Apple And Designer Jony Ive Part Ways - And It Sounds Like It's For Good This Time

When Apple's Chief Design Officer left the company in 2019 to create his independent design firm LoveFrom, it marked the end of an era for Apple enthusiasts. Thankfully for them, Ive's exit from the company back then was not complete as he went on to sign a contract with Apple. Under the terms of the contract, which was worth an estimated $100 million, Ive agreed to stay with Apple under the role of a consultant. Confirming the development in a post from Apple, Jony issued a statement announcing his intention to work with the company for "many years to come."

Unfortunately, the bit about working for years to come doesn't seem to be coming true. A little over three years since that announcement, a New York Times report now claims that Apple and Jony Ive have agreed to mutually terminate the agreement. With the last bit of connection with Apple severed, this marks the first time Ive hasn't been part of Apple's design team in almost three decades. As the man behind more than a handful of iconic Apple products, Jony Ive's departure from the company has great historical significance for Apple enthusiasts around the world.

Who is Jony Ive?

For people who know and love Apple, the name Jony Ive has been synonymous with the company for as long as they can remember. For nearly three decades, Jony pioneered the design efforts at Apple. His time at the company saw the advent of some of the most iconic products of all time. Among the Apple products that had Ive's design prowess behind them is the original iMac, the first-gen iPod, and the first-ever iPhone. He was also behind the first ever iPad released back in 2010.

Ive joined Apple in 1992 shortly after Steve Jobs rejoined the company following his abrupt exit in 1985. A close confidante of Steve Jobs, Ive quickly rose through the ranks, and by 1997, he was heading the industrial design team at the company. Ive was part of several Apple product launches and was also the first person to attend the first public call made using an iPhone.

Ive continued to be a part of Apple even after Steve Jobs died in 2011. According to the New York Times report, he was not entirely happy with Tim Cook's focus on operations and profitability, which he believed came at the expense of design changes. Allegedly unhappy with Cook's continued focus on operations, Ive is said to have moved into a part-time role. The report adds that the parties chose not to renew their contract, which was due for expiration this year.

What happens to Apple's design team?

According to the NYT report, Apple's COO Jeff Williams will head Apple's design teams going forward. Given that Ive was working there as a part-time contractor, Williams was already taking care of the day-to-day affairs of the team, making the transition even smoother. In addition to Williams, other people involved in this attempt include Evans Hankey, who will head the industrial design team. Alan Dye, who leads the software design team, and Greg Joswiak, who is currently the senior vice president of marketing at Apple. 

Needless to say, Apple seems to be well prepared for the changes that are to come. Now that we know Ive is leaving Apple for good, speculation is rife over the next course of action he will take. Indications are that Ive will devote more time to his design startup, which has already signed contracts with the likes of Ferrari, and Airbnb. Even more interesting is how upcoming Apple products will look now that the veteran is no longer part of the company's design team.