Editorial: Apple is neither doomed nor saved now that Jony Ive has moved on

Posted:
in General Discussion edited June 28
Jony Ive has left the building that he helped design. But, this won't change anything inside the walls, and isn't a net gain or loss for Apple itself.

Jony Ive and Steve Jobs
Jony Ive and Steve Jobs


After Apple and Ive announced the "departure" on Thursday afternoon, AppleInsider staff started talking about the announcement. While there was initial shock about it, we very quickly realized that this was a long time in coming, and pretty apparent.

Instead of seeing Ive on stage, we'd periodically get a narrated video talking about finely milled curves, and all-aluminum enclosures. And, other than Apple Park, we'd see him less in media.

And then, yesterday at 4:50 P.M. Eastern Time it happened.






Following it, there are already tales of gloom and doom. And, simultaneously, there are also virtual victory dances, celebrating the house that has apparently fallen on Ive's head for some perceived design sleight that one internet user or other has been offended by.

Neither scenario is accurate.

For the next decade, like it has been for about the last since Steve Jobs left the company and died, Ive's departure will be simultaneously heralded and praised. For the Ive detractors, what Apple does right for the next decade will be because he left. For the fans, what Apple does wrong will be because he's gone.

Ive isn't leaving the planet, launched into space on Elon Musk's next Tesla roadster departure. He's forming his own design firm, and Tim Cook is very clear on how he'll be contributing to Apple going forward.

"Apple will continue to benefit from Jony's talents by working directly with him on exclusive projects, and through the ongoing work of the brilliant and passionate design team he has built," said Cook in Apple's announcement about the departure. "After so many years working closely together, I'm happy that our relationship continues to evolve and I look forward to working with Jony long into the future."

It must be fantastic for a start-up to have Apple as its first client.

Regardless, we're not suddenly going to get thicker iPhones. There will be no epiphany about upgradeable Macs across the board. Whatever feature that any given pundit is asking for that isn't particularly Apple-like, won't magically be included.

Nobody is coming in to directly replace Ive, and there has already been some discussion about that, which we think is wrong. Apple is an institution, with many a solid disaster recovery or executive departure plan at the ready.

And, it has known for a while that this day was coming. Apple as an institution probably knew when it promoted Ive to Chief Design Officer in 2015.

Jony Ive flanked by Alan Dye and Richard Howarth, photo: The Telegraph
Jony Ive flanked by Alan Dye and Richard Howarth, photo: The Telegraph


Apple will stick with that departure plan that it apparently forged years ago, and a design team loaded with long-time partners to Ive. Ive will still be involved in most things Apple for a very long time, either directly or as a result of a legacy of hires or teamwork.

The company may slowly, and imperceptibly, shift away from what it would have become without Ive haunting the headquarters full-time, the same way that it did without Steve Jobs. But, there will be no way to tell what that future would have been, so there's no way to compare the two.

Whether this is better or worse for the company is not a universal constant. Like every other decision that Apple and Ive have made over the last two decades, the impact felt will be subjective, not objective.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 66
    McJobsMcJobs Posts: 24member
    Jonathan is not walking away. He was pushed. The runway is now clear for Scott Forstall return.
    edited June 28 AppleExposed
  • Reply 2 of 66
    I'm taking it as a positive - we still get all his creativity with none of his mandates. 
    dysamoria
  • Reply 3 of 66
    red oakred oak Posts: 679member
    Cook really dropped the ball not having a succession plan in place.  It’s nuts having this group now report to Williams.  Nuts.  Ive was there for 25 years and your telling us he did not groom a successor for arguably the most important function within Apple?   This is a breakdown in corporate responsibility 

