tech

Apple design chief Jony Ive to leave and start his own firm

13 Comments
By Stephen Nellis

Jony Ive, a close creative collaborator with Apple Inc co-founder Steve Jobs whose iPhone and other designs fueled Apple's rise to a $1 trillion company, will leave later this year to form an independent design company.

Apple said Ive will continue work on its products at his new venture, but shares fell as much as 1.5% to $197.44 in after-market trading, wiping about $9 billion from the firm's value.

Ive spent nearly three decades at Apple, leading the design of the candy-colored iMacs that helped Apple re-emerge from near death in the 1990s to the iPhone, regarded by some experts as one of the most successful consumer products of all time.

"It's the most significant departure of somebody who was a core part of the growth story" under Jobs, said Ben Bajarin, analyst with Creative Strategies.

Ive joined Apple in 1992 and led Apple's design teams since 1996. He became chief design officer in 2015.

Ive's new company will be called LoveFrom, the Financial Times reported, quoting Ive as saying it would be based in California "for now." Ive told the newspaper he would work on Apple devices in addition to unspecified "personal passions" and non-Apple projects.

"I have the utmost confidence in my designer colleagues at Apple, who remain my closest friends, and I look forward to working with them for many years to come," Ive said.

Ive's departure comes amid falling iPhone sales, including a record drop in Apple's most recent quarter. Sales of some newer hardware products such as the Apple Watch and its wireless AirPods headphones are expanding, but Apple has turned its attention to growing its services business, which includes Apple Music and iCloud.

Nehal Chokshi, an analyst with Maxim Group, said that despite Ive's key role in Apple history, his departure will not hurt the iPhone maker.

"I would view it as Jony Ive looking to get paid market rates for his design expertise from Apple, with the right to allow other companies - not competitors to Apple - to leverage that expertise," Chokshi said.

CONTINUITY AFTER JOBS

Jobs deeply involved himself in Apple's design process, sometimes visiting Apple's design studios daily to offer Ive feedback. Chief Executive Tim Cook, to whom Ive now reports, has not done the same.

After Jobs' death, pundits questioned whether Apple could continue Jobs' pace of new products. Ive became a symbol of continuity, bridging the Jobs and Cook eras.

But Alan Cannistraro, chief executive of online video discovery platform Rheo who previously worked at Apple for a dozen years, said Apple employees knew Ive had taken on fewer day-to-day design duties in the past several years. Around 2015, Cannistraro would often see Ive at a high-end fitness gym on Market Street in San Francisco doing mid-morning workouts.

"When I would see him there, two days a week or more, that just told me he had taken a step back," Cannistraro said.

Ive came to oversee both hardware and software design at Apple, but the company laid the groundwork for his departure over several years. During 2015, Ive handed off some duties to other executives while he finished Apple's new corporate headquarters, Apple Park.

One of those executives was Alan Dye, who Apple on Thursday said will become vice president of human interface design. The company appointed Evans Hankey as vice president of industrial design. Both have "played key leadership roles" in Apple's design team for years, the company said.

Cannistraro, the former Apple employee, said Hankey stood out as "exceptional" among Apple's already strong design teams. Around 2008, as Apple readied new iMacs, Hankey dug in on an idea to make Apple products talk to each other as a home control system.

The effort, which was never released, was not part of Hankey's official duties. But she took an interest anyway because of her “very long-term vision kind of role – looking for seeds that could turn into something bigger, or maybe plant some seeds, too,” Cannistraro said.

The elevation of Dye and Hankey could reignite the connection between Apple's design teams and senior executives. Both will report to Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams, who will in turn hand off logistics and supply chain duties to Sabih Khan, newly named senior vice president of operations.

Meantime, Williams, who oversaw development of the Apple Watch, "will spend more of his time working with the design team in their studio," Apple said.

Williams has gained clout in Apple's product development process, but that does not necessarily mean he is poised to become chief executive in the near future, Maxim Group's Chokshi said.

"I don't see Tim Cook retiring anytime soon," Chokshi said.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

13 Comments
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The Brit Sir Jony Ives has done an amazing design job at Apple for the last 30 years but I guess he's in need of a new challenge or less design restrictions.

Gave us many great products including the iPod, iPad and iPhone.

Apple is moving away from having a single genius like Jobs or Ives and into team work.

Ives designed the new Apple campus a memorial to the great Steve Jobs.

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Too bad, he will be missed.

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Steve Jobs was the dreamer. Jony Ives the dream maker.

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Gave us many great products including the iPod, iPad and iPhone.

For a designer who puts so much into aesthetics, he's also responsible for some surprisingly awful ones, even down to bad choice of materials that just can't stand up to normal use. Consumers are his guinea pigs.

Along with all the successes (from a design point of view) there are a number of grotesque failures. Apple is hopeless at mice, which for the most part range from not good to terrible (and in the case of the hockey puck, they created a special, even worse, category: "this isn't a mouse").

Keyboards aren't much better, and embody the obsession with removing as much as possible, and slimming down the keys, even for desktop PCs, to nothingness. If you think keyboards are for looking at, maybe they serve. If you understand that they're for using, it's obvious that treating keys as the enemy is no way to design a good keyboard.

