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Rumor: Apple UI chief Greg Christie set to leave after clashes with Jony Ive [update: confirmed]

post #1 of 118
Thread Starter 
Longtime Apple human interface director Greg Christie, who has been with the iPhone maker since 1996, is said to be planning an exit after his relationship with recently-elevated senior vice president of design Jony Ive allegedly turned sour.

Jonathan Ive
Apple SVP of Industrial Design Jony Ive.


Christie is currently responsible for software design across each of Apple's product lines and was a key member of the group that created the first-generation iPhone. He reports to Apple software chief Craig Federighi, rather than nominal design leader Jony Ive, who has until now chosen to eschew day-to-day management of the software design team in favor of providing high-level direction.

That is reportedly set to change, however, with Christie leaving the company and Ive assuming full control of the software group. Word of Christie's impending departure comes from 9to5Mac, who blames tension between Christie and Ive for the split.

The two began working more closely in 2012 after former iOS software head Scott Forstall was pushed out of the company. Notably, Forstall is also said to have had a rocky relationship with Ive, contributing to a downfall that was primarily caused by the disastrous rollout of Apple's in-house mapping initiative.

At the time, sources said that Ive and Christie had "very different styles." Christie is known to speak frankly, though design sessions were said to be "pleasant and cordial," unlike meetings in which Ive and Forstall refused to speak without an intermediary.

Christie's departure, if true, would come just weeks after Apple appeared to begin the process of elevating his profile outside the company. Christie gave an interview in late March, detailing the development of the original iPhone, in which he said that the handset's software vision came together in just two weeks following an ultimatum from late Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

Update: Apple sent a statement to the Financial Times confirming Christie's departure, but failed to elaborate on the details.

Greg has been planning to retire later this year after nearly 20 years at Apple. He has made vital contributions to Apple products across the board, and built a world-class Human Interface team which has worked closely with Jony for many years.

post #2 of 118
Tune in tomorrow for more drama.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #3 of 118
Perhaps Ive finally wants full control/ownership. I always thought it was odd that he had responsibility for Human Interface but the team reported to Federighi.
post #4 of 118
The chief in industrial design has not released any dramatically new designs since iPhone 4. It is not surprising their market share is crumbling.
post #5 of 118

Cue the comments on how Ive will continue to ruin the Apple UI like he did with iOS 7....

 

What? That's what the trolls on other sites are saying....

post #6 of 118

Apple is destroying the fantastic Mac interface with the awkward iOS interface. No labels, no scrollbars, no arrows on scroll bars, etc. Not to mention the hard to read fonts on iOS and the almost invisible slide to unlock. Functionality should be ABOVE the look or plain design, and not the other way round.

post #7 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by peter236 View Post

The chief in industrial design has not released any dramatically new designs since iPhone 4. It is not surprising their market share is crumbling.
You forgot /S
post #8 of 118
Ive needs to be removed from software UI. I find iOS 7 more difficult to use. There's no ease of use there. Colors are nauseating. Icons are too vague.
post #9 of 118
My only complaint with Ive's design is that all the white can be harsh on many users' eyes. I wish iOS offered the option for a true white-on-black UI, not that "inverted colors" business.
post #10 of 118

Microsoft and Apple are making the same basic mistake—following design fads at the expense of usability. Apple isn't sliding into the abyss quite as fast as MS (who managed to ship an OS with perfect security: no way to access anything), but that's cold comfort.

 

Apple because became awesome because their team included psychologists who not only helped design the interface, they tested their theories before shipping them. I haven't heard of psychologists on Apple's design team for at least the last 15 years, and it's showing in the interface. (Gray on gray, hidden features—like scroll bars—that actually convey information, etc.)


Edited by EWTHeckman - 4/9/14 at 8:54pm
post #11 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by peter236 View Post

The chief in industrial design has not released any dramatically new designs since iPhone 4. It is not surprising their market share is crumbling.

Whats the new mac pro ?
Whats the new imac?
post #12 of 118
Ios 7 Is that Ives or Christie?

Much more detail about disagreements needs to be known Before passing judgment !
post #13 of 118
this is concerning
post #14 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by netrox View Post

Ive needs to be removed from software UI. I find iOS 7 more difficult to use. There's no ease of use there. Colors are nauseating. Icons are too vague.

