iPhone interface creator Greg Christie out after a falling out with Jony Ive, sources say

“Following friction between top Apple Human Interface Vice President Greg Christie and Senior Vice President Jony Ive, Apple’s hardware and software design is being dramatically shaken up, according to sources familiar with the matter,” Mark Gurman reports for 9to5Mac.

“After adding human interface design direction to his responsibilities in 2012, Ive will soon completely subsume Apple’s software design group, wresting control away from long-time human interface design chief Christie, according to sources briefed on the matter,” Gurman reports. “Previous to this shakeup, all Apple software design has been led by Christie, who has reported to Craig Federighi, and Ive has been attending interface design meetings and providing instruction.”

“The design shakeup at Apple will result in Christie soon leaving the company, with all software designers now working directly under Ive with the rest of his industrial design team instead of within Federighi’s engineering group,” Gurman reports. “Sources say that Christie’s upcoming departure is significant and stems from a falling out with Ive… Christie also has hundreds of Apple patents in his name such as the iconic ‘Slide to Unlock’ patent… Christie has been a part of Apple and the technology industry long enough to have worked on the first Newton and the transition of Mac OS to OS X and its Aqua interface in the early 2000s.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: When it comes to Apple design, Jony owns it all now. This should help Apple deliver even better, even more copacetic, unified products.


    1. Well the article said that Ive went above Christies head to execute iOS 7 design so it lend itself to reason that iOS 7 and the mess thereof is Ive’s fault.

        1. Or maybe you can read the actual article and not just the MDN blurb…

          “When Ive tasked Apple’s Human Interface team with redesigning iOS 7 to include an entirely new look, Christie and Ive reportedly clashed over design direction, after which Ive is said to have circumvented Christie’s leadership of the team during the new operating system’s development.”

          The troll is the one who DIDN’T read… not the other way around.

        2. It seems that although iOS 7 has some nice new features, everyone I know liked the “look” of iOS 6 better. I certainly do. I think Ive may be great at hardware design, but software design is really a different thing and it should be left to the experts. I think this is a bad road for Apple to put Ive in charge of software. His focus should be on what he does best. What experience has he had over the past 10 years to say that he should be in charge of software design? We’ll see how this turns out, but I am not liking the changes that I see in my latest update. I never said that before.

        3. Everyone I know in a large corporation, plus my friends and family, also liked iOS 6 over 7. No brainer.

          Visiting a T-Mobile store last week for the first time checked out an e-mail coupon advertising huge savings on Samsung phones.

          Breaking news for Apple: I’m told 95% of iPhone users visiting the store complained about the look of iOS 7. Do you hear me now?

          The manager of the store also said most customers walked out with a large screen smartphone not made by Apple. All store employees were sporting Samsung phones.

          So I asked employees, why not iPhone? The answers were the latest Android OS had many more cutting edge features, they liked the larger screen, visuals and the lower price. The two iPhone choices of high end or plastic small screens were disappointing to them.

          Ive gave us a lifeless, cold and sterile iOS. Fonts hard to read and the light roads in Maps is simply useless. No small streams either unlike Google Maps with tiny creeks in bright blue. The veins of the earth, missing in Maps.

          No one can argue 7 is not a radical design change with esoteric icons or that it inspires warm and fuzzy feelings. I love my 4S with 6 and can read and understand everything on my phone.

          So. Now that Scott and Greg are out of favor, out of the way really — the consolidation of power solidifies one unchallenged stark visual view. The last vestiges of Steve’s superior graphic design vision is in peril …

          OSX is next. 🙁

        4. Oh come now….The employees are all carrying Shamescum phones because T-Mobile gets a kickback. Same goes for them pushing Samescam phones on an ignorant public. “This is just as good as the iPhone”…..it worked for Windows P.O.S. machines for years. If you believe everything you hear in a phone store, I have some oceanfront land in Las Vegas I’ll sell you.

        5. Interesting take. You might be right, I don’t know for certain. Simply reported what I was told. But I do know over a hundred 7 users that don’t like it. And that’s the fact, Jack!

        6. tiny creeks in bright blue…veins of the earth, missing in Maps

          Nice bit of poetry that.

          Another thing: the number of street names displayed is reduced to a point of creeping disorientation — the very opposite of a map’s purpose.

