Jony Ive's exit from Apple caused by company culture changes and growing frustration

Posted:
in General Discussion edited November 10
Apple's former design chief Jony Ive left the iPhone maker burnt out and tired in the wake of CEO Tim Cook's numerous structural changes, an article based on a book on Apple's transformation claims, with the film "Yesterday" becoming part of Ive's announcement to leave to his design team.




Jony Ive left Apple in 2019, after almost three decades working for the tech giant on many of its major products. The departure was a shock exit, but one that was inevitable due to a change in culture at the company.

In a New York Times article based on the Tripp Mickle book "After Steve: How Apple Became a Trillion-Dollar Company and Lost Its Soul," Ive resigned after years of frustration, seeing the company migrate from a design-centric entity to one that was more utilitarian.

The account starts by emphasizing the relationship between Ive and former CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs, detailing the creation of the iconic iMac. With Ive's presence deemed to be a relief for Jobs at times, the two famously worked closely together, with Jobs constantly visiting the company's design studio.

With the introduction of Cook and the death of Jobs, Ive's experience at the company had considerably changed. Cook seemingly showed lower interest in design than Jobs, with far fewer visits to the studio during the creation of the Apple Watch.

During changes of focus for the Apple Watch from fashion to fitness, Ive reportedly approached Cook about being tired and intending to step back from the business. Arguments with colleagues over promotion and managing hundreds of staff instead of the smaller 20-person design team also drained Ive considerably.

The fear of Ive's departure affecting the stock price prompted Cook into reducing Ive's responsibilities and making him chief design officer. At that time, very few at Apple apparently knew of Ive's frustration and burnout.

The changes also apparently led to Ive working differently, switching from almost daily product reviews to sometimes not passing judgment on designs at all for some weeks.

For the 10th-anniversary iPhone, Ive called together software designers for a product review at San Francisco's social club, The Battery. After failing to apologize for arriving nearly three hours late, Ive reviewed printouts and provided feedback, but didn't make any final decisions at that time.

While Ive was seemingly absent, Cook continued to shift the company in a new direction, including bringing in former Boeing finance chief James Bell as a company director to replace marketer Mickey Drexler. Ive wasn't supportive of the change, commenting "He's another one of those accountants" to a colleague.

Cook's enabling of the finance department to have more say also irked Ive, which moved to audit outside contractors.

On Ive's decision to depart, the article talks about an evening in June 2019 where Ive brought together his design teams to a theater for a private screening of "Yesterday." The movie choice was apt, as it was a "two-hour exploration of the eternal conflict between art and commerce," the article states.

After the foreshadowing movie, Ive told his teams "Art needs the proper space and support to grow. When you're really big, that's especially important."

One day later, design teams were told to clear their calendars for a meeting with Ive, who told them that with the completion of the new building, his time at the company was ending. Ive praised the team and urged them to maintain Apple's identity, as well as assuring them he would continue to work as a consultant via his design firm LoveFrom.

Since Ive's departure, and receiving a CEO-worthy exit package valued at more than $100 million, design at Apple has seemingly taken a back seat to features and performance. Designers said the lack of Ive has prompted more collaboration with colleagues working in engineering than before, but at the same time they face more cost pressures over their work.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 82
    Fred257Fred257 Posts: 210member
    Ive was extremely important for Apple. It sounds like his time was up and everyone needed to move on.
    KTRmagman1979lmasantiravnorodomradarthekatwilliamhbyronlrandominternetpersonramanpfaff
  • Reply 2 of 82
    xyzzy-xxxxyzzy-xxx Posts: 135member
    Apple needs to find to its roots again, even it will not be Wallstreets darling anymore.
    KTRcanukstormopinionbyronl
  • Reply 3 of 82
    humbug1873humbug1873 Posts: 47member
    That's pretty much as expected. Cooks is an accountant at best who has absolutely no understanding how to keep Apple innovating. He leeched off the state of Apple when he'd taken over and admittedly was an effective Chief Excel Operator indeed. 
    But he failed giving Apple a future and I almost expect the next CEO toy (something with AR) is going to be the same thing as the 'Damn scribble toy' (S. Jobs) that failed to deliver a quality product from that guy that used to sell 'sugar water' (S.J. again).
    History is repeating itself: The last round John Scully managed to grow the Macintosh after Steve left and essentially proved Apple is no longer able to develop a good product (case in point the embarrassing joke that was the Newton).
    Now Tim Cook took over (again from SJ) and is executing well on all the (many) things Steve started, but I'm afraid he will fail delivering a quality AR Thingamagick (and the 'old' Apple stuff also starts to crumble in oh so many places).
    I think  Peak Apple is already behind us.
    magman1979macplusplusjdonAI
  • Reply 4 of 82
    KTRKTR Posts: 250member
    xyzzy-xxx said:
    Apple needs to find to its roots again, even it will not be Wallstreets darling anymore.
    As ive once said "WE ( meaning Apple) have ideas for products, but, technology had not caught up.
    radarthekat
  • Reply 5 of 82
    I seem to recall Ive stating something about wanting to focus more on design projects that didn't involve mass produced items. 
    lolliverradarthekatpscooter63
  • Reply 6 of 82
    lmasantilmasanti Posts: 162member
    Do we remember when some ‘high exec’ did not apologised by the Maps-gate? Tim Cook asked him to go out.
    With Johnny Ive he was more nice… after the initial ‘fashion Apple Watch’ fiasco.