Yeah. But my biggest complaint is the way the white borders with controls seem to be there when I don't want them, and not there when I do. For example, if I'm looking at a photo in landscape mode, bars at the top and bottom of the screen obscure part of the picture, and I don't know how to make them disappear. You'd think they'd vanish after a few seconds, but they don't. At least not usually. On the other hand, if I'm looking at a web page, the bar at the bottom that includes the "back" and "close" buttons seems to appear and disappear with some logic that I still don't understand, so if I want to close the page or go back a page, I have to fidget with it at random until the navigation bar appears. I'm sure there's some logic to the way it works, but it's not intuitive. Also, the way the controls obscure the frame when you're taking a picture makes it hard to frame pictures well. I normally think of Apple as being at the forefront of usability, but this stuff is definitely a step backwards from iOS 6. This may be due to the fact that I'm using iOS 7 on a 4S, but it still shouldn't be that bad.

 

That said, I was recently on vacation and borrowed a friend's old spare Samsung phone running Android from a few years ago, and was shocked at how unusable the thing was. Friends sometimes tease me for being pre-Apple, but I still can't believe how much worse it was than my already low expectations.

post #15 of 118

Is it possible that Jony is no good at software and/or UI?

Lorin Schultz (formerly V5V)

Audio Engineer

V5V Digital Media, Vancouver, BC Canada

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Lorin Schultz (formerly V5V)

Audio Engineer

V5V Digital Media, Vancouver, BC Canada

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post #16 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

Tune in tomorrow for more drama.

 




Or tune in tomorrow to find out it's not true.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
post #17 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

Tune in tomorrow for more drama.

 




Or tune in tomorrow to find out it's not true.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
post #18 of 118
Originally Posted by peter236 View Post
The chief in industrial design has not released any dramatically new designs since iPhone 4. It is not surprising their market share is crumbling.

 

Enjoying those lies, are you?

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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post #19 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by Retrogusto View Post
 

Yeah. But my biggest complaint is the way the white borders with controls seem to be there when I don't want them, and not there when I do. For example, if I'm looking at a photo in landscape mode, bars at the top and bottom of the screen obscure part of the picture, and I don't know how to make them disappear. You'd think they'd vanish after a few seconds, but they don't. At least not usually. On the other hand, if I'm looking at a web page, the bar at the bottom that includes the "back" and "close" buttons seems to appear and disappear with some logic that I still don't understand, so if I want to close the page or go back a page, I have to fidget with it at random until the navigation bar appears.

 

Normally a simple tap will make the bars appear and disappear around a photo. Your 4S may just be slow enough that you've already tapped again by the time it responds to the first tap.

 

In Safari the address bar at the top disappears when you scroll down. The idea is to make more room for the content. It's supposed to reappear as soon as you scroll up.

post #20 of 118

An organisation with such dynamic and creative environment and competition primadonnas are bound to thrive. A Steve Jobs type  is needed to check those individuals. Hope Cook is up to bring peace and cooperative spirit.

post #21 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lorin Schultz View Post
 

Is it possible that Jony is no good at software and/or UI?

Yes, but then again, no, depending on where you stand. But Software is different from U/I and there is no real requirement for JI to be a software expert. The same applies to visual design and user interface, though there must be more of an overlap. User Interface has more to do with the interaction between the user and the software than the 'look'. I don't know how much JI is involved in any of those areas, and ditto Greg Christie, though I am sure that as head of U/I you'd have plenty to say about visual design choices and vice versa. 

 

Just checked and see that JI in fact " ... provides leadership and direction for Human Interface (HI) software teams across the company." 

 

I think you could argue that IOS7 is not a perfect product by a long shot but an update was so overdue its H/I shortcomings are forgivable. IOS used so many design cues and conventions from OSX that were honed over a very long period. My guess is that future iterations of IOS will improve the user experience a great deal.


Edited by paxman - 4/9/14 at 1:41pm
post #22 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moreck View Post

My only complaint with Ive's design is that all the white can be harsh on many users' eyes. I wish iOS offered the option for a true white-on-black UI, not that "inverted colors" business.

I've long been puzzled by this complaint: from my perspective there's hardly any "white" on the phone screen at all. On the "first" home screen there's a couple of mainly white icons but that's about it. And as the underlying wallpaper colors bleed through in the grouping icons they're muted as well....

post #23 of 118
Yawn!
post #24 of 118

Maybe Ive will see the light when the presbyopia starts to kick in. He's currently 47, so it should be any year now. Yeah, sure, the world can wait.

post #25 of 118

There is a problem in Ciderland. Management and staff need to work with their personalities and ensure that all persons understand and control their inner assholes. Sometimes Smarts are difficult to work with, but if they have important assets to contribute, you'd better figure out how to do it. 

post #26 of 118

If Cook were yup to the job he would not have given Mr. Ive all the power to basically make almost everything more difficult to use.  But, even though that is true, at least IOS-7 is unreliable and full of intermittant surprises.

