Jony Ive's departure follows years of dissatisfaction and absenteeism

Posted:
in General Discussion
Apple's chief design officer Jony Ive reportedly disliked how the company focused on operations more than design and would regularly fail to attend his own design meetings.

Apple's outgoing Chief Design Officer, Jony Ive
Apple's outgoing Chief Design Officer, Jony Ive


Jony Ive will leave Apple later this year to run his own design firm, LoveFrom. However, the Wall Street Journal claims that he effectively left several years ago, with an official reduction in his day-to-day involvement followed by his missing design meetings that he had called. Reportedly, Ive was dissatisfied with how Apple has concentrated more on operations than on design since Tim Cook took over from the late Steve Jobs.

"When Steve Jobs was alive," an unnamed former member of the Design Group told WSJ, "there was a lot of effort toward: Steve's coming to the studio today, so we have to have a lot for him to see. When he died, that went away."

In comparison, sources say that Cook was rarely seen in the design studio and this dispirited Ive.






What Cook did do was to reportedly pay Ive far more than any other Apple executives, and then later to facilitate his working from home more.

According to the same sources, the idea of Ive working from home was to help him recharge after years of intense working on products like the iMac and the iPhone, but it didn't work out.

"The reality was that he worked just as hard and got just as tired," said the source.

The original gold version of the Apple Watch
The original gold version of the Apple Watch


Cook also backed Ive when the designer was pushing to create an Apple Watch and other executives didn't want it. However, Ive really wanted to make a luxury watch and the company compromised by making it be a companion to the iPhone, but with an optional high-price version.

Reportedly, thousands of the $10,000 gold edition of the Apple Watch remained unsold. Overall, WSJ says that Apple sold around 10 million Apple Watches in the first year -- but that this was a quarter of what they'd expected.

After that, in 2015, Cook made Ive Apple's Chief Design Officer which accomplished two things. It freed Ive from his day to day responsibilities so that he could concentrate on creating Apple Park, and it also further enabled him to work from his homes in San Francisco, Hawaii or the UK.

"The team craved being around [Ive]," said a source the WSJ describes as being close to Apple's leadership at the time. "He's engaging. Him being around less was disappointing."

The industrial design and human interface groups officially had new leaders in Alan Dye and Richard Howarth but the teams continued to look to Ive.

"They still wanted Jony's thumbs-up to go forward," the leadership source said.

"It's not that you needed him to make every decision," said another designer. "He challenged us to do better."

During this time, Ive created a monthly "design week" session with Apple's software designers, but apparently he rarely showed up.

That absenteeism and remote working continued on through 2017 when Apple was designing the tenth anniversary iPhone. Ive did attend a meeting about it, but that meeting took place near his home in San Francisco, and reportedly he did little.

A person at the meeting told WSJ that Ive listened to the approximately 20 designers present as they outlined what they wanted to do. However, he then left without providing responses or answers to their questions.

"Many of us were thinking: how did it come to this?" one designer said. "There was a sense that "Jony was gone but reluctant to hand over the reins."

Apple Park
Apple Park


However, Ive did work on Apple Park and in that building has created new processes and new methods of working that speed up prototyping for both the Industrial Design and Human Interface groups.

"He built Apple into this ID and HI powerhouse," said a source. "What does that mean going forward? None of us know."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 161
    marsorrymarsorry Posts: 45member
    Shame, I actually think he's just a guy missing his old friend Steve and was acting out when he didn't get the super-star attention he was used to getting.  Leadership is such a critical aspect of work that when you feel undervalued, it shows in unintended ways.  The other problem is that he was a top-level leader and he affected everyone working below him, so that's uncalled for.  I think it's probably best for him to step aside and let the company take on a different course.  Nobody is indispensable, it's time the other designers stepped up and filled those shoes.
    seanjleavingthebiggravnorodomlkruppjbdragonkitatitMacQcflyingdprepressthisdysamoria
  • Reply 2 of 161
    chasmchasm Posts: 1,697member
    This is from the WSJ. Considering their recent (past several years) reporting on Apple, I'm inclined to believe this is -- at best -- half-true.

