It’s Sir Jonathan Ive’s Apple, Tim Cook just fronts it

“Apple is today releasing the much-anticipated iOS 7, and with it, the biggest overhaul of its mobile operating system since it debuted in 2007 with the original iPhone,” Richard Nieva reports for CNET. “For the first time ever, Apple is releasing a software product that was led by the same person who leads industrial design: Jonathan Ive. And it’s an integration that underscores how, increasingly, Apple is becoming Ive’s company.”

“Ive joined Apple in 1992 and became head of the company’s industrial design department in 1996, the year before Jobs returned to the company after being forced out,” Nieva reports. “The duo’s first breakthrough project together was the iMac, those colorful desktop computers that first made people take notice of Apple as a design company. Ive would go on to lead the design teams that created Apple’s most seminal work, from the MacBook to the iPhone to the iPad. He was knighted in Buckingham Palace in May 2012”

Nieva reports, “Jobs told his biographer Walter Isaacson that Ive has “more operational power” than anyone at Apple besides Jobs himself. Sure, it’s unclear if that’s still true since Cook took the reins as CEO after Jobs stepped down. But what does seem clear is that it probably doesn’t matter. As CEO, Cook is the face, the logistical leader, and — unfortunately for him — the occasional scapegoat for the company, but Ive is in charge of the heart and soul of Apple.”

“Ive’s new responsibility overseeing user interface is the biggest sign yet that Apple is truly Ive’s company now. This is not to impugn Cook. He is a talented conductor and chief executive,” Nieva reports. “But Ive was always the closest one to the Jobs aura, not Cook. So next time we ask the tedious question, ‘Can Apple still innovate?’ — and believe me, we will — we might instead look to Ive for the answer.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we’ve written many times before:

Tim Cook should seriously consider trying to convincing Jony Ive do Apple’s keynote presentations or, at the very least, participate in a significant fashion (live, not via video).

We know Jony can perform live and he’s mesmerizing when he does.

Have Jony onstage during Apple events and all of these silly “Should Tim Cook remain as Apple CEO?” and “Where are Apple’s innovations?” questions will evaporate immediately. Cook would be Apple CEO for as long as he wished. Where Apple is currently missing Steve Jobs the most is in the charisma department on-stage.

Related articles:
The greatest business story of this generation is a design tale: Apple’s Jony Ive – September 3, 2013
Jony Ive is the new Steve Jobs: Positively mind-blowing iOS 7 stirs Apple-envy yet again – June 11, 2013
Can Apple’s design guru Jony Ive fill Steve Jobs’ shoes? – May 19, 2013
Jony Ive hasn’t been given too much power at Apple – because he’s always had it – February 5, 2013
Steve Jobs left design chief Jonathan Ive ‘more operational power’ than anyone else at Apple – October 21, 2011


    1. Tim cook is crucial to the function of apple as a business. That’s why sj hired him. Jonny serves a crucial part as well. Totally different aspects but totally important parts of apple. Similar to needing a heart and a brain.

        1. Clearly clueless as to what role Tim plays in the company. SJ hired him for a reason and collaborated with him in his remaining hours. Apple has a lot in common with an iceberg. 10% visible and 90% not. It is the 90% that matters most in successfully running such a company. Leave Tim alone so that we can all enjoy the fruits that are visible.

    2. Not quite; SJ was primary designer of such products as original iMac (JI added translucency to it) and lamp iMac, as well as Powerbook Titanium, which is etalon of notebook design ever since.

      So both SJ and JI were outstanding in design, no one just “took credit” among them. By the way, remember that Jobs always featured Ive in promotional videos, no matter who was primary designer. In fact, almost no one knew about more than 300 of design and 50 utility patents Steven Jobs held. Steven displayed true humility about it.

      Also, I do not think that anyone gives Timothy Cook credit for designing Apple products, so whole issue is non-existent. And there could be no comparison to Jobs, who was obviously different.

      1. This is like the Paul McCartney & John Lennon argument of who contributed more to the Beatles. Tim Cook is either George or Ringo. I think he’s more Ringo because he just stays unflappably solid and on course keeping the beat going for the creatives.

