Jony Ive has been leaving Apple Inc. for years. When it was finally made official on Thursday, there was nevertheless hand-wringing about the company’s future.
MacDailyNews Take: Only from those who do not follow the company even somewhat closely. The rest of us, and Apple employees, knew Jony had checked out at least partially years ago. Years ago, we tagged Apple Park as “The Colossal Distraction™” for a reason.
Ive was the mastermind behind the designs of the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Mac, and iPod that took Apple from the brink of bankruptcy in the late 1990’s to its status as a trillion-dollar company. When co-founder Steve Jobs died in 2011, Ive became the most important person at the company, ultimately deciding what products Apple would launch, how they would function, and what they would look like.
He was in charge of a roughly two-dozen person design team that included artists whose passions extended to the development of surfboards, cars, and even DJing on weekends. Many of their spouses worked as designers, too.
But after the Watch launched in 2015, Ive began to shed responsibilities. Day-to-day oversight of Apple’s design team was reduced to coming to headquarters as little as twice a week, according to people familiar with the matter… “This has been a long time in the making,” according to one of the people, who asked not to be identified because they aren’t authorized to discuss personnel moves. “He’s been at Apple over 25 years, and it’s a really taxing job. It’s been an extremely tense 25 years for him at Apple and there’s a time for everyone to slow down.”
Initially, not much will change, because Apple has been operating with partial input from Ive for a few years, someone close to the team said.
MacDailyNews Take: Since the announcement, our biggest question is: WTF does Jeff Williams know about industrial design?
(Hankey and Dye will report to Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer. Williams knows operations, mechanical engineering, and holds an MBA.)
Some more shifts in structure will be required if Apple is to retain their winning formula, designed by none other than Steve Jobs, where the designers rule the roost.
No offense to former chief operating officer, Tim Cook, but the ops guy is just there to make sure the parts are in the right place at the right time at the right price. Everyone has a role.
Cook would do well to remember how Steve Jobs structured Apple upon his return, especially the subservient role of operations – and all else – to design and the unparalleled success that structure engendered. Above all, design – hardware and software – is what built Apple into what is is today.