    The only thing that we must remember is that… “Blaming Apple —and Tim Cook— brings book sales, NYT's page view…”

    Do you imagine an Apple Studio with a single port?
    command_flolliverravnorodomdewmeWeetupscooter63
  • Reply 7 of 82
    lmasantilmasanti Posts: 162member
    quote: “Apple needs to find to its roots again, even it will not be Wallstreets darling anymore.”

    What better ‘find to its roosts’ than the new Studio Mac?
    Beatslolliverradarthekatspock1234Weetudav
  • Reply 8 of 82
    KTRKTR Posts: 250member
    Innovation take time and timing.  Remember the Newton?  Market was nit ready for it, then the Idevices came out.
    lolliverradarthekat
  • Reply 9 of 82
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,399member
    Jony Ive was great for Apple, but I want to know who, specifically, approved the 2013 Mac Pro, who was behind removing all the useful ports on the pro portable machines relying on dongles for everything, and who was responsible for the laptop keyboard disaster from 2016 to 2018?    

    Was Jony also the main pusher behind form over function such as laptops that are thin they can’t have the ports everyone uses?   What about iPhones that bend far too easily (I’m talking about iPhone 6 Max of which mine was bent from the factory right out of the box).

    Some recognition should be given to the A15/M1 Apple silicon team.   That’s a real winner that will keep Apple competitive.   
    command_fwebweaselravnorodomOnPartyBusinessmuthuk_vanalingamentropysdk49dewmemaximarawilliamh
  • Reply 10 of 82
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 3,178member
    If Ive was so great, why hasn't Apple still designed a usable mouse?
    entropysdewmewilliamhclemynxCluntBaby92weirdsmithhypoluxa
  • Reply 11 of 82
    jedwards87jedwards87 Posts: 39member
    xyzzy-xxx said:
    Apple needs to find to its roots again, even it will not be Wallstreets darling anymore.
    Apple is just fine. They transitioned to a mass consumer products company and they are kicking a$$.
    chasmBeatslolliverKTRradarthekatpscooter63
  • Reply 12 of 82
    It’s important to remember that Jonny was just one person. People like to claim Jobs made the iPhone, when really Jobs lead a sizeable number of people to create the iPhone. And that was a phone that now wouldn’t sell, because what the iPhone was was not what it became. What it became was something that thousands of brilliant people had their hands involved in. 

    I think Ive was best when he had Jobs to support his ideas. If Intel had stagnated like they did in the 2010s when Jobs was CEO you can bet Apple would threatened to switch to Apple Silicon years earlier if Intel didn’t start getting them the power efficient chips they wanted. 

    Steve accomplished a lot by sheer force of will which allowed his teams to work from a better position. I can’t fault Tim for not being the same, because I can’t think of many people working in highly important roles that get both the customer’s want and the tools available to them like Steve. (Maybe Kevin Fiege?)

    Either way, I think for the most part Apple is giving people what they want like never before. (Aside from the lack of a proper silver iPhone 13) the Mac Studio and Studio and Studio display have been wanted by fans of the company since the Cube died. The new iPhones are designed to look beautiful and are more damage resistant than ever. 

    The only thing I can see anyone complaining about is that Apple makes very few of their own Applications anymore. But that’s been that way for a very long time. And they obviously stopped because they want to encourage investment in their platform by outside devs. 
    chasmlolliverrandominternetpersonWeetu
  • Reply 13 of 82
    chasmchasm Posts: 2,575member
    If Ive was so great, why hasn't Apple still designed a usable mouse?
    Amen! He never had a great mouse design --  the hockey puck original iMac mouse, and literally the world's worst trackball in the Mighty Mouse.

    While I am absolutely no fan of where the charging port is on the Magic Mouse, to claim it's "unusable" is ridiculous. It was a HUGE improvement over Ive's previous designs, and turned out (in both the battery and rechargeable versions) to be very durable -- if a little too subtle/sophisticated for Windows users, who need VERY OBVIOUS left and right click/scroll wheel areas in order to do their rudimentary functions.