SkyKing
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SkyKing
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post #27 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by Retrogusto View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by netrox View Post

Ive needs to be removed from software UI. I find iOS 7 more difficult to use. There's no ease of use there. Colors are nauseating. Icons are too vague.

Yeah. But my biggest complaint is the way the white borders with controls seem to be there when I don't want them, and not there when I do. For example, if I'm looking at a photo in landscape mode, bars at the top and bottom of the screen obscure part of the picture, and I don't know how to make them disappear. You'd think they'd vanish after a few seconds, but they don't. At least not usually. On the other hand, if I'm looking at a web page, the bar at the bottom that includes the "back" and "close" buttons seems to appear and disappear with some logic that I still don't understand, so if I want to close the page or go back a page, I have to fidget with it at random until the navigation bar appears. I'm sure there's some logic to the way it works, but it's not intuitive. Also, the way the controls obscure the frame when you're taking a picture makes it hard to frame pictures well. I normally think of Apple as being at the forefront of usability, but this stuff is definitely a step backwards from iOS 6. This may be due to the fact that I'm using iOS 7 on a 4S, but it still shouldn't be that bad.

 

That said, I was recently on vacation and borrowed a friend's old spare Samsung phone running Android from a few years ago, and was shocked at how unusable the thing was. Friends sometimes tease me for being pre-Apple, but I still can't believe how much worse it was than my already low expectations.

 

When looking at a photo, tap it once. The UI chrome should disappear and the white background should turn black.

post #28 of 118

If yo look at all the other stuff Mr Ive has designed you would have to be a truly weird person to put any of it in your living room.  So far all I can detect in IOS-7 (and increasingly in Mavericks) is design changes to accommodate the tastes of a man who would like to live in a modern office lobby instead of a home.  But at least the system is far less reliable than the predecessors.

 

Yes.  The vision of one man normally makes a company great.  Ands the reverse is also true.  Placing the power in the hands of the wrong people can destroy a company.  Apple would have done far better if it had consciously attempted to carry on the dream of Mr. Jobs rather than pretend that Mr Cook and Mr Ives were replacements for the drive, genius and singleminded control of Jobs.

 

It's kind of like Obamacare and Social Security.  Once you get something bad in place it's really, really hard to get rid of it.

SkyKing
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SkyKing
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post #29 of 118
The truth is that Jony needs a boss, an editor to do his best work. Steve was that guy. Without anyone to answer to he's swimming in his own pool of perfectionism and fear of failure. There are many examples of similar situations in the film business, music business, etc.. Artists who do their best work when they have someone to answer to, someone to kick them in the ass. But given total freedom and control they flounder.
post #30 of 118
I hope Ive doesn't make OS X as flat and contrast free as iOS 7%u2026
post #31 of 118
Bottom line is Cook put him in charge of Human Interface. Having him oversee it but those employees report to someone else never seemed like a workable solution to me. Now Ive really will own it. And you know what, if it's a disaster then his head will be on the chopping block. If he's bitten off more than he can chew then the haters should be happy because that means his downfall will happen much sooner.
post #32 of 118

Who is to blame for iOS7 design? I don't know but it is just plain bad. It is the very definition of garish. Sloppy and half ass. Where is the legendary attention to detail? ..and CarPlay looks absolutely grotesque inside luxury cars.
 

post #33 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by Retrogusto View Post

Yeah. But my biggest complaint is the way the white borders with controls seem to be there when I don't want them, and not there when I do. For example, if I'm looking at a photo in landscape mode, bars at the top and bottom of the screen obscure part of the picture, and I don't know how to make them disappear. You'd think they'd vanish after a few seconds, but they don't. At least not usually. On the other hand, if I'm looking at a web page, the bar at the bottom that includes the "back" and "close" buttons seems to appear and disappear with some logic that I still don't understand, so if I want to close the page or go back a page, I have to fidget with it at random until the navigation bar appears. I'm sure there's some logic to the way it works, but it's not intuitive. Also, the way the controls obscure the frame when you're taking a picture makes it hard to frame pictures well. I normally think of Apple as being at the forefront of usability, but this stuff is definitely a step backwards from iOS 6. This may be due to the fact that I'm using iOS 7 on a 4S, but it still shouldn't be that bad.

That said, I was recently on vacation and borrowed a friend's old spare Samsung phone running Android from a few years ago, and was shocked at how unusable the thing was. Friends sometimes tease me for being pre-Apple, but I still can't believe how much worse it was than my already low expectations.

if I'm looking at a photo in landscape mode, bars at the top and bottom of the screen obscure part of the picture, and I don't know how to make them disappear...

just tap the screen...(in the middle on the photo)
post #34 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by peter236 View Post

The chief in industrial design has not released any dramatically new designs since iPhone 4. It is not surprising their market share is crumbling.

 

 

That statement makes little sense. Apple has increased its sales every quarter since the iPhone has been released. Considering the volume of sales, why would Apple dramatically change its design of highly successful products like the iPhone.  Back when Apple was less successful, it would frequently change the look of its products, but this was mostly to get Mac diehards to upgrade products that took a long time to need to be replaced. Further, Apple has innovated in different ways. I had an iPhone 4 and 5S in my hand today. It is amazing how much lighter an iPhone 5S is then an iPhone 4. 

post #35 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by bennettvista View Post

The truth is that Jony needs a boss, an editor to do his best work. Steve was that guy. Without anyone to answer to he's swimming in his own pool of perfectionism and fear of failure. There are many examples of similar situations in the film business, music business, etc.. Artists who do their best work when they have someone to answer to, someone to kick them in the ass. But given total freedom and control they flounder.
That's assuming Steve's "editing" was alway right. We're not there so we don't know if there were good things Steve shot down and bad things he approved. And let's not forget that Steve initially faught porting iTunes to Windows, videos on iPods, an App Store for the iPhone, etc. In all those cases he has to be pushed and persuaded that it was the right idea. So this idea that Steve always new best is a fallacy. As far as Ive goes, there is now way he could become good in this role if he only has one foot in or didn't have total control. Now he has that control. And if he fails it's all in him and he has to take the fall for it. Cook gave him the responsibility, now he needs to own it.
post #36 of 118
Yeah, my fear is that Jony Ive is responsible for iOS 7's horrific mess and Christie is leaving because his original UI guidance was destroyed by Ive. But it was that original design that created the success of iOS devices in the first place. I want to know how this utter stupidity of iOS 7 got through even the first round of management meetings. Doesn't anyone at Apple have enough UI education AND power/influence???
post #37 of 118
If iOS 7 is still difficult to use after all these months, perhaps the people that say that are the fools
post #38 of 118

My My.  this fellow known as Tallest Skil seems to have little to say except that he persistently and consistently disagrees with anyone who writes unfavorably about IOS-7 or Mavericks.  Further, his vocabulary seems a little limited.  "Shut up," is hardly a helpful comment.  I wonder, Tallest, can you accept the concept that not everyone likes whatever it is that you like about IOS-7 and Mavericks?  Can you accept the idea that a good number of long time Apple users are disheartened at the direction the company is taking?  Or are you simply related to Mr. Ive?

SkyKing
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SkyKing
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post #39 of 118

I honestly don't understand all the hate leveled at iOS 7. I've grown to like the design aesthetic of the OS, and sure there are some design quirks and oddities, but overall I give it a solid B+. However, most of the design issues seem to be from app developers themselves. Take a popular app like the Associated Press which I use constantly. Just look at this crap:

 

 

 

As for Ive. He's a guru at hardware design, but I hope he's not trying to spread himself too thin by trying to do too much at one time (hardware AND software).

post #40 of 118
It's a really bad idea to put hardware design guy in charge of software UI/usability. This is not good for iOS/OS X. iOS 7 is already a step back in many ways in usability and it is a little disconcerting to see Apple shedding people who made the company what it is/was so fast.

Mac Pro, 8 Core, 32 GB RAM, nVidia GTX 285 1 GB, 2 TB storage, 240 GB OWC Mercury Extreme SSD, 30'' Cinema Display, 27'' iMac, 24'' iMac, 17'' MBP, 13'' MBP, 32 GB iPhone 4, 64 GB iPad 3

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Mac Pro, 8 Core, 32 GB RAM, nVidia GTX 285 1 GB, 2 TB storage, 240 GB OWC Mercury Extreme SSD, 30'' Cinema Display, 27'' iMac, 24'' iMac, 17'' MBP, 13'' MBP, 32 GB iPhone 4, 64 GB iPad 3

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