    I do think he has gradually stepped away from primary design responsibilities for quite some time (at least 2015) and taken opportunities to design other kinds of products (mostly with his friend Mark Newsom), but 30 years with a stellar record is a great legacy that he should be proud of, and I'm confident his team of designers (most of which have worked with him for many years) will both carry on his discipline and yet also forge their own vision for Apple's future products.
    edited July 1 seanjmdriftmeyerracerhomie3eerroknowitalllkruppgilly33StrangeDaysbrertechrepressthis
  • Reply 3 of 161
    indiekidukindiekiduk Posts: 313member
    so many news outlets have made the mistake his company name is going to be LoveFrom, if you read the Apple press release you'll see its actually LoveForm. I suppose this many people making this mistake proves its not a great name.
    seanismorrisknowitallwilliamlondonrepressthislostkiwiminicoffeejony0
  • Reply 4 of 161
    macplusplusmacplusplus Posts: 1,919member
    It is unbelievable that Apple couldn’t sell that Edition watch. Apple might sell it if they wanted that. While it is also true that the industry cannot tolerate such niche products, the Edition is only a fraction of Apple’s business and with such a power Apple could succeed with the Edition and obviously not go out of business like Vertu. There are a lot of VIPs in the world that would crave for such a watch. Apparently Ive has been left alone on the Marketing issues regarding Edition. The first Watch came in a luxurious box, with 2 m charging cable and a very high quality polycarbonate case. Watch 4 comes in a paper envelope, without case and with 70 cm charging cable unexpectedly short causing the Watch to slip from the hand and drop. The rationale of the Edition was not wrong, that spot on the wrist is very special and there are a lot of people that would decorate themselves on that spot with luxurious things. From high to low that would create demand for the less expensive variants as well.

    Ive’s departure is a loss for Apple.
    edited July 1 JosephAUexceptionhandler
  • Reply 5 of 161
    boboliciousbobolicious Posts: 620member
    "Ive was dissatisfied with how Apple has concentrated more on operations than on design since Tim Cook took over from the late Steve Jobs"

    "there was a lot of effort toward: Steve's coming to the studio today, so we have to have a lot for him to see. When he died, that went away." In comparison, sources say that Cook was rarely seen in the design studio and this dispirited Ive.

    Is it not that anyone is doing a worse job, but that the component (job) of star guest critic is in absentia...? I can't imagine the sense of loss, and presumably the psychic challenges of carrying on, or in trying to fill such a role...

    edited July 1 seanjHypereality
  • Reply 6 of 161
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,318member
    If someone at his age and experience needs a mentor coddling him and encouraging him by challenging his work along the entire process from design to finished product you have to wonder how much he really did and how much was Steve cracking the whip constantly.

    He would have hated working for Steve at NeXT because 95% of the time was spent at PIXAR the last three years before we at NeXT merged with Apple.
    edited July 1 knowitallelijahgSanctum1972dewmemariowincogilly33MacQcfastasleepjony0
  • Reply 7 of 161
    the monkthe monk Posts: 58member
    marsorry said:
    Shame, I actually think he's just a guy missing his old friend Steve and was acting out when he didn't get the super-star attention he was used to getting.  Leadership is such a critical aspect of work that when you feel undervalued, it shows in unintended ways.  The other problem is that he was a top-level leader and he affected everyone working below him, so that's uncalled for.  I think it's probably best for him to step aside and let the company take on a different course.  Nobody is indispensable, it's time the other designers stepped up and filled those shoes.
    This article was written primarily from the point of view of the design staff, so don’t make any absolute conclusions. Maybe Ive couldn’t change after his friend’s passing, but it looks like it was the design staff who couldn’t move on either. They’re adults, they were trained by the best. They didn’t need their full-time mentor anymore.

    And if he was indeed spending a great deal of time designing Apple Park as the articles states many times, then obviously he didn't have time for his former duties. He is human.

    And I would like to know about these sources who say they hardly saw him but claim to know how he was feeling. Nice way to treat a man who made the design team the stars of Apple.
    seanjgeorgie01gilly33randominternetpersonlostkiwi
  • Reply 8 of 161
    irelandireland Posts: 17,684member
    I wonder if Jony's work at Apple Park is the thing that's showing Apple to be very productive lately? The press seem eager to throw him under the bus, but the truth is we'll never know. Let's just hope Apple are getting this act together when it comes to keyboards.
    edited July 1
  • Reply 9 of 161
    irelandireland Posts: 17,684member
    so many news outlets have made the mistake his company name is going to be LoveFrom, if you read the Apple press release you'll see its actually LoveForm. I suppose this many people making this mistake proves its not a great name.
    Yeah, not great, but for a design company such as this/his, the name is mostly irrelevant.
  • Reply 10 of 161
    EsquireCatsEsquireCats Posts: 668member
    Is this the part where we rubbish anyone that leaves apple? I think it's fair to say that Ive had a lot of really great contributions and some of Apple's success is directly driven from his involvement. However Ive is not irreplaceable, and a good fit for the Apple of today would produce just as many ground breaking design innovations.
    lkrupp
  • Reply 11 of 161
    irelandireland Posts: 17,684member

