Apple design chief Jony Ive had taken on fewer day-to-day design duties over the past several years

Stephen Nellis for Reuters:

Jony Ive, a close creative collaborator with Apple Inc co-founder Steve Jobs whose iPhone and other designs fueled Apple’s rise to a $1 trillion company, will leave later this year to form an independent design company…

Jobs deeply involved himself in Apple’s design process, sometimes visiting Apple’s design studios daily to offer Ive feedback. Chief Executive Tim Cook, to whom Ive now reports, has not done the same.

After Jobs’ death, pundits questioned whether Apple could continue Jobs’ pace of new products. Ive became a symbol of continuity, bridging the Jobs and Cook eras.

But Alan Cannistraro, chief executive of online video discovery platform Rheo who previously worked at Apple for a dozen years, said Apple employees knew Ive had taken on fewer day-to-day design duties in the past several years. Around 2015, Cannistraro would often see Ive at a high-end fitness gym on Market Street in San Francisco doing mid-morning workouts.

“When I would see him there, two days a week or more, that just told me he had taken a step back,” Cannistraro said.

MacDailyNews Take: Everyone knew he’d stepped back, just as everyone knew he’d immersed himself in Apple Park. The fact that he’d already partially ceded responsibilities to Hankey and Dye bodes well for a smooth transition.

We congratulate Jony Ive on a job exceedingly well done for so many years and we look forward to where Hankey and Dye will lead Apple’s Industrial Design now!


  1. And the whacks just keep on coming. It would be nice to have a positive day at Apple. It appears that any change taking place at Apple is perceived to be some negative change. So, there’s no one at Apple who has design chops except for Ive? There have been enough complaints on the internet on how boring the iPhone has looked for the past few years. Was that Ive’s fault? Anyway, if Apple is going to be a major client of Ive’s new firm, why should there be such a big deal made of his departure?

  2. So, there’s no one at Apple who has design chops except for Ive?

    Ive championed form over function, resulting in laptops and even desktops that couldn’t upgrade storage or RAM after purchase. That’s consumer-hostile but beancounter-friendly.

    No doubt day-traders are running scared that this might mean later designs swing back to favour some consumer friendliness, which would mean lower per-unit revenue. Their fears are probably misplaced, with Tim Cook and the other beancounters still firmly in charge.

  3. Jony Ive’s transition I suppose is as best as can be hoped for. Gradually moving away his responsibilities was better than if Ive was 100% involved and then gone abruptly. At least leadership can see where problems lie and smooth them over a few years. And Ive’s new company has Apple as a client.

    How much of the recent FUBARS like the keyboards is Jony’s fault is hard to guess.
    There also have been great products like the Watch and the iPad Pro and iMac Pro etc.

    I think we can see that as some responsibilities have been moved away from other SVPs like Schiller things have improved in certain areas. To me advertising has improved (Remember the set of horrible Apple Genius Ads?) under new communications chief Tor Myhren while Schiller focus on other aspects of marketing (like coordinating with third party retailers in 100 countries which is big deal in itself).

    the new TV folk report to Cook rather than Cue.

    As Apple gets bigger, and the old guard get older, change is inevitable.

    So here’s hoping Ive’s transition (I won’t say leaving as he’s still involved) is a more of a positive.

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