It is absolutely the end of an era at Apple. The company announced today that it's chief design officer, Sir Jony Ive, is leaving the company. The man responsible for the design of many iconic devices including the iPhone and the iPad is forming an independent design company. And yes, Apple will be one of its major clients. In addition to creating the look and finish of many Apple products, Ive's distinctive British accent could be heard narrating most of Apple's new product videos during the iPhone era.
Ive first came to Apple in 1992, working as a member of the company's industrial design group. One of his first assignments was to work on the design of the second generation Newton personal digital assistant (PDA) and the MessagePad. In 1997, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs returned to Apple and Ive was promoted to senior vice president of industrial design. He and Jobs combined on an amazing run of successful new products that might never be topped. It started with the all-in-one Apple iMac G3 released in 1998. With a brightly colored translucent case, the design stood out in a sea of dull desktop PCs. In 2002, a whole new design was used on the iMac G4. Keeping with the all-in-one theme, the screen was attached to an adjustable arm with the motherboard and hard drive placed inside the dome-shaped base. The success of these two products helped revive Apple.
Ive had a big role in the design of iOS 7
Apple Watch. By the time Apple's tablet was released, Ive had more power than anyone at Apple outside of Steve Jobs. With that power came a huge paycheck estimated to be as high as $30 million by 2011, with an additional $25 million stock bonus.Ive also had a big hand in the design of the Apple iPod, which was first released in 2001. Apple's mp3 player was a massive success and combined with the iTunes platform, Apple sold hundreds of millions of units. And then came the iPhone, followed by the iPad and the
Following the fiasco that was the launch of Apple Maps in 2012, the company removed software chief Scott Forstall and Ive took on new responsibilities as the Senior Vice President of Design (no "Industrial in the title). The man who designed hardware for Apple was put in charge of designing iOS 7. After giving up control of the design team in 2015 so that he could work on Apple's new campus, the executive regained that control two years later. That same year, Apple unveiled the iPhone X with a completely new design. The device featured thinner bezels, an edge-to-edge-screen and Face ID (replacing Touch ID). The design chief said that the phone was the closest he had come to his original goal of creating a phone that was all screen.
The company is not immediately planning on naming a new chief design officer. Instead, Apple said that design team leaders Evans Hankey, vice president of Industrial Design, and Alan Dye, vice president of Human Interface Design, will report to Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams.