Jony Ive promoted to ‘Chief Design Officer’

Tim Cook has announced to Apple employees regarding promotions for Jony Ive, Richard Howarth, and Alan Dye. Via 9to5Mac, here it is, verbatim:


I have exciting news to share with you today. I am happy to announce that Jony Ive is being promoted to the newly created position of Chief Design Officer at Apple.

Jony is one of the most talented and accomplished designers of his generation, with an astonishing 5000 design and utility patents to his name. His new role is a reflection of the scope of work he has been doing at Apple for some time. Jony’s design responsibilities have expanded from hardware and, more recently, software UI to the look and feel of Apple retail stores, our new campus in Cupertino, product packaging and many other parts of our company.

Design is one of the most important ways we communicate with our customers, and our reputation for world-class design differentiates Apple from every other company in the world. As Chief Design Officer, Jony will remain responsible for all of our design, focusing entirely on current design projects, new ideas and future initiatives. On July 1, he will hand off his day-to-day managerial responsibilities of ID and UI to Richard Howarth, our new vice president of Industrial Design, and Alan Dye, our new vice president of User Interface Design.

Richard, Alan and Jony have been working together as colleagues and friends for many years. Richard has been a member of the Design team for two decades, and in that time he has been a key contributor to the design of each generation of iPhone, Mac, and practically every other Apple product. Alan started at Apple nine years ago on the Marcom team, and helped Jony build the UI team which collaborated with ID, Software Engineering and countless other groups on groundbreaking projects like iOS 7, iOS 8 and Apple Watch.

Please join me in congratulating these three exceptionally talented designers on their new roles at Apple.


Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Congrats to all, but it’s funny that Tim thinks he gave Jony a “promotion.” What Jony wants, Jony gets.

The fact is that Apple without Jony Ive is worse off than Apple without Tim Cook.  Tim Cook is easier to replace than Jony Ive.

Steve Jobs called Jonathan Ive his ‘spiritual partner’ at Apple. He told his biographer Walter Isaacson that Ive had ‘more operation power’ at Apple than anyone besides Jobs himself — that there’s no one at the company who can tell Ive what to do. That, Jobs said, is “the way I set it up.”

Related article:
Jony Ive is the most powerful person at Apple – December 12, 2014
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. ‘design officer’

      in my understanding is not a recognized post like ‘Chief Financial officer’ or ‘ CEO ‘ which the SEC requires in company filings.

  1. MDN: Not quite…

    Ive doesn’t have a fraction of the busoness accumen that Tim Cook has and that is ess ntial to running a company the size and the complexity of Apple. Ive may be the most talented, spiritual and insightful/ visionary design genius, but he would drown in the sea of operational detail that Apple needs to keep ticking on all cylinders.

    Jobs recognized that and that’s why he chose him as a successor to lead Apple. That’s the way he set it up.

    1. Yes, Jobs understood that Ive’s passions are in design, concepts, products, not management.

      And Jobs has set it up in a way where Ive could be able to be creative artists.

      Timothy Cook’s decision advances that thought greatly.

    2. MDN’s grasp of how real global scale companies work has always been very weak. Aside from not understanding what Jobs meant regarding the unique position Ive and design have inside Apple, MDN is clueless to the immense operational complexity and responsibility associated with a $200 billion corporation. The authority to run that is vested in Tim Cook, backed by a board of directors who would choose Tim over Jony in that role in a heartbeat.

  2. The Apple Watch and watch software are amazing innovation. The link bank, the sport band and the classic leather are very innovative. Hell, even the packaging for my black stainless steel and the bands I’ve picked up are simply incredible.

    1. In your last comment, made not 10 minutes before this one:-
      _”Fluck off troll. Freakin’ Gaagle or samdung trolls working on a holiday. Are you the call center for android updates? Must be pretty boring.”_
      Now you’re suddenly all nice.
      You need to seek professional help.
      Dissociative identity disorder is no laughing matter.

  3. Oh shit. Thinner iPhones with marginal battery life and further protruding cameras, even less expandable Macs, uglier operating systems all around and a complete disregard for Apple’s famous Human Interface Guidelines.

    The guy should be fired, not promoted.

    1. Frankly, I’ve never had doe eyes for Ive either. The previous Mac Pro was gorgeous, the MBA was breakthrough design. On the other hand, the iPhone 6 is meh, the Watch is a pudgy little wrist sausage. Ive is the guy that gave us the unusable mouse puck, the fugly bondi iMac, the new iMac with the Elephant Man chin, and a Mac Pro that looks like a Bang & Olufsen trash can. Anyone see that Fred Flintstone desk he created last year?

      Thanks for some great work Jony, seriously. Now you can stop whining about wanting to be back in the land of bad food, bad weather, and bad teeth. Don’t forget to pose on a yoga ball before you go so MDN can have something to cherish. Newson, step into the batter’s box.

      1. Yes, the previous generation Mac Pro was Apple’s most beautiful and practical design (for a professional / prosumer) but I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for the iMac G4 (iLamp). “Bang & Olufsen trash can”, LOL! Consider that stolen!