When they completely redesigned the Mac Pro a few years ago, a key feature of the new design was its heat management. The entire form of the computer, resembling a stubby chimney, was in service to that design element. Clearly they were proud of dumping tried and trusted technology: "Rather than using multiple heat sinks and fans to cool the processor and graphics cards, we built everything around a single piece of extruded aluminum designed to maximize airflow as well as thermal capacity". That seems acceptable if the computer is particularly accomplished at heat management. It wasn't. In fact, it created heat issues.

This kind of thing is the Marie Kondo approach to design, and you can find it across the range of Apple products since Jonathan Ive has been head of design.

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The Apple Mouse without that stupid little button on the top, works very well and I've used everyday for years. I'm using an original trackpad everyday since 2007.

I haven't used an Apple laptop since the iBook G3. The desktop keyboards are all very good.

The trash can mac pro was a big failure but not the iMac Pro.

Jony Ives didn't work on the new laptop versions.

https://www.cnet.com/news/jony-ive-is-leaving-apple-15-of-his-most-iconic-products-and-designs/

He is the designer of the new Mac Pro.

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The trash can mac pro was a big failure

So pause and think about that for a few seconds.

It's by far their most expensive product, it's generally for use by professionals who don't have time to dick around, and it supplanted a Mac Pro case design that was extremely practical and widely admired. A bit looky, as expected from Apple, and probably not perfect, as no case ever really is, but I think it can justifiably be called a classic, and it put function and performance ahead of form.

The rubbish bin Mac Pro was hideous to start with, and the whole reason for its bizarre and ugly design can only be justified if it was actually an efficient manager of heat. It's a surprise that anyone bought it at all, especially if they had been using the previous Mac Pro. There's little doubt that they were treated as guinea pigs for this design which had no equivalent in the rest of the Mac range.

It's more than just a failure, it was a disastrous product, and it revealed a disdain for Apple's high-end customers who were once one of its most important markets. The update of the Mac Pro was years overdue; there were rumours that Apple wanted to abandon the Pro altogether, and when the update came, it was an abomination. That's a little more behind that than a shoulder shrug and "you win some you lose some".

I haven't used an Apple laptop since the iBook G3. The desktop keyboards are all very good.

They're possibly good for people who think low profile is more important than other considerations and that chiclet keys are the last word in keyboard design. In reality, those keyboards are not "all very good" for all keyboard users, but the are certainly an excellent representation of Apple's design ethos.

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Still got the mac desktop keyboard from 2007 with the thick mechanical keys but its works without trouble after 12 years. Then I have the one which replaced that, I suppose that one might be from around 2010 with the more slim keyboards. Definitely prefer typing on that than the one with the thick keys.

Mostly I use the smaller wifi keyboard and that too I suppose has thinner keys. I also use a logicool M570 because I've got three computers on my desk. Two macs and a Windows, and the logicool switches between all three. But it has small round keys and I have big fingers so usually more typo's with that.

There are four mouse. Two Apple, one logicool trackball and another wifi mouse. Apple trackpad.

I wouldn't buy any new product first generation. Have a brother in NY who is a professional sound engineer for high end clients. Bands, musicians, presidents, hospitals. On his mobile rig are four trash can mac's which he informs me works great for what he needs. Back in his studio he's on a iMac Pro.

I prefer the original design when is was easy to open the side panel and change out and add parts.

I distrain when I can't repair my own computers which isn't common only to Apple.

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I prefer the original design when is was easy to open the side panel and change out and add parts.

Well that's where it's at. Who wouldn't. If computers were microwave ovens or washing machines, we wouldn't need to tamper with their innards, and some people never do anyway. But PCs often do need hardware to be modified, updated, or added to, and designing to make that more difficult, or just impossible, is very poor design. It's particularly bad for a pro model. That applies whether you can produce people who think it's just fine or not.

Ive makes his name from his design ideas and from the products he stands behind. It's fair to point out what is terrible about what he does along with the good. That applies both to the form of the product, and the materials employed - seeing as Apple has had numerous problems with materials failing under normal use, and then tried to shift the blame onto the users.

As for keyboards, yes you might prefer chiclet keys to mechanical keys. So does Apple, and so do people who persuade themselves to want what Apple wants them to want. In the real world, there are various styles of keyboard, and chiclet keyboards are not high on the ergonomic and practical scale. Apple doesn't adopt them because they're the best type of keyboard (they're not), but because they lend themselves readily to the uncluttered aesthetic and they accommodate Apple's neverending pursuit of slimness.

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With desktop, you can use any keyboard you like. You are not restricted to just Apple ones. Many PC's these days are also difficult to repair and update.

Most of the Apple devices I use, except for my Xr iPhone are more than 10 years old and still going strong. Even my iPad from 2013. The battery is still 80% good. might actual buy a new one so I can use the iPad OS.

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Jony (we've got a dongle for that) Ive;

Design before Function.

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Apple died with jobs

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Most of his designs restrict functionality and therefore decrease the efficiency. Nowadays an iPhone seems downright primitive when compared to even middle range Android phones.

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ebisen

Most of his designs restrict functionality and therefore decrease the efficiency. Nowadays an iPhone seems downright primitive when compared to even middle range Android phones.

Care to state an example. As far as I can see the iPhone X range is the best of phones out there. The only phones with secure FaceID.

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