    It is unbelievable that Apple couldn’t sell that Edition watch. Apple might sell it if they wanted that. While it is also true that the industry cannot tolerate such niche products, the Edition is only a fraction of Apple’s business and with such a power Apple could succeed with the Edition and obviously not go out of business like Vertu. There are a lot of VIPs in the world that would crave for such a watch. Apparently Ive has been left alone on the Marketing issues regarding Edition. The first Watch came in a luxurious box, with 2 m charging cable and a very high quality polycarbonate case. Watch 4 comes in a paper envelope, without case and with 70 cm charging cable unexpectedly short causing the Watch to slip from the hand and drop. 
    Dropping the $10,000+ Edition was the right move. It wasn't great PR for Apple, as the expectation was no one could afford this watch, and the little developer traction Apple are getting with the Watch now would be non-existent with Edition Watch market. Focusing on both health and fashion was the right move for the product. But let's face it, it's not as if you still can't pay pretty penny for an Apple Watch. If you want to, you a buy a Hermès for $1,500+.
    edited July 1 elijahggilly33fastasleep
  • Reply 12 of 161
    macplusplusmacplusplus Posts: 1,919member
    ireland said:

    It is unbelievable that Apple couldn’t sell that Edition watch. Apple might sell it if they wanted that. While it is also true that the industry cannot tolerate such niche products, the Edition is only a fraction of Apple’s business and with such a power Apple could succeed with the Edition and obviously not go out of business like Vertu. There are a lot of VIPs in the world that would crave for such a watch. Apparently Ive has been left alone on the Marketing issues regarding Edition. The first Watch came in a luxurious box, with 2 m charging cable and a very high quality polycarbonate case. Watch 4 comes in a paper envelope, without case and with 70 cm charging cable unexpectedly short causing the Watch to slip from the hand and drop. 
    Dropping the $10,000+ Edition was the right move. It wasn't great PR for Apple, as the expectation was no one could afford this watch, and the little developer traction Apple are getting with the Watch now would be non-existent with Edition Watch market. Focusing on both health and fashion was the right move for the product. But let's face it, it's not as if you still can't pay pretty penny for an Apple Watch. If you want to, you a buy a Hermès for $1,500+.
    This is not the point. The point is, that unique and very special spot the wrist has many competing candidates. A luxurious item can always chase your Watch away. You have to counter that with something of equal power, which was Edition.
    seanj
  • Reply 13 of 161
    seanismorrisseanismorris Posts: 1,105member
    ireland said:

    It is unbelievable that Apple couldn’t sell that Edition watch. Apple might sell it if they wanted that. While it is also true that the industry cannot tolerate such niche products, the Edition is only a fraction of Apple’s business and with such a power Apple could succeed with the Edition and obviously not go out of business like Vertu. There are a lot of VIPs in the world that would crave for such a watch. Apparently Ive has been left alone on the Marketing issues regarding Edition. The first Watch came in a luxurious box, with 2 m charging cable and a very high quality polycarbonate case. Watch 4 comes in a paper envelope, without case and with 70 cm charging cable unexpectedly short causing the Watch to slip from the hand and drop. 
    Dropping the $10,000+ Edition was the right move. It wasn't great PR for Apple, as the expectation was no one could afford this watch, and the little developer traction Apple are getting with the Watch now would be non-existent with Edition Watch market. Focusing on both health and fashion was the right move for the product. But let's face it, it's not as if you still can't pay pretty penny for an Apple Watch. If you want to, you a buy a Hermès for $1,500+.
    This is not the point. The point is, that unique and very special spot the wrist has many competing candidates. A luxurious item can always chase your Watch away. You have to counter that with something of equal power, which was Edition.
    Fortunately, Apple didn’t lose $10,000 per watch.  I’d be shocked if they cost 1/10 of that.  I never understood spending car money on a watch you don’t need...

