“Apple announced on Monday that Jony Ive will be promoted to Chief Design Officer, relinquishing his day-to-day managerial duties to Richard Howarth and Alan Dye. Reaction to the news has been mixed, with some thinking this announcement is the beginning of the end for Jony at Apple. I disagree. I look at this news as paving a sustainable path for Jony Ive to continue guiding Apple,” Neil Cybart writes for Above Avalon. “In the process, we also now know the future leaders of Apple’s design efforts. When we understand how Apple turns ideas into products, it becomes clear that Jony’s new role is the closest thing yet to the unofficial role Steve Jobs held at Apple. We are in the midst of Jony Ive’s Apple.”
“Not only will Steve Jobs never be replaced, but Apple should never think that someone needs to fill the role that Steve Jobs held. Steve had specific strengths and weaknesses that make any comparison to someone else illogical,” Cybart writes. “Instead, I think the much more appropriate way of thinking about this subject is to ask who would be the best person to make sure that Apple’s culture remains alive and well while ideas are allowed to mature from raw form to finished product, virtues that Steve Jobs oversaw.”
“I suspect Jony’s promotion involves overlooking Apple’s mission much more closely, with more flexibility than ever before,” Cybart writes. “Jony Ive will still be Jony Ive, but I think this promotion positions him much more closely to the role Steve Jobs had: making sure the product always comes first.”
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MacDailyNews Take: As we over year ago in April 2014:
As Apple CEO, Steve Jobs focused on two things – product design and marketing. He was a genius at both. His talents cannot be replaced with one person. In fact, his talents in either discipline cannot be replaced by one person. Jony Ive and Phil Schiller without Jobs cannot be expected to perform as if Jobs was still working with them. [Hence Apple’s subsequent Marc Newson hire to be Jony Ive’s muse/sounding board. – MDN Editor, Nov. 7, 2014]
A team of people – talented people who actually get it and who are all on the same page – is an absolute necessity for Apple’s success, but it creates a problem: Jobs was a single filter. A unified mind. The founder. A group of people simply cannot replicate that. This is not to say that they cannot do great work (we believe Apple does, and will continue, to do great work) just that Apple is fundamentally affected by the loss of Steve Jobs and has to figure out a new way to work.
Apple has figured out a new way to work and Jony Ive’s new role is the answer.
The key ingredients seem to be a quest for perfection, a passion for the technology and the company, and the ability to relate Apple’s ideas to the world with style. Jobs [was] truly the charismatic force that propel[ed] Apple forward in the face of tremendous odds.
Right now, it looks like Apple’s best hope, and a very good one at that, is Jonathan Ive, Apple’s Vice President of Industrial Design, the London Design Museum’s “2003 Designer of the Year,” and chief designer of the original and current iMacs, iPods, iBooks, PowerBooks, Power Mac G5, and more. He seems to work well with the engineers responsible for the hardware. He is obviously a meticulous genius. And he has “that certain something” which, importantly, comes across on camera and in person. Whether he has the extremely rare “vision thing” that Jobs possesses; well, that’s still an open question.
Watch Ive in [any new product] intro video… Contrast his presentation style and enthusiasm with the other Apple presenters. Can you sense the almost Jobsian, call it Junior Jobsian, aura? Ive has “it” while all of the other Apple employees in the video are just nice people talking about [tech products]. And Ive should only get better with time. Could we be watching Steve Jobs’ successor? — SteveJack, MacDailyNews, August 20, 2003
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What Jony Ive’s ‘promotion’ really means – May 26, 2015
Now Jony Ive will have an even bigger influence over Apple’s image – May 26, 2015
Stephen Fry meets Jony Ive, Apple’s newly-promoted chief design officer – May 26, 2015
Jony Ive gives up day-to-day managerial duties to focus on big picture – May 26, 2015
Jony Ive promoted to ‘Chief Design Officer’ – May 25, 2015
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