Did Jony Ive jump or was he pushed? That’s what ZDNet’s Robin Harris is wondering today, writing, “Jony Ive is a brilliant designer. He helped bring Apple back from a near death experience with the original iMac and iBooks and, later, MacBooks. But he also accounted for a number of costly flops, that, while Apple would never admit it, would have sunk even more accomplished executives.”
Form follow function is the modernist design credo. But too often, Jony flipped that on its head, making function follow form.
The most obvious flop was the trashcan Mac Pro… But Mr. Ive’s relentless pursuit of thinner and lighter objects put him on a collision course with how people actually use Apple’s products. The slightly thinner butterfly keyboard sacrificed reliability for style…
So we’ve seen Apple reverse course on a number of Ive initiatives. iPhones have gotten thicker for better battery life. The butterfly keyboard is on the way out. The trashcan has been replaced with an extremely expandable design…
It’s clear that Mr. Ive was on the way out for some years. I suspect that he was mostly occupied with making design choices for Apple’s $5B spaceship HQ, rather than day-to-day industrial design, for most of the last five years… Make no mistake. Mr. Ive was nudged out the door.
MacDailyNews Take: If this sounds familiar to you, thank you for being a regular reader of MacDailyNews!
Obviously, Jony Ive helped turn Apple into what it is today. Yes, by the end of his time at Apple, he got a little weird and seemed more than a little bored/distracted, but his myriad contributions to Apple over many years cannot be overstated! – MacDailyNews, November 21, 2019
Those who panic over the exit of Jony Ive need not do so. Again, given Jony’s state of mind and his autonomous position with Apple, his departure is a net positive for the company. — MacDailyNews, July 7, 2019
Hey, Jony: Enough with the thin. Everything is thin enough. Sometimes too thin. Thinner isn’t the answer to everything, nor is thinness intrinsic to good design. We’d gladly take a bit more robustness and battery life over more unnecessary thinness, thanks. – MacDailyNews, June 25, 2018
We’ve had to endure years of inferior keyboards in order to shave off half a millimeter about which no one not named Jony gave a rat’s ass. — MacDailyNews, April 2, 2019
Tim Cook can protest all we wants, but the fact of the matter is that if Jony Ive were fully engaged and intellectually challenged, he’d still be an Apple employee. — MacDailyNews, July 1, 2019
The law of diminishing returns can also be applied to industrial design. Apple’s eternal quest for thinness eventually runs into issues such as bulging camera assemblies, battery capacity, strength (breakability), etc. – is Apple’s quest for thinness now bordering on the quixotic? So, is it “you can never be too thin” or is it “thin enough is thin enough?” — MacDailyNews, December 21, 2015
Before you read the rest of these more scathing quotes, for which we were pilloried by many during the times they were written, but which were ultimately proven right, as usual (since we discuss what’s really going on with Apple, not just what Apple wants you to hear), remember this quote above all:
We’re very happy for Jony Ive, who has longed to leave and do what he wants when he wants for quite some time now. Here’s to many happy years designing wonderful things, Jony! — MacDailyNews, June 28, 2019
Jony certainly wasn’t involved with the design of the Apple TV’s Siri Remote – unless he was drunk during the 20 minutes that were lavished on its so-called design. — MacDailyNews, November 22, 2016
With the Siri Remote, users can’t tell which end is up in a darkened room due to uniform rectangular shape. The remote is still too small, so it gets lost easily. All buttons are the same size and similarly smooth (the raised white ring around the menu button helps, but so barely it’s astounding that Apple even bothered; it’s a bandaid on a turd). The tactile difference between the bottom of the remote vs. the upper Glass Touch surface is too subtle as well; this also leads to not being able to tell which end is up. A larger remote, designed for hands larger than a 2-year-old’s with a simple wedge shape (slightly thicker in depth at the bottom vs. the top), as opposed to a uniform slab, would have instantly communicated the proper orientation to the user.
If Jony Ive “designed” the Siri Remote, he should forfeit his knighthood*.
*But we all know Jony has been obsessed with Apple Park for many years now and likely never even saw the piece of shit remote before they threw it in the box. — MacDailyNews, September 25, 2017
How many hundreds of billions of dollars more does Apple management need at their disposal in order to do their jobs properly? Any other reasonably competent company a quarter the size of Apple, generating a quarter the amount of income as Apple, should be able to unveil a new iPhone every year while still keeping their Mac lines at least reasonably up-to-date. Apple can’t seem to manage the former or the latter.
What’s the problem? Too big, too fast? Moving into the spaceship? Getting fat and lazy on easy recurring revenue? Too much old blood and not nearly enough new in Apple’s upper management ranks and on Apple’s Board of Directors? Jony’s painfully obvious disinterest or outright absence (see the ugly iPhone Smart Battery Case and the awfully-designed Apple TV Siri Remote, for two recent examples)? No Steve around to really motivate the troops? Founder’s quotes on the wall no longer cutting it already?
Seemingly confused, distracted, and lazy management is a painful thing to witness.
“Oh, but Apple is doing great!” you say? Sure, but you could make the case that they could be doing even better, perhaps much better. — MacDailyNews, August 4, 2016
A big picture revision and course correction would be well advised. Perhaps some new blood — not stuffed quite so complacently with RSUs, perhaps? — high up on the food chain, as well? — MacDailyNews, August 4, 2016
Perhaps having an industrial designer in charge of user interface design wasn’t such a hot idea after all?
Pick a design language, one design language, and stick to it consistently, Apple!
Once again, the issue with Apple Inc. today is a matter of focus or, more precisely, lack thereof.