    At least a large number of people bought in to the cheaper version...
    elijahgtoysandmedysamoria
  • Reply 14 of 161
    seanismorrisseanismorris Posts: 1,105member
    so many news outlets have made the mistake his company name is going to be LoveFrom, if you read the Apple press release you'll see its actually LoveForm. I suppose this many people making this mistake proves its not a great name.
    LoveForm isn’t a bad name... as in form over function.  It’s in line with an artistic focus.

    Apple isn’t a young vibrant company anymore, obviously it’s not IBM, but still has a stifling atmosphere.  Apple is probably better off with Ive working elsewhere but still contributing to the vision.
  • Reply 15 of 161
    Jon has probably been secretly working on the Apple Car for years, with the failure to launch to go with it. His absence at design meetings is due to compartmentalism, only a small percent at Apple know about or work on AppleCar. His last 5 years of focus shifted to a huge secret project, with nothing to show for it. 

    Last, there are no more surprises in phone design, we have John to thank for that. We aren’t seeing the full picture of what Jon has been doing at Apple, the public (and most of Apple) will probably never see or know all his contributions. 


    edited July 1 knowitallradarthekat
  • Reply 16 of 161
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,969administrator
    so many news outlets have made the mistake his company name is going to be LoveFrom, if you read the Apple press release you'll see its actually LoveForm. I suppose this many people making this mistake proves its not a great name.
    Apple's PR doesn't name the firm.

    https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2019/06/jony-ive-to-form-independent-design-company-with-apple-as-client/
    StrangeDays
  • Reply 17 of 161
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 1,453member
    It is unbelievable that Apple couldn’t sell that Edition watch. Apple might sell it if they wanted that. While it is also true that the industry cannot tolerate such niche products, the Edition is only a fraction of Apple’s business and with such a power Apple could succeed with the Edition and obviously not go out of business like Vertu. There are a lot of VIPs in the world that would crave for such a watch. Apparently Ive has been left alone on the Marketing issues regarding Edition. The first Watch came in a luxurious box, with 2 m charging cable and a very high quality polycarbonate case. Watch 4 comes in a paper envelope, without case and with 70 cm charging cable unexpectedly short causing the Watch to slip from the hand and drop. The rationale of the Edition was not wrong, that spot on the wrist is very special and there are a lot of people that would decorate themselves on that spot with luxurious things. From high to low that would create demand for the less expensive variants as well.

    Ive’s departure is a loss for Apple.
    It didn't sell, Apple got stuck with a huge leftover.
    The watch was insane because it was identical to the $10000 less models.
    It was also much to bulky to be a fashion statement.
    elijahgdysamoria
  • Reply 18 of 161
    matrix077matrix077 Posts: 781member
    So.. another Apple Is Doomed article then. 

    Oh, and I find it’s hard to believe that Apple built thousands of Apple Watch Edition without knowing the demand first, giving Tim Cook tendency to not oversupply.
    StrangeDays
  • Reply 19 of 161
    matrix077matrix077 Posts: 781member
    It is unbelievable that Apple couldn’t sell that Edition watch. Apple might sell it if they wanted that. While it is also true that the industry cannot tolerate such niche products, the Edition is only a fraction of Apple’s business and with such a power Apple could succeed with the Edition and obviously not go out of business like Vertu. There are a lot of VIPs in the world that would crave for such a watch. Apparently Ive has been left alone on the Marketing issues regarding Edition. The first Watch came in a luxurious box, with 2 m charging cable and a very high quality polycarbonate case. Watch 4 comes in a paper envelope, without case and with 70 cm charging cable unexpectedly short causing the Watch to slip from the hand and drop. The rationale of the Edition was not wrong, that spot on the wrist is very special and there are a lot of people that would decorate themselves on that spot with luxurious things. From high to low that would create demand for the less expensive variants as well.

    Ive’s departure is a loss for Apple.
    Please don’t believe everything WSJ published about Apple. They *always* sensationalize when it comes to Apple.
    gilly33StrangeDays
  • Reply 20 of 161
    hentaiboyhentaiboy Posts: 1,029member
    It is unbelievable that Apple couldn’t sell that Edition watch.
    Actually it’s unbelievable that people bought them. Solid gold paperweights in 10 years’ time.
    elijahgdysamoria
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