The departure of key design personnel and are hindering Apple’s efforts to find the “next Jony Ive,” according to a Bloomberg report by Mark Gurman.
On Oct. 21, it was reported that Apple’s head of hardware design, Evans Hankey, is leaving the tech giant maker three years after taking the job, although she’ll stay on board for at least another six months.
Hankey was named to the post in 2019 to replace Jony Ive, the company’s iconic design chief for two decades. Before taking her current role as vice president of industrial design, Hankey spent several years at Apple reporting to Ive.
No replacement has been announced nor have the reasons for her departure. Hankey and Alan Dye, vice president of human interface design Alan Dye have reported directly to Apple COO Jeff Williams since Ive’s departure. Apparently Dye will remain with the company and noting that Gary Butcher, a former top designer in the human interface division, is returning to the company after a stint at Airbnb.
Butcher has been vice president of design at Airbnb since June 2021, but spent the previous almost 16 years working for Apple. Butcher’s time at Apple comprised around He served for eight years as creator director-video and prior to that eight yeas as a designer.
Gurman reports that at least 15 senior Apple designers have left the company since Ive moved to a part-time role in 2015, whereas turnover was rare between 2000 and 2015.
Even before Ive left, the report claims that Apple’s operations department had started to gain more influence over the design team, resulting in an increased “focus on costs” rather than “purely on look and features.”
From Gurman’s article: ”The strength of the team was that we were a nucleus bound together by the incredible environment that there was and the things we could do in a fairly unconventional way for a large company,” a longtime Apple designer told Bloomberg, on condition of anonymity. “It was a special team. It wasn’t easy after Steve passed — things started to become a lot more complicated. There were more pressures and outside distractions.”
If true, is Apple’s increased “focus on costs” still another sign that the tech giant is turning into a penny-pinching company?