Jony Ive hasn’t been given too much power at Apple – because he’s always had it

“In a recent interview with Bloomberg, ‘respected industry observer’ Paul Kedrosky opined that Apple is falling apart at the seams because Jony Ive and his design team have been given too much power, resulting in sleekly designed products that are proving hard to manufacture en masse,” Yoni Heisler writes for Network World. “As a recent example, Kedrosky points to Apple’s troubles in meeting demand for its revamped iMac. Indeed, Apple’s struggles to get iMac production in full swing resulted in substantially lower Mac sales than almost every analyst expected.”

“It’s an interesting theory, but ultimately demonstrates a fundamental disregard for what we know about Apple and the design process,” Heisler writes. “First off, the idea that Apple’s design team now has too much latitude under Tim Cook is preposterous given that Ive and his design team were untouchable with Jobs at the helm. And we know this from Jobs himself.”

Heisler writes, “Not only did Jobs often refer to Ive as his best friend, his biography revealed that Ive was given more operational power than anyone else at Apple, save of course Jobs himself. Jobs told biographer Walter Isaacson that there was no one at Apple who could tell Ive what to do and that he purposefully set things up that way.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
The curious case of Tim Cook, operations genius, and the missing iMacs – February 4, 2013
Paul Kedrosky on what’s gone wrong at Apple: Power balance has been altered – February 2, 2013
Steve Jobs left design chief Jonathan Ive ‘more operational power’ than anyone else at Apple – October 21, 2011


    1. To TM,
      I believe that is “Sir Jony Ive, Knight of the British Empire”. Perhaps the Queen of England has appointed you a title… not counting “Troll under the smelly bridge”? lol

      Just a thought,

  1. Ive’s power was design, and, since recently, software UI design. He has no competence in operations or hardware research, and so on, so he could not possibly wield “too much power”.

    1. Except that Ive is a designer in the truest sense of the word. His work directly steers Apple’s operations and “hardware research”.

      Apple’s products are well thought out cohesive packages. What do you think is driving Apple’s battery research? Fan design? Chip design?

      Ive’s industrial design decisions have resulted in Apple purchasing more CNC machining hardware than any other company in the history of the world. He’s commandeered entire Glass works facilities. He’s driving basic materials science research, and re-writing the rules of mass production.

  2. My take on the evolution of Apples product design under Ive’s leadership is ever onward toward a less expensive to make, with a more consistent product experience. Does anyone think the aluminum uni-body design of most Apple hardware is just for looks? It is less expensive to deliver the finished product. You don’t have dozens of small bits that have to be put together with a myriad of tiny screws. You don’t have plastic palm rests that react with some peoples body chemistry (or Cheetos, not sure which). You don’t have the edges of plastic cases wearing thin and cracking that become warranty items.

    I’ve had the back off of my 2009 MBP to upgrade the memory and the hard drive. It is a wonder of industrial design and by far the easiest Apple laptop to perform those two upgrades. When they finally get transparent aluminum, they should make the rear panel of the MBP from it, just so people can see how beautiful the insides are.

    Industrial design has producibility at its core, and Sir Jony may be the best in the world today. That his position at Apple influences all aspects the design of Apples product offerings can only bode well for Apple.

  3. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Jobs initially offered the CEO position to Ive and only went to plan b with Cook because Jony didn’t want to be encumbered with running the minutiae of the whole company. You can really think of Apple as having 2 CEOs; one for operations & one for the creative & product development..

  4. For a manufacturer of quality, design is first, second and third in importance – to the point that its complexity is not visible to the user of the device.

    That is what Ive personifies and why Apple have $150Bn in the bank and MS / Dell / Hp don’t. Samsung get it and have decided to copy what they cannot invent for themselves so they are successful because they aim further down the market share – where profit returns depend more on volume.

  5. Ives needs to be more public, I believe we will see that this year at WWDC , once Ives comes on stage people will freak out with excitement as only Ives has the Jobs RTF aura around him. I’m looking forward to seeing Jony in the presentations now that Forstall is out.

  6. He now has a lot more power than before as he has been Steve Jobs right hand for industrial design, and that is under SJ’s leadership. Jony Ive became great and very notorious because of this but it was SJ who found him and his design and methodology well suited for his (SJ) Apple vision.

    I fear without Steve Jobs the most important springs may jump to much as there is no one now to keep them well pressed. One thing is a creative team and another is a bunch of leaders. I am not going to say Scott Forstall is my favorite designer but he was there and he is not now. It could be a more complicated issue but BALANCE is very important, and balance does not mean everyone liking or appreciating each others work, but some of this and some of that to create a determined effect.

    I won’t upgrade to the next major MAC OS immediately.

  7. Johnny I am is a senior Executive Vice President of Apple and as such one of the Innercircle and has a lot of latitude to do pretty much anything he has wanted too for almost the entire time he has been there. Wall Street is clueless

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