        7. Here’s what Gruber says:

          “I’ve been asking around since the news broke this afternoon. What I’ve heard, from several sources: Christie and Ive may not see eye to eye on UI design style, but his departure isn’t nearly as contentious as Mark Gurman’s report at 9to5Mac implies. The basic gist I’ve heard is that Christie is a guy who’s been in a high-pressure, high-profile job for 18 years, most of it reporting to Steve Jobs. He’s made a lot of money and is ready to enjoy it. That’s largely in line with the Apple PR line given to the WSJ, but I heard all of this from ground-level Cupertino-area pixel-pushing designers.

          Interestingly, Christie’s retirement was announced internally a few weeks ago — yet it didn’t leak outside the company until today. Also interesting (and backing up the company line that his departure is not contentious): he’s staying at the company until later this year — and from what I’ve heard, it’s more like “end of the year”. If it’s ugly, why hang around?

          There’s no way to spin the fact that Ive is taking more authority (or perhaps better said, consolidating all aspects of “design” under his direct authority), and surely that played some part in Christie’s decision. But from what I’ve gathered, it is wrong to think that Ive in any way forced Christie out.”

        1. You think iOS 7 looks dated? I don’t know if you’ve gone back to look at iOS 6 after a few months away from it, but I have. It looks awful in comparison. iOS 7 is a breath of fresh air. The animations and transparency are what bring it to life.

        2. Hey I’ve not been iOS 7’s greatest fans from a graphical point of view but let’s have done sanity for overall it works better than the 2 previous versions which were stagnant and over detailed in design. Don’t like the look but a new look was a necessity as 3 dimensional stitching was becoming more important than actual usability. Hopefully now that a change and the break has been made it can be honed and developed in a more pleasing and consistent way while real innovation can be introduced in its capabilities.

        3. I like iOS 7. The latest iterations seem to have addressed many of the issues with it. The font issue is basically fixed. I like the clean uncluttered look of it. I was a bit taken aback after the switch, but after using it for several months, I’ve grown to like it a lot. Unlike some mobile OS’s, it doesn’t get in the way. I can fly through tasks and apps quickly and efficiently. Are there features that can be improved and enhanced? Of course, that’s what updates are for.

          To those still on the “I hate iOS 7!” soapbox, I say, get over it, and get a life. It isn’t that bad, I think it’s pretty damn good. Creating a touch interface is an incredibly complex task. To expect absolute perfection from day one is very presumptuous. Apple has been making steady improvements to it, and I like what I’ve seen and the direction they’re going.

        4. Rubbish, iOS6 virtually bricked my iPad despite it being 3 months old when I updated to it. It introduced no noticeable improvements to my eye looked visually as over designed as before ( as much as I loved the look years before) and was looking predictable, safe and very stale. Don’t love the iOS7 look but would never go back to previous incarnations as it is faster, smoother and offers more functionality so I can forgive the garishness. The icons are my one complaint but needed simplifying but not in the way they have been. Let’s hope that is remedied but I have got used to even that to be honest.

        5. Something is wrong with your device.

          After having iOS 7 on my iOS devices since its inception, I can safely say that iOS 6 used to crash (not often, every once in a while), but iOS 7 never even once crashed since I updated my devices. It is faster, more stable, visually more appealing (when picking up my brother’s 4S with iOS 6, it looks positively archaic, unintuitive, archane and slow!), I am just truly tired from this extremely loud, vocal minority that resists change with full force.

          On behalf of 120 million iOS users who are happy with iOS 7 (an educated guess, pulled out of thin air), I want to declare that iOS 7 is superior, more elegant, more efficient, more stable and more reliable than iOS 6 (and prior versions).

          When people are happy, they don’t feel compelled to share the feeling with others. Those who are unhappy about something feel the need to tell everyone as often and as loudly as they can. This skews the real picture significantly.

          Majority of people love iOS 7. I’m sure Ive knows that and isn’t losing much sleep over those complaints.

        6. What’s an unforced restart? I have iOS 7, the latest iteration, on my iPhone 4, 5, and iPad 3, and I have no recollection of any of them doing that. Occasionally locking up and needing a restart to clear memory, but certainly never, ever restarting on their own.
          And all three devices were bought brand new at release.
          I’ll get back to you regarding Mavericks, it’s only just been installed on my mid-2010 Mac Mini.

      1. Being able to use something at all, and having good usability are 2 different things… White on white with thin fonts and bright colors just doesn’t look good. Maybe it does to some, but many just aren’t happy about it. Your quip and sarcasm doesn’t change the bevy of documented user criticism and displeasure over the new design.

