With the departure of design guru Jony Ive Apple is "getting a taste of luxury's less lustrous side", says Tom Buerkle on Breakingviews. Ive and his "sleek" designs have "defined the marriage of style and function" at Apple, starting with his iconic design for the Apple iMac in 1998, which was credited with helping turning around the company's fortunes. Ive then "repeated the trick" with the iPhone, which "ushered in the smartphone age and enabled Apple to charge ever-higher premium prices, much like a Paris fashion label". However, just as many fashion houses have struggled after losing their chief designer, replacing Ive might be a "painful process".
Apple's chief executive Tim Cook has only himself to blame for the loss of the company's main creative force, says Tripp Mickle in The Wall Street Journal. Despite running "what was arguably the most successful design operation in business history", Ive had been growing "frustrated" by the fact that Apple's board "became increasingly populated by directors with backgrounds in finance and operations rather than technology or other areas of the company's core business". This in turn prompted him to withdraw from day-to-day management of the design team "leaving it rudderless, increasingly inefficient, and ultimately weakenedby a string of departures".
It's not fair to blame Cook, says Mark Gurman on Bloomberg. Ive's departure "has been a long time in the making" . Having been at Apple for more than 25 years, it was inevitable he would eventually choose to stand down from what has been a "really taxing job". The idea of doing "incremental upgrades" to a mature product line may have looked increasingly unattractive. In any case, Ive may not have been the best person to carry Apple forward, since any new products "will require fundamental technological innovation, not just the design genius of Ive and his team".
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Is Apple past its sell-by date?
It's true that Apple faces a "daunting" challenge says the Financial Times. Still, "fresh thinking and new blood can do a company good" as Ive himself proved during the 1990s. Many experts have argued that Apple needs to end its "hardware addiction" and work on its services. There are signs of progress: with "the new Apple TV+ streaming service and a games subscription package called Apple Arcade", the company seems to be focusing on creating "an ecosystem including apps, virtual assistants and more".
Matthew graduated from the University of Durham in 2004; he then gained an MSc, followed by a PhD at the London School of Economics.
He has previously written for a wide range of publications, including the Guardian and the Economist, and also helped to run a newsletter on terrorism. He has spent time at Lehman Brothers, Citigroup and the consultancy Lombard Street Research.
Matthew is the author of Superinvestors: Lessons from the greatest investors in history, published by Harriman House, which has been translated into several languages. His second book, Investing Explained: The Accessible Guide to Building an Investment Portfolio, is published by Kogan Page.
As senior writer, he writes the shares and politics & economics pages, as well as weekly Blowing It and Great Frauds in History columns He also writes a fortnightly reviews page and trading tips, as well as regular cover stories and multi-page investment focus features.
Follow Matthew on Twitter: @DrMatthewPartri
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