Advertisement

Jony Ive, Apple’s design guru, departs

Jony Ive, the designer of the iMac and iPhone is leaving Apple. The news comes at a difficult time. Matthew Partridge reports.

Apple chief design officer Jony Ive (L) and Apple CEO Tim Cook © Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Is Jony Ive's (left) exit Tim Cook's fault?

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".

Advertisement - Article continues below

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".

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".

Advertisement
Advertisement

Recommended

The British equity market is shrinking
Stockmarkets

The British equity market is shrinking

British startups are abandoning public stockmarkets and turning to deep-pocketed Silicon Valley venture capitalists for their investment needs.
8 Nov 2019
James Montier: valuations are way too high
Investment gurus

James Montier: valuations are way too high

The market is completely discounting the risk to the economy and operating as if there is nothing to worry about, pricing in a V-shaped recovery, says…
10 Aug 2020
Should Big Tech be broken up?
Tech stocks

Should Big Tech be broken up?

The dominance of the big four technology giants has attracted the attention of politicians determined to humble them. But what real harm are they doin…
8 Aug 2020
Share tips of the week
Share tips

Share tips of the week

MoneyWeek’s comprehensive guide to the best of this week’s share tips from the rest of the UK's financial pages.
7 Aug 2020

Most Popular

Eagle Lightweight GT: the reincarnation of the E-type Jag
Toys and gadgets

Eagle Lightweight GT: the reincarnation of the E-type Jag

Jaguar’s classic E-type sports car has been reinvented for the modern age. The result – the Eagle Lightweight GT – is a thing of beauty.
7 Aug 2020
Platinum: the precious metal that looks set to play catch-up with silver and gold
Silver and other precious metals

Platinum: the precious metal that looks set to play catch-up with silver and gold

Gold and silver continue to soar, but there's still time to get in. And there's another precious metal that looks set to go on a bull run too, says Jo…
7 Aug 2020
UK house prices hit a new record high – can it last?
House prices

UK house prices hit a new record high – can it last?

Despite the pandemic, UK house prices have hit a new high. John Stepek looks at what’s driving the surge in prices, and what it means for house prices…
7 Aug 2020