01 July 2019
Apple's Chief Design Officer Jony Ive is all set to leave after spending nearly 30 years at the company. This surprising announcement was released through Apple Newsroom a few hours ago. He will be exiting Apple by the end of this year to start working on his own independent design firm called LoveForm.
Ive joined Apple in the early 90s and was appointed as the Chief Design Officer in 1996 by late Steve Jobs on his return to the company as CEO. The duo formed a long-lasting partnership which went on to work on and release a number of iconic products that not only put Apple back on the map but made it the industry leader in terms of product design.
The 1998 iMac was the first consumer product released by Ive after started working under his new role. It proved to be a huge success which was followed by the release of the iconic iPod and all of its variants. Ive also worked on iPhone that revolutionized the way we use and think about phones. He was also one of the biggest impacts on the iPad design which helped create a completely new product category. He has worked in Apple Watch and various special editions of various Apple products as well.
While Ive has mostly been associated with the hardware product and industrial design, he was also worked on the software side of things too. He was the man behind iOS 7 release which was the biggest overhaul for Apple's mobile OS since its debut on the first iPhone. Similarly, he brought major changes to the desktop operating system too which we currently know as macOS. One of his last projects at Apple was working on the Apple Park campus' development for which he took two years of break from day-to-day affairs of product designing.
Ive will start working fully on LoveForm designing firm from early 2020. He will be joined by renowned designer Marc Newson who is also leaving Apple after working for five years at the company. Apple said that it will be one of the primary clients of the firm. It means Ive will still continue to work on Apple projects but not as an employee. But it will be interesting to see for how long and at what capacity this collaboration will work.
Interestingly, Apple has not named any replacement for the Chief Design Officer's position yet. Instead, Evans Hankey (VP of Industrial Design) and Alan Dye (VP of Human Interface Design) will now be reporting to Jeff Williams, Cheif Operating Officer at Apple. This is an unexpected organizational restructuring but we will have to see if it is a short-term or a long-term plan.
In an official statement, Jony Ive said, "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.”