        Sure you can’t please everyone, but when complaints are pouring in and article after article are written which talk about said complaints then something is at least a little wrong… You’d have to be dense on purpose or truly oblivious to anything that isn’t your own opinion to not see that… Fact remains if the new design direction lead by Ive was a hit, then they wouldn’t be slowly backing out of decisions which led to stark usability issues by adding more and more options into accessibility to undo at least some of the poor choices. Usability goes beyond not liking the design…

        People criticized iOS 6 for being too skeuomorphic however they didn’t complain about things just visually looking off, obscured, blindingly bright, blindingly white, or touch zone ambiguous, or missing key vital visual cues or actual features of the previous OS.

        iOS 7 as it stands now, looks more like a toy or one of those tablets made for children that you can buy from Toys R Us than it does a full fledged corporate ready sleek productivity machine. The hardware design is sleek for sure but the OS just doesn’t match the sleek look for hardware which is probably why they definitely had to launch the 5C so at least on some phones it wouldn’t look out of place.

        1. If iOS7 looks toyish I think Windows Phones and tablets look straight out of Fisher-Price. Android just a wall with lots of sh*t thrown on it. I think in recent updates some of the iOS 7 design elements have been altered due to criticism. I don’t have a problem with it and it certainly isn’t life or death but just a bunch of spoiled brats (see Louis CK’s take on technology) making too much of it (you can please some of the people some of the time but you can never please all of the people all of the time). No matter whatr anybody does someone won’t like it.

          Like anything the interface is in flux and improvements will no doubt be made in iOS 8, hopefully to more universal liking but I suspect 99% of most folks like iOS 7 fine.

        2. The difference with Android is, if your opinion is it looks like a piece of ****, you can change it, if it is not functional for you you can correct it, you can even make it look like IOS if you want too. This is one of the downsides of IOS, if you do not like what you are given you are stuck with it and everyone has their own view on design and how they want to use their phones, so you will never please everyone.

        3. If you don’t like iOS then yes by all means buy an Android or Windows Phone. All sizes don’t have to fit all except for the ADD or ADHD cases out there never satisfied with anything. For me there are no downsides to iOS over Android. It’s quite the other way around.

  1. This is bad. Ive believes function should follow form. Apple software will further devolve into flashy uselessness. Honestly, my Nokia E71 had better calendar functionality.

      1. Maybe too many cooks in the kitchen. In any case, hope this means something more consistent, practical, and beneficial function.. And not jus a matter of looks…

    1. Calendar is probably the app with the most problems and complaints. Right? It is also the app they changed the most, right? I mean it seems so to me, anyway. (No, I didn’t conduct a poll.) I find this troubling. Oh yeah, I almost forgot about the changes to iWork apps. Big changes, most complaints and very real problems. Troubling trend.

  2. Personally, I agree with MDN.

    However, there will be some readers who will predict disaster.

    They seem to forget that personal taste is just personal. There are few universal truths in fashion.

    The color pink wasn’t associated much with females until the mid-1940’s There are earlier references to pink being the preferred color for boys because it’s a “stronger” color, and blue for girls, because it’s “softer.”

    Blame the advertising industry for the preferences you have now that you think are somehow innate.

    1. Blame advertising companies for my preference to actually see the information on my screen without squinting? Not liking bright white on white with thin fonts and bright colors isn’t just a preference it presents a hurdle of usability in many different scenarios especially ones involving using your phone early in the morning when just waking up or in the day light… It made these scenarios (among many others) that much more unusable.

      1. Thin fonts on white (as long as they are not ultra thin) can actually be more visible as the eye recognises edges not flat areas of colour. My eyes are far from good yet have no problem with readability of the used fonts. In fact it is generally bold fonts that are more difficult and uncomfortable to read which is why they are used sparingly to have immediate impact without allowing the eyes and brain to gradually turn off from them while reading. One needs a little balance.

    2. The weird thing with pink now is that if you are a man who wears it a large section of people think it’s worthy of kudos, like you’re making a statement or something. I just wear the colours I think I look good wearing, but it does depend on the item of clothing itself. A pink shirt works, a pink T-shirt not so much, and pink trousers Oh God No!!

  3. Whatever it was about, it was SER-I-OUS. But, come on, Greg. You want to go against Jony about something on that level? I don’t think Apple’s going to pick you over him.

  4. First Scott Forstall and now Christie. Tim Cook doesn’t have the fortitude to keep the gang together like Steve did. Combine this with news of iTunes music sales falling off a cliff and Apple is looking more rudderless with every day that goes by.

  5. One critical problem here: Jony Ive is not a software coder.

    Ideally, this breaks Apple free to get off the 2D GUI and get into the 3D GUI. But I don’t think so. Ive designs in 3D, but he hasn’t done anything at all with 3D GUIs. The parallax effect iPhone 5S with iOS 7 is not 3D. It’s just 2D trickery.