    Almost as bad as having the head of HR run Retail 

    Ive has evidently been checked out for years.  Why did Cook not get better ahead of this? 
    dysamoria
  • Reply 4 of 66
    Farewell, Jony.  You've made Apple a better place with better products.
    edited June 28 macpluspluswatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 5 of 66
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 4,213member
    Or put another way: he wasn’t the sole person behind all of Apple’s successes or failures. Neither was Steve Jobs.
    doctwelvechaickamacplusplusflydogracerhomie3dysamoriaAppleExposedmacxpressjony0
  • Reply 6 of 66
    Hard to see how anyone can see this is a positive light. Perhaps we might see quality apple products at lower price points since production won't have to deal with Jony's OCD. But Apple is a behemoth now.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 66
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 4,213member
    McJobs said:
    Jonathan is not walking away. He was pushed. The runway is now clear for Scott Forstall return.
    Scott Forstall is not a hardware designer. And Apple has a software chief.
    MacQc
  • Reply 8 of 66
    genovellegenovelle Posts: 980member
    red oak said:
    Cook really dropped the ball not having a succession plan in place.  It’s nuts having this group now report to Williams.  Nuts.  Ive was there for 25 years and your telling us he did not groom a successor for arguably the most important function within Apple?   This is a breakdown in corporate responsibility 

    Almost as bad as having the head of HR run Retail 

    Ive has evidently been checked out for years.  Why did Cook not get better ahead of this? 
    Not really. According to another interview, Ives has be working in his private design studio for 3 years now and at that point not been involved in the day to day. The transition has already occurred and has been well tested. 
    Solichaickadoctwelvestompyracerhomie3dysamoriapscooter63MKMcAppleExposedMacQc
  • Reply 9 of 66
    spice-boyspice-boy Posts: 1,017member
    When Ive designed products hit the market 25 years ago they stood out because most PC's were really a box with a bunch of components stuck inside, Ive / Apple made them into consumer products. Function met form at that moment and now we demand beautiful shiny (usually) fetish items in new colors, materials and finishes each year. 
    The rest of the market one could argue has caught up with the look of Apple's product, well mostly. How will a posts Ive products change? Very little is my guess at least not until a competitor breaks ground with something that has not been seen before. Stay tuned...
    edited June 28 jony0
  • Reply 10 of 66
    Eric_WVGGEric_WVGG Posts: 683member
    > “He's forming his own design firm, and Tim Cook is very clear on how he'll be contributing to Apple going forward. ‘Apple will continue to benefit from Jony's talents by working directly with him on exclusive projects, and through the ongoing work of the brilliant and passionate design team he has built’”

    2013: "Scott Forstall will be leaving Apple and will serve as an advisor to CEO Tim Cook in the interim.”

    Do you think Scott got more than a birthday card from Cook since leaving the company?

    I'm not saying there's bad blood, but this is just corporate-speak. Ive is out.
    edited June 28 canukstorm
  • Reply 11 of 66
    flydogflydog Posts: 353member
    McJobs said:
    Jonathan is not walking away. He was pushed. The runway is now clear for Scott Forstall return.
    Let this be a lesson to the rest of the forum members that drinking and posting don't mix. 
    mike1pscooter63MacQcradarthekatmacxpressfastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 66
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,967administrator
    Eric_WVGG said:
    > “He's forming his own design firm, and Tim Cook is very clear on how he'll be contributing to Apple going forward. ‘Apple will continue to benefit from Jony's talents by working directly with him on exclusive projects, and through the ongoing work of the brilliant and passionate design team he has built’”

    2013: "Scott Forstall will be leaving Apple and will serve as an advisor to CEO Tim Cook in the interim.”

    Do you think Scott got more than a birthday card from Cook since leaving the company?

    I'm not saying there's bad blood, but this is just corporate-speak. Ive is out.
    Straight from Ive: https://www.ft.com/content/0b20032e-98cf-11e9-8cfb-30c211dcd229


    edited June 28 muthuk_vanalingamMacQcradarthekatfastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 66
    macplusplusmacplusplus Posts: 1,919member
    McJobs said:
    Jonathan is not walking away. He was pushed. The runway is now clear for Scott Forstall return.
    Why would Forstall return? Steve Jobs has returned because he was an entrepreneur, we can’t charge Forstall with such a burden. I don’t deny his talent and contribution but I don’t see Apple in such a critical position as to issue calls to old comrades.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 66
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 4,213member
    Eric_WVGG said:
    > “He's forming his own design firm, and Tim Cook is very clear on how he'll be contributing to Apple going forward. ‘Apple will continue to benefit from Jony's talents by working directly with him on exclusive projects, and through the ongoing work of the brilliant and passionate design team he has built’”

    2013: "Scott Forstall will be leaving Apple and will serve as an advisor to CEO Tim Cook in the interim.”

