Opinion: Jony Ive helped save Apple, but his departure also freed the company’s design team

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Tripp Mickle, a technology reporter who recently moved from The Wall Street Journal to The New York Times, is releasing a new book on Apple this week, entitled “After Steve: How Apple Became a Trillion-Dollar Company and Lost Its Soul,” and an adapted excerpt of the book has been shared that provides a look at the tensions between Tim Cook and Jony Ive that ultimately led to Ive’s departure.

The article says Ive’s departure has lead to a lack of creativity at the tech giant. Mickle says Ive was one of Apple’s “most creative thinkers” and that Cook has little to no interest in design. He says the current CEO is overly concerned with functionality of its products and having Apple “better known for offering TV shows and a credit card than introducing the kind of revolutionary new devices that once defined it.” I think Mickle is very, very wrong.

Ive is a creative genius, but ….

There’s no doubt that Jony Ive is a creative genius. However, I also think that, at some point, he began to focus more on design and fashion than practicality.

Ive’s contributions at Apple, such as the original iMac, helped save the company after Steve Jobs returned. However, he was also responsible for the much hated “hockey puck” mouse. He obsessed on  Mac laptop designs that were increasingly (too) thin. He also seemed more interested in the Apple Watch being a fashion item than a health device.

Again, don’t get me wrong. The Jobs/Ive combo truly helped save Apple. However, I believe Ive’s departure freed the company’s design team in many ways. That team continues to design great products that, for the most part, combine good design with good functionality.

Ive’s History at Apple

Ive joined Apple in September 1992. After several years of designing the interface aspects of Apple products he was promoted to senior vice president of Industrial Design in the late 1990s. Ive helped design the iMac, iPad, MacBook, and other products.

He also helped design Apple’s major architectural projects, such as Apple Park and Apple Stores.Apple announced in October 2012 that Ive would “provide leadership and direction for Human Interface (HI) across the company in addition to his role as the leader of Industrial Design.

Apple announced in June 2019 that Ive was departing the company as an employee to form an independent design company called LoveFrom that will count Apple among its clients. At the time CEO Tim Cook said the new company would continue to work with Apple. (LoveFrom is rumored to have been involved with the design of the 24-inch iMac.)

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.