    1. Totally agree.

      Flat graphic design is KINDERGARTEN DESIGN.

      Adults should do better.

      That said, Jony’s industrial design skills are second to NONE.

            1. maybe not.

              despite my antediluvian preference for the old, not-flat iconage, i have a hunch that the switch was made, at least in part, with the apple watch in mind.

              simpler graphics means less processor capability and battery life required to portray them, and therefore frees them up to be used on other, more vital features.

              by making the switch earlier on other products, the apple watch would then not be such a glaring departure, thereby removing what would inevitably be a source of carping and controversy, as it was on osX etc.

              my guess is they knew how important the watch would be to their future and wanted to maximize battery life and processor capability to make it practical and appealing to consumers.

              short battery life would be a real buzz-kill for the watch

            2. It makes sense for the Apple Watch. It makes some sense what you say about prepping users for the change by doing it to iOS first.

              However, it makes *no* sense the amount of flattening and de-contrasting of elements that’s been done to the GUI in Mac OS X Yosemite.

    2. John Underkoffler made his name with the whizz bang UI for Minority Report. Tried to turn it into a product via his company oblong, but it turns out waving your hands around in space is a shitty way to manipulate a computer.

      1. The video also demonstrates the use of a collaborative wand held in one hand.

        Doing some research on the topic of 3D GUIs today, I found an ambitious article from 1997. And we’re still not there. Obviously, as you pointed out, there’s a lot of experimentation and failure.

        But we have incredibly 3D games in which we joyfully and skillfully navigate on quests of discovery. NONE of this translates into the GUI?

        We have the INCREDIBLE manipulation abilities afforded by the modern Mac and iOS device trackpads. This can be used to manipulate 3D game worlds. But we can’t use it to navigate a 3D GUI?

        What’s going on here? I find it really strange that I have to turn to Google Earth (not invented at Google BTW) to be able to play with something actually useful in real 3D. (Although, Apple Maps has some nice 3D features of its own).

        1. Sorry, but your obvious interest in these gimmicky 3D interfaces, does not mean they are the future of computer interaction. Nor does a brief demonstration at TED make it so.

          “Flat” is more true and natural for a fixed, two dimensional glass touch display. Especially one that is 4-6″.

          1. Never did I say anything about ‘gimmicky’. Note the one adjective I did use was ‘functional’ with regard to Google Earth.

            Neither did I say there was ONLY ‘a brief demonstration at TED’. You apparently don’t like doing your own research. I’m not going to do it for you kiddo.

        2. “But we have incredibly 3D games in which we joyfully and skillfully navigate on quests of discovery. NONE of this translates into the GUI?”

          As you said, navigating games on quests of discovery. I’m not on a quest, I just want to open my document or project as quickly as possible.

          The goal of each discipline are pretty much at odds with each other. In a game, if I could just double click an icon and win, it’d be the worst game ever. In a GUI, if I have to travel through rows of icons until I see the app or document I’m looking for, I’ll go mad.

          1. That may explain why no one in the industry has bothered to use 3D GUI elements. But I strongly expect that there are great 3D GUI elements again and that they’ll be extremely useful. For some reason, it’s some sort of leap in current GUI designer and user’s minds to move into a 3D world on a computer GUI, despite the fact that we live in a 3D world every moment of our lives.

            Concept: Start with a simple DESK. It has a desktop. We’ve got that down beautifully. Tilt 90º and we could have access to infinite file drawer of stuff, which I’d find to be FAR more sane than the Labels / Tags we’re using now.

            There’s a simple starter.

  4. Jony Ive may be a box design “genius” BUT (and what a big but it is), he is not an electrical engineers or software engineer. Under his direction the GUI on my first Mac (in 1964) has a more intuitive design. My perception here is that Jony Ive is colour blind and doesn’t see a real need to actually provide the alternative of having a colourful interface.

    Winning a pi$$ing match with Scott doesn’t make him a better software engineer or designer. Just the winner of a pissing match. We as customers are on the short end of the stick.

    Since Yosemite appeared on the scene, I have had more kernel panics, more problems with APPLE software products, let alone third party ones, then in all of the years I’ve owned Macs.

    Falling into a hole doesn’t make you a genius, it make you an ass in a hole. I have zero respect for Mr. Inflated Ego. Typical pommie.

    I love Apple products. If I didn’t, I would still be using them AND I am seriously disappointed with the direction the company has gone. Close to zero customer support when I walk in the door of an Apple store. And to see DH Jony’s ego stroked a bit more is truly sad.

    I can see why Steve Jobs era Apple employees are leaving in droves.

    If there was a better operating system out there, I’d be using it.

    nuf said.

    BTW – may all who have lost friends, comrades in arms, family members to the horrors of war, may you receive solace this day from those who know you and from strangers in a strange land. Bless you.

    1. I sat down and actually thought about how the interfaces in my 3rd party software ( used in90% of my productive life) vs. Apple apps like Pages, etc.

