Jony Ive is Apple’s next Steve Jobs

“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.”

Read more in the full article here.

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.

From “What happens when Steve Jobs dies?”

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

Related articles:
Obviously, Jony Ive is preparing to retire from Apple – May 27, 2015
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


      1. Emoticons are the future of media? Please, I hope not. They add nothing to your posts, are annoying and make you look like a child with a new cell phone.

  1. If Jony was heir to the CEO then he would need to be able to be in the spotlight. He had consistently refused to present on stage at product releases and I can’t see how a CEO can not do this.
    Jony is the best at what he does which is design. Cook is the best at making sure the organization is working efficiently. Others are experts in areas like marketing, software and operations.
    What people forget is that Jobs had learned was to bring in the best people to help him meet his goals. He was a genius on multiple levels but even he realized that he could not do it all.

    1. I can name hundreds of other CEOs who do not “need to be in the spotight” in order to do their jobs. The spotlight was something Jobs craved. Not all CEOs crave or need it. Apple could easily have good keynote presenters whom Tim Cook introduces and then gets out of the way… Oh. wait, that’s already the situation. Jony Ive can be Steve Jobs successor in every important way (sole arbiter of taste, unified design language, etc.) The CEO title is unimportant. As he did with Jobs, Jony builds the ships. Cook just steers them.

      1. Like MDN, you clearly have no f@#king idea what it takes to run a $200+ billion a year corporation like Apple. Thankfully, you have nothing to do with running Apple, and the folks who do – the Board of Directors – clearly understand that not only was Tim Cook the hand-picked successor, but he may be one of the few people on Earth with the unique skill and experience set to do it well.

        Jony Ive is a brilliant designer, and he would be a total train wreck as a CEO.

      2. I think your praise of Jony is well stated, but Jony is too focused to be the CEO.

        Steve’s style:

        #1. An incredibly focused product/technology strategy. (Uncommon for CEO)
        #2. A broad ability to manage every aspect of Apple. (Core CEO stuff)
        #3. An ability to suddenly focus on tiny details anywhere from product to sales, etc.
        (Uncommon for CEO)


        #1. Not a clear a focus on product/technology, but has Ive and others.
        #2. Already demonstrated his very adept and managing groups across Apple.
        #3. He may do this, but less than Steve’s insight and passion.


        #1. Very focused on product/technology stratey
        #2. Not at all the type to want to manage tons of non-design business activitities
        #3. Not sure he wants to delve deeply into anything that isn’t directly the product.

        I would say that Tim’s strengths in #2 and delegating in #1 and #3 are working out well.

        For Jony, I just don’t see him waning to defocus enough to include finances, sales, human resources, managing building programs (beyond design), stores, etc. I see him being even less willing to jump into random areas as they need some extra management help.

        Conclusion: Jony has got focus down, but that doesn’t equate to having broad interests or random specialized interests.

        I wouldn’t ever say Ive couldn’t become a CEO, but he would have to developed some completely new sides to himself before getting there.

        I think he is much better being Mini-Steve of all Design across the company.

  2. I would think the main thing is flexibility of time, he’s not beholden to the annual cycle of putting out new products. If he wants to go off and work on something he can, the day to day product development will still happen, but he can be off focusing on stores, or office furniture or whatever he wants.

  3. Only in his dreams could Jony Ive even think about comparing himself to Steve Jobs. And those around Jony Ive who may imagine him in this light are seriously delusional.

  4. Tim Cook is an outstanding CEO who knows how to manage his talent and integrate them to the benefit of Apple. I see this as part of Tim’s plan and reflects his vision for the future of Apple. This is now Tim Cook’s Apple and the world needs to understand that. As Apple continues to grow, I believe Cook will lead Apple to greatness likely not possible under Jobs. I think Steve knew that and was one of the reasons in later years, at least according to “Becoming Steve Jobs,” he delegated more to his team.

  5. No one can replace SJ. Jony Ive plus that guy they fired…..what’s his name…….was the closest two chip solution to a single chip SJ operating at a zillion ghz on a 1 angstrom technology fabrication.

    1. Replacement of Steve is not an option, and i gave five stars to your post, BUT…. (not one of those phat assess) there is room for someone who DOES understand the big picture, and CAN recognize talent in a myriad of disciplines, and can orchestrate the execution of a design, even if the design is theirs

      I believe some of the vision of concept was Steve, and some was Jony, and together they carried it out, and it will again and again be carried out by the well curated talent at Apple, no matter who is CEO, but it would be benificial for Apple to have a “spiritual brother” of the guiding light to carry on the torch of divine offers to our collective collaboration and communication

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