Jony Ive, the brain behind designs of Apple’s numerous revolutionary products like iPhone, iPad and iMac among many others, announced his departure from the company last week. While the reasons behind his departure are debatable, news reports from WSJ and Bloomberg are shedding a different light on this matter. According to news sources, what bothered Ive was Tim Cook’s lack of interest in design and more focus on operations and sales.
Sir Jonathan Ive, since entering Apple in 1992, has been key figure of the company’s designing team. Under the leadership of former Apple CEO, Steve Jobs, Ive’s vision for design helped create some of Apple’s most iconic products. His first major project was the iMac which debuted in 1998. Since then Ive have designed products like iPhone, iPod, MacBook and even the user interface of Apple’s iOS operating system.
According to the two mentioned reports, after the death of Jobs, the company had no one who would share Ive’s vision for Apple’s products. In 2015, Ive was given the position of Chief Designing Officer (CDO). Since then he’s been facing responsibilities he always avoided. To adon top of that, he wasn’t able to do the thing he loved: designing products. His earlier responsibilities, which included hardware and software designing were given to a team of executives which included Alan Dye and Richard Howarth. This team reported directly to Jeff Williams who’s Apple’s Chief Operating Officer.
Ive wasn’t happy with Apple Watch and saw it as a fashion accessory rather than what it was supposed to be – an auxiliary product for iPhone. The WSJ reported only 10 million units of Apple Watch ($349) were sold which was a quarter of what the product was supposed to sell and thousands of gold version (priced $17,000) of the Watch went unsold.
After that, Ive was seen less often at his office. Many meetings were shifted to San Fransisco which was closer to his home in the Pacific Heights district to avoid a long commute. He even set up an office and studio in San Fransisco, said a Bloomberg report.
Since exiting Apple, Ive is working on his new business “LoveFrom” which is going to be a design firm. But very little about it is known. The WSJ has reported that his firm will continue to work with Apple while he can focus on designing the products he had been planning to do. And for doing this Apple willing pay him millions for his designs have been driving the company’s products.
In an interview with The Financial Times, he said, “I’m beyond excited that I get to continue working on those, and there are some new projects as well that I’ll get to develop and contribute to.”
Apple’s market cap has faced a loss of 10% since October 2018. And now with the exit of one of the company’s key figures, Apple might struggle to bounce back unless it designates his position to someone responsible soon.
Possible candidates who could take up his position include Alan Dye, who heads the team responsible for developing Apple’s user interface and Evans Hankey, who looks after hardware design. While one of them might take over his position but would they be able to carry the burden of his vision and responsibility is questionable.