      Couldn’t do it because I really dont use them anymore, just dont have the functionality, can’t remember the last time I used Pages or Numbers, Keynote. Opened them to look at them each time there is an update, but…..thats it. Mail is OK, but tending to go toward Firefox because web pages are more compatible than Safari, especially in fonts and font alignment within web pages. And the tools are easier to see and find.

      Don’t know if Johnny has anything to do with it.

      1. had appointments in several different locations at various times – usually knew more than the person behind the counter. One idiot actually erased all of my music files and said I could start over again when I got home. (Lucky, I always back up – early and often) – he didn’t ask if I had backed up OR what the problem was. Another told me that my dock was too over-crowded. On another occasion, I had to show the “tech” how to reset the p-ram (totally not needed). Do you want me to go on?

        I have been a rabid Apple and Mac supporter for a long long time.

        yes, Federighi is “in charge” but the hallmarks of Ive are there.

    2. “Since Yosemite appeared on the scene, I have had more kernel panics, more problems with APPLE software products, let alone third party ones, then in all of the years I’ve owned Macs.”

      NONE of these is under Ive.
      Ive works out how they ‘look’ not the underlying software operations. Kernel panics on Yosemite is under Federighi SVP for Software Engineering. Both Ive and Federighi are SVPs.

      As for ‘look’ they are already trying to fix it by changing the fonts to ‘San Francisco ‘ font etc.

    3. I fully agree that much of Apple design has gone down the toilet since Jobs’ passing. It seems like Cook is a decent businessman and cheerleader, but he shows no passion for product design. Under Jobs, products looked and worked great AND had at least some future expandability in mind. Maybe not the iDevices but you could always open Macs and upgrade RAM, hard drives and even replacing the batteries in the unibody Macs was possible if you knew how to handle a screwdriver.

      Now RAM is soldered in, batteries are glued in and the SSDs are proprietary. Apple should lose the glue and work with the industry to design low profile RAM and RAM sockets and low profile SSD standards. Soldering, gluing and using proprietary designs for components that are usually replaced or upgraded is making the Apple-haters accusations of planned obsolescence come true. My 15″ rMBP comes with a maximum of 16 GB ram even though the processor can handle 32 GB.

      The operating systems have become more bland and ugly, many of Apple supplied apps have lost features and the interfaces have become less intuitive. I praise Apple for what they’ve done in iDevice processor design and the Apple Watch is interesting, but that’s about it. Yosemite has been a buggy mess since day one and 8 months it still feels like a beta. I haven’t been able to get Mail to work properly even though I’m using an iCloud account, not to mention other odd glitches that I tolerate just because I don’t have time to spend all day on the phone with Applecare. Speaking of Applecare, according to some Applecare techs I spoken with, Apple has hired many more and many of the one’s they’ve hired aren’t even familiar with the most common third party utilities. I even spoke to one that insisted “Apple doesn’t support HTML5.”

      Apple may be making a lot of money, but they’re also alienating a lot of users, even some long time users like me who started with Apple II systems.

        1. Reads like a fluff piece just self-reinforcing Ben Thompson’s admiration of Cook above all else. Thompson imagines that Cook is making a brilliant decision, but nobody knows. The creation of more overhead is never a great idea for a company. Seems like the Apple executive office is becoming just as chummy as other stagnant corporations have been — nobody like Forstall there to provide counterpoint or difference of opinion. Ive, his deputies, and Ahrendts have all been undermining Apple software quality, hardware versatility, and retail customer experience. From a software perspective, Apple hasn’t released any fundamentally more efficient or superior system compared to the competition. The current GUIs suck. Apple Services are more limited and provide less value than the competition (and that goes for practically everything from Beats headphones to iCloud to dumbed-down freeware and the mess that isiTunes).

          Cook doesn’t seem to understand that different ideas would keep the company vibrant. He’s surrounding himself in his donut office with people who think that flat ugly grayness is attractive, that disposable non-upgradeable hardware is important, and usability of the Mac is less important than having a bulbous attention-grabber on your wrist is really cool. no thanks.

  5. It is a good move, having fresh people with fresh and better ideas.. Everything Jony has done after iPhone 4s have been incremental nothing spectacular, his iOS 7 and later rainbow OS’s is probably the ugliest of all OS. I feel as if I hit a truck and am seeing stars everytime I switch on my iPhone / iPad.
    Here for some better days.

  6. This is tragic news, because it is ego food for Jony Ive. If hardware were physics, he’d be Einstein. If software were music, he’d be a lounge singer. Even the fans of the garish UI of iOS and OS X have to admit that his UI stylings are at best controversial.

    Fortunately there is cDock, YosemiteRevert, and Flavours to fix Yosemite’s Tiger dock, change the symbols back to icons, and to change the word to buttons and repair the windows. Together, they make OS X Yosemite breathtakingly beautiful.

    Will the successor to OS X Yosemite Sam be OS X Yogi Bear? Probably. But at least we have the way to fix it. I never thought I’d see the day when Linux looked better than OS X, but here we are.

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