          1. And Steve is right again about his Beatles assessment. However I did read an interview with Ringo once, that he said with guys like those standing out in front of him, he never felt pressure to outshine them, he enjoyed just being the background support. But you know, his his quirky drumming style is an important thread in the tapestry that was the Beatles. He was the glue, an in arguments at the end he played that part also, I believe he was the one who stayed friends with all of them with no animosity, and I think, individually, they all helped on his initial solo records. Talking about too many things I miss here! Steve and The Beatles.

            1. You are so right about all of it. Another thing I like about Ringo—his character in A Hard Day’s Night was the best acted of the foursome and most poignant, in addition to being very funny.

            2. I begged my parent’s to go see AHDN, I was 9 at the time. They didn’t want to see it but paid for one happy neighborhood teenager to take me. I was madly in love with George in those days. I had Beatles pics covering our dining room walls—lucky I had a tolerant mother.
              I still have my original copy of the rare Vee Jay album “Introducing the Beatles,” and the others, but unfortunately missed getting the even more rare butcher cover album. I was born in Steve’s time, I’m roughly a month older than Steve so our age related impacts are very much the same.

    3. What very few people seem to realize is that Apple is led by two leaders, and it is very intentional.

      When Steve Jobs was CEO, it was Jobs and Cook. Jobs was the “creator” and Cook was the “executor.” One with an unlimited imagination, tempered by the pragmatist.

      Now, after a brief transition period and Ive’s appointment as the consolidated head of both software and hardware design, Apple’s leaders are Cook and Ive. Cook is the “executor” and Ive is the “creator.”

      It’s not like Tim Cook wants to be “the next Steve Jobs.” He knows his strengths, and with Apple as large as it is now, his operations expertise is VERY valuable to Apple, more now than ever before.

      By the time Tim Cook retires, there will be a new operations guru at Apple. That person is probably at Apple already, picked by Cook. Meanwhile, Jony Ive gains the management experience he needs to become the next CEO. Then, it will be Ive and that new operations head, one the “creator” and the other the “executor.” The cycle continues…

      The people who want Tim Cook replaced don’t have a clue about how Apple works. They think Cook is doing poorly in place of Steve Jobs. Of course he is… Jony Ive was only recently appointed to oversee both hardware and software design; HE is now in the “creator” position to replace Steve Jobs. Tim Cook is now CEO, but he also continues as the “executor.”

    1. The problem is Ive is a product guy. His strength is in building product, not running a company.

      Cook is still more suitable at being the CEO. People dissing at Tim Cook never answer the real questions…who exactly are you going to replace Tim Cook with? Any why do you think this person will run Apple better than Cook?

      1. You are 100% correct: Sir Jony is a product guy, not a business leader.

        But imagine how gorgeous the annual reports would look, every page carefully considered and crafted from machined bond paper, infused with just the right balance of absorbative and reflective ink, capturing the very essence of the financial results….

        1. That sounds like bringing in oh I don’t know, maybe John Skulley (sp?). Refresh my memory, how did that work out for Apple in the end?
          That’s not to say Alan Mulally isn’t a talented leader, he does not seem to be a fit for Apple.

    1. Ive is smart, being CEO is being targets for Wall Street, analyst, journalists shoot you down like Tim Cook has to deal with constantly headache of the press!. Again if Ive is doing so well with technical he should remain with his expertise where he is good at.

  1. Where do people get this bizarre idea that Ive is good at public presentations? If you believe that, please send me a link that demonstrates it, because every live presentation I’ve ever seen him make has been miserable – with the one possible exception of the memorial service for Steve Jobs (and that was ok). Jony knows that he is poor it public presentations, and that’s why he doesn’t do them. Please give this bad idea a rest.

      1. Apparently you are NOT Able to Read because I very clearly mentioned the event from the MDN take – Ive’s comments at the Apple memorial service for Steve Jobs. Yes, Jony gave a heartfelt tribute to his late friend. But that is light-years removed from being able to get up on a stage, without hand-held notes or a podium, and making a persuasive product presentation. The videos that showcase Ive are scripted and tightly edited – that is the best (and in my view, only) way to use him.