    But I’m always blethering on about 3D. I’m impatient.

    1. Ive doesn’t need to be a coder. You think Christie is clacking away on a terminal writing code for swiping left? Come on. They’re both executives who manage the big picture.

      1. The ideal is to have a boss who knows how to do what you do. In this case, that means knowing how to code.

        Meanwhile: Ive has never been discussed as a great manager. I can’t remember a single discussion about his managerial skills. He’s a designer. His world is visual.

        I’ve had to consider this situation myself, being someone who sucks at coding, but is great at system analysis and design. I decided it simply wasn’t fair or wise for me to become a software project manager.

        Some coders think its great to have a manager who doesn’t second guess their coding. But to be realistic, the manager should know exactly what their staff is doing down to fine detail.

        1. Derek,
          From the perspective of someone who enjoys and agrees with many of your posts, I am puzzled by and disagree with this one.

          At the level of micro-business, or small teams of independents, somebody is going to be managing several people with different skills. And above the level of the team of programmers, there has to be someone who is the boss of those programmers, plus a maybe bunch of designers, plus a bunch of hardware prototypers, a couple engineers, and a bunch of support admin people.

          For example, imagine the vastly disparate people Steve managed.

          So if it’s “ideal” at all, having a boss who can do what you do can only be ideal at a very particular level of the organization.

          I know one quite high level project manager. He started off in coding, but now manages many who can code at a much higher level than he can. But he’s a very good, successful and in-demand manager.

        2. I am headed into personal ignorance territory if I go any further into this situation. I studied project management at a school, which means I never was ‘in situ’. I never was there. Circumstances forced me to move on. So I defer to your experience. I wish we could have a long talk about it as it still interests me.

  6. Ive’s the one who should be forced back to hardware design only ! Christie knew the iOS 7 design was a clusterfuck and now the poison is spreading to other products. Glad I’m not a Mac user.
    Next up, an announcement of a design partnership with Fisher Price!

  7. Why does there have to be only one visual design for the icons and/or other UI elements? Keep the sizing of the elements uniform, but offer some theme/skin choices such as industrial, playful, subtle or organic, etc.

  8. All Ive has done with the hideous iOS 7 right now is sullied and besmirched his once spotless reputation for design taste and elegance by dabbling in an area in which he has absolutely no expertise, that of software design. He caused the removal of one of Apple’s brightest shining stars, a potential CEO elect and head of iOS Scott Forstall, to be summarily fired because Ive expressed his prima donna side after the demise of Steve Jobs.

    iOS 7 looks like an amateur’s attempt at designing a mobile OS with unusable interfaces and navigation items that are a regression to an era where computers could not handle complex graphics. Ive has totally destroyed and negated the value of Apple’s own graphics engine Core Image and Core Animation by producing limpid looking lifeless 2-D line objects on screen that do not adequate express the function they perform because they’re cryptic lines.

    In short iOS 7 is one ugly beast. The only people who like iOS 7 are either blind or dumb or both, no question about it.

        1. WatchfulOne, don’t forget those Flower Power and blue Dalmatian iMacs!

          And, Goat, your post would be much more effective if you left of the first sentence and the last paragraph. I’m curious what kind of mentality thinks that insulting someone makes a point more effective.

        2. Thanks. And, yes, it was snarky.

          But remember I was responding to, “As usual you display a level of ignorance that is truly astounding………… That’s why you should inhabit your man cave and never come anywhere near running Apple with your Ballmereque attitude for tasteless turd.”

          There are some people whose posts consist mostly or solely of obscenity and personal insult. They are simply poisonous little fucks who can be discounted.
          But for your post — I find it unfortunate, if I may say so, when someone is making a sensible and valuable point and feels the need to contaminate it with that kind of negativity.

        3. Oops. Tired. Mixed up about the order there.

          But the point remains the same, with the substitution of “The only people who like iOS 7 are either blind or dumb or both, no question about it.” as what I was reacting snarkily to.

          And the point remains the same about find it unfortunately when valid points are contaminated with needless obscenity or personal insult. I snapped back at your insulting me as an iOS 7 liker.

          Much as I disagree with some of what you are saying, there is a lot that is well articulated, as, for example, in, “All Ive has done with the hideous iOS 7 right now is sullied and besmirched his once spotless reputation for design taste and elegance by dabbling in an area in which he has absolutely no expertise,” There is no need to cap that post of with a bombastic insult to everyone who disagrees with you by liking iOS 7. Thanks again.

