This is the beginning of the end of Jony Ive’s time at Apple

Writing about Jony Ive’s “promotion,” Ben Thompson writes for Stratechery, “Taken as a whole, this entire episode is a masterful display of public relations: plant the seeds of this story in two articles — ostensibly about the Watch — that provide unprecedented access to Apple broadly and Apple’s design team in particular, and happen to highlight two designers in particular, neither of whom had any public profile to date (kind of — as John Gruber and I discussed on The Talk Show — Dye is a polarizing figure in Apple circles). Then, after a presumably successful Watch launch, announce on a holiday — when the stock market is closed — that these two newly public designers have newly significant roles at Apple.”

“The catch, of course, is that for all my previous arguments to the contrary — all of which make perfect sense, I might add — the level of orchestration around this announcement augurs something far more significant than a changed title (i.e. why should the stock market be nervous about this move?)” Thompson writes. “In my estimation, whether Ive intends it or not — and I think he likely does, for what it’s worth — this is the beginning of the end of his time at Apple. To give up ‘management’ in exchange for ‘thinking freely’ is, when it comes to business, akin to shifting from product-focused R&D to exploratory R&D.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote earlier this week:

This is how Apple eases the pressure on Jony while addressing one of their most pressing problems since Steve Jobs was CEO: Succession. Jony Ive is the most important person at Apple. The addition of Marc Newson to Apple’s payroll, in whatever capacity, was one answer to the question. This is the next.


Jony Ive is Apple’s next Steve Jobs – May 27, 2015
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. To be fair, besides rumour from 2011 that Ive supposedly wants to move to UK (which was never confirmed), there is nothing in the theory that Ive will be gone from Apple in two years or whatever arbitrary number that is called.

    Not that it would be impossible, of course, but for now Ive is going to be even more attached to California office as he is in charge of interior designs of the Spaceship, and this jobs alone will take few years. Besides, he will still be designing things, except for he will not care to track on all of the direct administrative stuff.

    So, for now, all those dozens of articles how Ive is all but gone does not yet have real ground.

    1. By the way, it is not unlike how Jobs was since he has appointed Cook to be COO. This effectively made Cook running the company in administrative terms, while Jobs was free artist running through company’s creative departments, being an a freelance artists. (Of course, Jobs was still in charge of every major decision, but the chores were left to be dealt by Cook).

      And that Scheme did not mean at all that Jobs was going to retire or anything. If Jobs’ cancer would be gone forever and he was alive to this day, Jobs would be still at Apple doing the same thing he was doing in 2007 or any other year.

      So while it is perfectly possible that Ive will retire, at the moment, it is still not likely. There is nothing better he could do in other places than Apple. He is on the top of the world now, and I suppose he will be totally happy only doing things he loves to do.

    2. I wish these speculators would see this for what it is: The pipeline Steve created is winding down. Tim Cook can see that and is asking Mr. Ives to begin thinking longer-term on products. He can’t do that while attending to things like how smooth the sand-blasted aluminum is on the corner of the Apple Trackpad.

    1. So you’re bored when nothing new has been announced in weeks but sick of something only two days old? Your constitution must be healthy as an ox (I mean that as a compliment even though I have no knowledge of the medical trends of oxen).


  2. Yes Ben, it makes perfect sense to give a C-suite title to someone with one foot out the door. Tim Cook just gave Jony Ive his dream job with more power than ever and that signals he’s on his way out?

    Good god can people think for a minute before they type?

    1. Worse yet: Good gawd can people think for a minute before they fall for the click bait?

      Or worst yet: Good gawd can editors think for a minute before hand these lazy writers a paycheck?

      When do we pull out of this extended trough of lousy tech journalism? Inquiring minds want to know.

    1. Alan Dye worked for Marcom for 8 years or so and then was plucked to run user interface under Jony Ive. According to Gruber he’s a nice guy, champion of design and people like him. But some of the old guard that was under Scott Forstall were not happy with him being chosen for that role.

  3. You know how I know that Jony Ive is retiring?

    When he and/or Apple announces it.

    These shit heads and their prognostications really ought to shut the hell up. They’re clearly trying to manipulate Apple stock price.

  4. One other thing that makes no sense to me: how does Jony Ive having two VPs reporting to him equate to him having one foot out the door? Phil Schiller had at least 6 VPs working for him. I would imagine people like Eddy Cue and Jeff Williams have a number of VPs reporting to them as well. .

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