      1. The significance is that it ain’t American! Can’t have one of these tea-drinking, wrong-side-driving, cricket-playing, silly-walking snobs be the face of a great American company! Have you forgotten that our forefathers fought a war to liberate us these from these monarchy loving sissies?

  2. Why does the media always have to tie one person to Apple. Obviously we know why it was done with Steve but he’s gone and Apple is a different company now. What makes Apple great right now is the close collaboration between all the executives, something Steve Jobs didn’t push the way Cook is.

  3. Tim Cook has proven he CAN run this company. Reorganizing it as he has was a brilliant move; hardware engineering, software engineering, design, online services. And cutting off uncooperative fat that hindered collaboration rather than foster it. Apple’s products from here on out will be more seamlessly integrated as never before.

  4. The general public ignorance of human personalities persists.

    Jon Ives will NOT be giving presentations live. He has set his limit. Be happy he gives prerecorded presentations. He is a creator win an introverted personality. Typically, this personality is extremely inventive. People with this personality typically also have ZERO, Naught, No interest in doing anything related to marketing. That sort of stuff is for those other people who don’t create anything, but are great and talkity talking. schmoozing, relating with others and selling stuff.

    Long live the difference. Do NOT be stupid enough to try to make Jon Ive into a marketing guy. NOT going to happen. NOT a reasonable idea. LEARN about human personalities. Understanding them is KEY to good business these days. Ignorance of personalities within today’s quality business environment is NOT ACCEPTABLE. 🙄

    1. Past my tea time. Please read:
      “He is a creator WITH…”
      “but are great AT talky talking,”

      I will add my usual comment:
      -> There is no such thing as a viable monoculture. Whenever it is attempted, it immediately falls apart. This applies to life. This applies to politics. This applies to any human endeavor. Give up on the concept. Diversity rulz. Deal with it.

      I.E. Vive la différence!

  5. I wonder how many opinionated commentators have ever actually run a business… Cook’s responsibilities cover every aspect of the corporation, despite his ability to delegate. Cook must develop and implement a corporate strategy which ensures that all aspects of the corporation are synchronised to deliver against the plan – a plan which extends many years into the future.

    Ive, on the other hand, has creative control but remains unburdened with the minutae of day to day operations. Creative people need space and time to develop ideas, and Ive can lock himself away in his design studio with his team without worrying about day to day crises or constant interruptions from staff.

    Apple is not Ive’s company, it’s Cook’s company – it is Cook who pulls all the threads together and keeps the corporation on track, balancing all the factors which drive Apple forward. A great deal of Cook’s work is detailed number-crunching, project management and problem solving – there is no indication that Ive has any interest in, or competence, in the management of the nuts and bolts of the business.

    Cook’s non-COO tasks as CEO are related to the development, and execution, of the corporate strategy and the orchestration of the talents of every department. He must also manage relations with the press and stockholders, as well as regulators, business partners and customers.

    We can’t know what Apple’s long-term plans are. But we do know that Apple does plan many years into the future, across many market segments, many of which Apple will create.

    The success, or otherwise, of Cook as CEO will be measured against his ability to keep Apple running efficiently; inspire his team; deliver innovation and reward Apple’s stockholders. So far, so good, with a few hiccups as the corporation settles into the post-Jobs era.

    If this were any other corporation Cook would not face the barrage of criticism which has followed the death of Jobs. In part that is due to the hero status of Jobs, whose mistakes and faults are swept aside by the emotional need of humans to sanctify their heroes. But most of the criticism, in my opinion, stems from Apple’s refusal to run with the pack – and, in particular, Apple’s refusal to share inside information with analysts and journalists who must instead invent stories to satisfy the public hunger for information about the world’s most admired corporation.

    If Apple were a European corporation the situation would be very different: the US is unique in its extraordinary contempt for the truth and Americans’ deeply held belief that their individual opinions, on any and every topic, are as valid as anyone else’s opinions, even when they know nothing about the subject. In a nation where the right to lie is embedded in the nation’s constitution, is it really any surprise that truth is hard to find?

    1. Very good points, except for the unnecessary America-baiting. Tech punditry in the UK, for one, have been every bit as hard on Apple & Tim Cook as the scurrilous US variety. But regardless of national origin, it’s the pundits who foment the commenters.

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