“It is the end of an era at Apple,” is how the Financial Times introduced its scoop on the company’s design guru Jony Ive (Sir Jonathan Ive, if we’re being formal) leaving the company.
“While I will not be an employee, I will still be very involved — I hope for many, many years to come. This just seems like a natural and gentle time to make this change,” Ive told the FT, while outlining his plans to set up a consultancy called LoveFrom with Apple as his first client. Ive went on to hint that wearable technology, possibly around health and wellbeing, will be one of the areas he specialises in at the new venture.
There’s understandably plenty of coverage of the news, and appreciation for Ive’s impact over his history at Apple. Not every piece is purely complimentary though.
Veteran Apple-watcher John Gruber criticised what comes next, with Apple’s remaining design VPs reporting in to chief operating officer Jeff Williams. “This organisational structure makes no sense to me… It makes me queasy to see that Apple’s chief designers are now reporting to operations… someone needs to be in charge of design for Apple to be Apple and I can’t see how that comes from operations.”
Vice, meanwhile, didn’t mince any words in its ‘History will not be kind to Jony Ive’ take, arguing that under his watch in recent years Apple’s products “became steadily less modular, less consumer friendly, less upgradable, less repairable, and, at times, less functional than earlier models… Ive’s Apple has been one in which consumers have been endlessly encouraged to buy new stuff and get rid of the old. The loser is the environment, and the winner is Apple’s bottom line”. Ouch. But there will be plenty of positive assessments of Ive’s impact in the coming days too, we should add.