, according to Vanity Fair.