    Do you think Scott got more than a birthday card from Cook since leaving the company?

    I'm not saying there's bad blood, but this is just corporate-speak. Ive is out.
    Except when Forstall left he barely got a mention by Cook and was not quoted in Apple’s press release at all. Ive was plus gave an interview to discuss it. Of course that doesn’t mean this isn’t just an exit strategy. But the announcement is very different to what happened with Forstall.
    dysamoriaAppleExposed
  • Reply 15 of 66
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 4,213member
    McJobs said:
    Jonathan is not walking away. He was pushed. The runway is now clear for Scott Forstall return.
    Why would Forstall return? Steve Jobs has returned because he was an entrepreneur, we can’t charge Forstall with such a burden. I don’t deny his talent and contribution but I don’t see Apple in such a critical position as to issue calls to old comrades.
    If Forstall was so important how come no other tech company has hired him since he left Apple?
  • Reply 16 of 66
    macplusplusmacplusplus Posts: 1,919member
    Eric_WVGG said:
    > “He's forming his own design firm, and Tim Cook is very clear on how he'll be contributing to Apple going forward. ‘Apple will continue to benefit from Jony's talents by working directly with him on exclusive projects, and through the ongoing work of the brilliant and passionate design team he has built’”

    2013: "Scott Forstall will be leaving Apple and will serve as an advisor to CEO Tim Cook in the interim.”

    Do you think Scott got more than a birthday card from Cook since leaving the company?

    I'm not saying there's bad blood, but this is just corporate-speak. Ive is out.
    Straight from Ive: https://www.ft.com/content/0b20032e-98cf-11e9-8cfb-30c211dcd229

    Time to try entrepreneurship. Most probably in 30 years he accumulated a shitload of capital. Consider how he will be backed by investors, given his personality assets. Besides, he wouldn’t jump into such an adventure without getting signals from some investors. I don’t think he will restrict himself to the one-man show retired business style. I imagine a large studio with around 50 designers or more, serving large companies all over the world. Not only industries, but also public institutions, banks, public events, everywhere where design makes a difference. He has a bright future...
    edited June 28 radarthekatfastasleep
  • Reply 17 of 66
    Ive is probably bored with designing another iPhone, another iPad, another MacBook. These devices hit the peak of their design "form" years ago. Imagine being asked to design a new pencil (real pencil, not Apple Pencil), or a new shovel, every year. After a certain point, innovations in a design space dry up, because a product is as good as it's going to get. The guts will get faster, but an iPhone will basically always just be a flat rounded rectangle that is all screen, with a couple of buttons around the outside edge.

    Maybe he was really looking forward to designing the Apple Car, but when that got the brakes put on it, well... 

    Whatever happened to Marc Newson? Is he still at Apple? I haven't heard anything about in a long while.
  • Reply 18 of 66
    FolioFolio Posts: 652member
    This way he can design an intergalactic spaceship for Jeff Bezos
  • Reply 19 of 66
    If his new company designs electronics products for other companies, there is a clear problem.

    If his company designs non-electronics products, this is the loss of an important person but not a sign of doom (he's important, not the only designer).

    If his company really continues to do work for Apple (I think this is unlikely other than maybe helping to maintain some institutional memory), it's probably a mild positive (as the alternative of him doing non-apple work but continuing to have a leadership position would be corrosive).
  • Reply 20 of 66
    macplusplusmacplusplus Posts: 1,919member
    Folio said:
    This way he can design an intergalactic spaceship for Jeff Bezos
    That’s the point...
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