    1. Ah, there he is again, Goat sim, the arbiter of good taste for all, expressing more nonsense about “2-D line objects”. Oh no, not the “2-D line objects!”

      Please enlighten us all with one real, actual example of “2-D line objects… that do not adequate (sic) express the function they perform because they’re cryptic lines”?

      1. Thanks, I have a degree in design, so I didn’t really need a lesson on what line-art iconography is. I was asking for a specific example of something in iOS 7 that’s supposedly so horrible.

        We’re almost there, though… ‘More’ button. Great. I don’t know what ‘more’ button you’re taking about, though. I probably use it instinctively without even thinking about it. Which app, and specifically where on the screen, are we talking about?

        Also, might I ask what is your chosen profession and what training and education you posses which qualifies you to critique design choices made by a design team working for one of the foremost software companies on the planet? Just curious. Thanks.

    2. I like it, I’m certainly not as dumb as you are, and, as someone who spent years photo-retouching for high-end clients at a design and print company, I can be absolutely sure I’m not blind.
      I can also be absolutely certain that you are a fuckwit, goatsucker.

  9. The comment about patents in Christie’s name is stupid. The reason for that is because a corporation may not apply for a patent, only a living, breathing person. However, employees sign agreements with their companies that transfer patents to the company (or a person within the company) if they leave the company for any reason. Apple’s not losing any patents.

    1. Somebody not knowing something does not make the comment or them stupid. Why bother writing that? The rest of your post is informative and I thank you for that. For the unnecessary insult… please don’t include next time.

  10. OS X 10.10 will be revamped with a flatter look that loses the textures that Christie utilized to make the iPhone the most popular gadget on the planet.
    Go ahead……..F**k up the look so it’s flat, JUST LIKE MICROSOFT, and I may BUY MICROSOFT.
    Inside is an Intel, AND WIntel HAS MORE SOFTWARE.
    If Apple “looks’ like MS, I will buy a PC.
    But I don’t really want to talk about FLAT or not…
    Show me a Custom designed chip BETTER than Intel.
    Make me feel the excitement I had with the AMIGA, when it had Custom graphics chips (with 4,096 colors), when the MAC had only black ‘n white.
    So, gimme a custom chip with PIXAR built-in graphics on-a chip, and leave the “look” 3d !

  11. whoever is responsible for IOS7 should be punished, it is the worst operating system then the more bug free IOS6. IOS7 is to buggy and ugly android like, just horrible

  12. I think ios7 has started a move towards are more modern, contemporary and ultimately better UI/UX for the next decade.

    Right now it’s in transition and without a doubt has some rough edges. Change is good. Sometimes it’s important to f*ck up. Sometimes it’s important to over-reach. All the time it’s important to have better people that oneself question, criticise and mentor.

    Let’s wait until July and in the post-WWDC14 world take a proper look at where iOS and osx are going.

    I suspect they’re going in a great direction. But it’s cool to question that.

    If they happen to sort out osx labels – you know, solid bars of color one could recognise a kilometre away that suddenly become dots in a bland landscape – that would be a bonus.

      1. Yeah, evolution is for the birds, no I mean actually dinosaurs who descended from birds, but heck software isn’t live, so why evolve?

        After all, once SJ did it, there must be no change to perfection, regardless of new features and uses.

    1. That is total BS.
      iOS 7 is a catastrophe, the Hello Kitty colors, white-on-neon text and tiny icons all make it harder to use. I defy you to tell me the calendar in iOS 7 is fun and straightforward to navigate.
      The prospect of Ive being let loose on OS X is frightening.
      His hardware is sublime but it DOES NOT mean he has a clue about interface design. Now that he has no tempering force Apple is doomed to stay on the path to neon oblivion until he retires.
      And what the F do you mean ‘scalable’???

      1. iOS 7 isn’t a catastrophe at all; it’s a very nice evolution of an operating system which hadn’t changed much visually in over five years, and was looking a bit stale and dated.

        Where are these “Hello Kitty” colors you speak of? A couple of app icons?

        Where is this “white-on-neon” text?

        Where are these “tiny icons”?

        For the record, I have no problem whatsoever navigating Calendar. In fact, to me it’s vastly simpler visually, and much less-cluttered than the old Calendar app.

  13. Ive is a master in hardware design… but he fails in human interface. Making all flat can be a “feelings freezer”!
    Apple, please, find a human interface master and let him be as influent as Ive… and find him quickly!

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