Jony Ive to depart Apple, form independent design company with Apple among its primary clients

Jonathan Ive
Jonathan Ive
Apple today announced that Sir Jony Ive, Apple’s chief design officer, will depart the company as an employee later this year to form an independent design company which will count Apple among its primary clients. While he pursues personal projects, Ive in his new company will continue to work closely and on a range of projects with Apple.

“Jony is a singular figure in the design world and his role in Apple’s revival cannot be overstated, from 1998’s groundbreaking iMac to the iPhone and the unprecedented ambition of Apple Park, where recently he has been putting so much of his energy and care,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, in a statement. “Apple will continue to benefit from Jony’s talents by working directly with him on exclusive projects, and through the ongoing work of the brilliant and passionate design team he has built. After so many years working closely together, I’m happy that our relationship continues to evolve and I look forward to working with Jony long into the future.”

Design team leaders Evans Hankey, vice president of Industrial Design, and Alan Dye, vice president of Human Interface Design, will report to Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer. Both Dye and Hankey have played key leadership roles on Apple’s design team for many years. Williams has led the development of Apple Watch since its inception and will spend more of his time working with the design team in their studio.

“After nearly 30 years and countless projects, I am most proud of the lasting work we have done to create a design team, process and culture at Apple that is without peer. Today it is stronger, more vibrant and more talented than at any point in Apple’s history,” said Ive. “The team will certainly thrive under the excellent leadership of Evans, Alan and Jeff, who have been among my closest collaborators. I have the utmost confidence in my designer colleagues at Apple, who remain my closest friends, and I look forward to working with them for many years to come.”

Apple’s design team, recognized with countless design awards, brings together creatives from around the world representing multiple disciplines, including user interface, industrial design, graphic and font design, haptics and sound design.

Source: Apple Inc.

MacDailyNews Take: This is the gentlest easing out possible for someone as pivotal to Apple as Jony Ive.

It’s the end of an era – and the start of something new and exciting! Apple’s design teams remain in very capable hands.

Congrats to Evans Hankey and Alan Dye!

UPDATE: AAPL after hours: $197.90, -1.84, (-0.92%) @ 6:17PM EDT.

Like we said, gentle. AAPL is holding up very well. We’ll see how it goes tomorrow, but the market seems to be okay with this so far.

26 Comments

  1. Jony was very good and best of luck in his new endeavors, including Apple as a client. …
    But, imo, he was a bit too over rated and over hyped as indispensable designer…
    I hope this brings some new fresh talent and vision to Apples game….

    1. Well said, Jimbo.

      Certainly Sir Jony is in line to be the greatest industrial designer of all time.

      That said, my beef with his gorgeous award winning designs is the thin OBSESSION and removing useful ports from products and charging customers MORE for LESS.

      The bump out camera on the latest iPhones and “notch” is inexcusable. Make it flush like my beloved iPhone SE while increasing the battery size to benefit users. Never in my life have I heard a comment, Oooh, look how THIN my smartphone is, SHEESH.

      Neglecting the Mac Pro for six years is also a major complaint.

      OK, moving forward as a contract designer Sir Jony will no longer be able to run ROUGE and dictate Apple specs.

      I feel good about this arrangement and fingers crossed Apple will keep him in line and customers will benefit.

      Another appeasement embarrassment for Cook…

  2. Yay! Maybe a little more practical function and less overly-designed form will start to creep back into Apple devices. And we never have to hear those “al-you-min-ee-um” blurbs that have become jokes from Sir Jony anymore.

      1. Yes because everyone must be an expert or colleague in the field of design before they can criticize and not an actual user who bought and used the thing being designed. How silly of me.

        Jony did some good stuff just as he did questionable stuff. No one bats a thousand. But it is time to go.

  3. Who knows, maybe they get a guy who likes big batteries, regardless of thickness, someone who realizes people hate dongles, maybe adds a few other ports to a MacBook PRO, likes bigger screens than 15 inches, has a vision for the phone without the notch, wants Mac Pro updates bi-yearly, thinks its a good idea to be able to back up a mac to the cloud or wifi base, likes keyboards that always work, want’s a waterproof phone, has an idea for that next Killer Product,,, anything… doesn’t waste time on rings. anyone? Bueller?

    1. You guys are describing transportable devices, not a true portable. If you want a huge screen, unlimited expandability, every possible legacy port and a handle to lift it all, you might consider a desktop computer. It seems a little ironic for people who think the SE was an ideal size to be calling for Apple to stop worrying about size and weight. The VW Beetle was in production for eighty years because some folks prefer compactness to power.

  4. I know it’s ridiculous to criticize someone with the design history of Jony Ive but here goes: apple design has stagnated got the last few years. Apple is locked into these smart rock panes of glass in phone tablet and laptop design with little new to claim other than a millimeter saved here or there or killing a useful port or standard. What has been missing has been that property apple used to have to astonish the world. I wish Sir Jony Ive best of luck with the new company and perhaps Apple can get back in the business of bringing products that astonish the world instead of a new …. that is really cool because it’s .1 mm thinner and 5 grams lighter.

    1. Thing is, when you’ve reached where we are today, there’s NOTHING that will astonish more than high performance in a thin and light package. Even competitors on the PC side known for big and clunky are working to come out with GAMING laptops that are far thinner and lighter than two years ago.

  5. I think this is a great opportunity for Apple to move it’s industrial design language forward. As Apple’s press release said, they have built an amazing design team and design processes, hopefully now they will have a design lead who is fully focused on Apple rather than wondering about personal projects.

    My only worry is Apple drifts away from being a design centred company to a more technology led company. Jony had immense power and influence within the company and by association so did the Industrial Design Studio. I hope the ID studio is kept at the heart of Apple as this is what makes Apple different from all other companies.

    Not sure what to make of Apple becoming a client of Jony’s. I wonder whether this is just while Apple finishes up projects that Jony was involved with. It would make sense and ensure a cleaner hand over. I also wonder if this is to help allay fears of investors who worry losing Jony will mean Apple lose their special sauce. I can only imagine the fear stories the press will write about this.

    Yes Jony was instrumental in saving Apple and he has designed some amazing Apple products but the time feels right for Apple to evolve again and personally I think Jony has felt this way for a while now.

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