    Ive is certainly a great designer overall, but every designer has their weak spots, and the mice designs were his. I confess I am a bit shocked that Apple hasn't replaced it since he left, but they did at least create a truly fantastic trackpad.

    lolliveropiniondewme
  • Reply 14 of 82
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,172member
    xyzzy-xxx said:
    Apple needs to find to its roots again, even it will not be Wallstreets darling anymore.
    So you need to explain to us what you mean by that. What roots do they need to return to? Design trumping function? Even fewer ports and proprietary ports than now?
    radarthekatwilliamhpscooter63
  • Reply 15 of 82
    ppietrappietra Posts: 288member
    The problem with this analysis is that it misses that Ive was great at Apple because he had Jobs own vision as a counter weight, they fed on each other ideas.
    After Jobs there was no one to fill that void.
    lolliverKTRdewmespock1234clemynxhucom2000randominternetpersonCluntBaby92CheeseFreeze
  • Reply 16 of 82
    chasmchasm Posts: 2,575member
    eriamjh said:
    Jony Ive was great for Apple, but I want to know who, specifically, approved the 2013 Mac Pro, who was behind removing all the useful ports on the pro portable machines relying on dongles for everything, and who was responsible for the laptop keyboard disaster from 2016 to 2018?    

    Was Jony also the main pusher behind form over function such as laptops that are thin they can’t have the ports everyone uses?   What about iPhones that bend far too easily (I’m talking about iPhone 6 Max of which mine was bent from the factory right out of the box).

    Some recognition should be given to the A15/M1 Apple silicon team.   That’s a real winner that will keep Apple competitive.   
    Jony was head of Industrial Design and Human Interface in 2012, so the 2013 Italian Trashcan ... sorry, the Mac Pro ... was his baby.

    I doubt he was "behind" the move to USB-C on the portable lines, since he didn't invent USB-C, but the move to USB-C was overall a smart one ... it make it possible for one port to do all the jobs (power/data/video), and please let's not pretend we didn't have dongles before that point ... because that's BS and you know it. Take one look at the hubs that offer every possible backwards port (and sell for around $300) and imagine all that on the side of your MBP, and how heavy it would be and more expensive it would have to be to accommodate all that AND give you fantastic battery life, quiet performance, etc -- then buy a hub and stop with the whining. Innovation always comes with a period of transition, so either you suffer those periods gracefully, or you get no innovation. Take your pick, because there's never, ever going to be a period where electronics/computer design is settled and done.

    As for who was responsible for the "keyboard disaster" I am currently writing this on (and which has not given me and the vast majority of buyers a lick of trouble, according to Apple Service Provider records that have been investigated by this very website), that would again be (ultimately) Sir Jonathan, in his role as head of hardware and software design at the time.

    I concur with you that the current design teams are doing a great job and Ive, Cook, and Steve's Force-ghost should be very proud of them. They've hit a great balance on ports IMO, and of course the engineering of the recent machines is so fantastic it has turned the entire industry on its head.

    Again.
    edited May 1 lorca2770freeassociate2KTRcaddyman33roundaboutnowseanj
  • Reply 17 of 82
    lorca2770lorca2770 Posts: 62member

    Oh, please Jony has his time, his period of growth. However, technology and BUSINESS change. Many want Apple to look back, and or go back to its roots. Not the so called “beleaguered” that many of us remember.  Apple moved ahead with innovative technology and without having to imitate itself “ad nauseam” because of times past. I got my first 128 Mac when it first came out. I never looked back. Perhaps we leave the cosmetic behind to see the new chips, software, and dynamics. We shall say: thanks Steve and Jony we miss you both, BUT Tim moved the company ahead looking after the clients. Period. Welcome to the always new Apple.

    KTRradarthekatmaximarachasm
  • Reply 18 of 82
    ravnorodomravnorodom Posts: 533member
    I think it's better for him to leave. The longer he stays the crazier Mac stuffs he will come up with that will become totally un-usable. I am glad thicker MacBook Pro is back with SD card slot and more ports so I don't have to pack extra accessories when travel. Kudos to Tim Cook.
    radarthekatDanZphytonixelliots11
  • Reply 19 of 82
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,252member
    Beats said:
    I wish Tim would be less of a beta feminist
    Holy incel nonsense. That is such an idiotic thing to say. Chin up, lad, one day a girl will talk to you. 
    edited May 1 crowleyfreeassociate2Dogpersonmichelb76radarthekatmikeincadewmedarkvadertundraboychasm
  • Reply 20 of 82
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,453member
    Beats said:
    I wish Tim would be less of a beta feminist and focus more on design. 
    I wish that you’d be more of a decent human being 
    StrangeDaysDogpersondewmedarkvaderDAalsethseanjfastasleepTRAG
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