Famed German designer Richard Sapper has revealed in an interview with Dezeen that Steve Jobs once wanted to hire him to design Apple's computers:
Jobs once wanted to hire me to do the design of Apple [computers] but the circumstances weren't right because I didn't want to move to California and I had very interesting work here that I didn't want to abandon. Also, at that time Apple was not a great company, it was just a small computer company. They were doing interesting things so I was very interested, of course, but I had an exclusivity contract with IBM.
When asked if he regretted his decision not to work with the company, he replied:
Sure I regret it – the man who then did it makes $30 million a year! [Laughs] so how can you not regret it?
It's not clear from the interview when Jobs exactly asked Sapper to do industrial designs for the company. Sapper said Apple was "just a small computer company" when Jobs approached him, which would suggest it was the early 1980s. However, Sapper is clearly referring to Jonathan Ive when he says "the man who then did it," which would put Steve's unsuccessful recruitment attempt in the late 1990s, shortly after he returned to the company.
Besides Sapper's work for IBM, the 81-year-old industrial designer has created myriad products over his 60-year career including bicycles, lamps and kettles.