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Apple's efforts to replace its former design chief Jony Ive have been hindered by increased turnover within the company's product design team over the past few years, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. The report claims that Apple has lost the majority of senior designers who worked under Ive, with many of them jumping ship to his new design firm LoveFrom, which he started after leaving Apple in 2019.

Apple-Design-Team.jpeg

At least 15 senior Apple designers have left the company since Ive moved to a part-time role in 2015, whereas turnover was rare between 2000 and 2015, according to the report. Only a "small handful" of senior designers from the Ive era are said to remain.

Last month, Apple confirmed that its vice president of industrial design Evans Hankey plans to leave the company next year, although the report claims that she currently has no plans to join LoveFrom. Hankey has served as Apple's de-facto design chief since Ive's departure, reporting to Apple's operations chief Jeff Williams.

Even before Ive left, the report claims that Apple's operations department had started to gain more influence over the design team, resulting in an increased "focus on costs" rather than "purely on look and features."

"The strength of the team was that we were a nucleus bound together by the incredible environment that there was and the things we could do in a fairly unconventional way for a large company," a longtime Apple designer told Bloomberg, on condition of anonymity. "It was a special team. It wasn't easy after Steve passed — things started to become a lot more complicated. There were more pressures and outside distractions."

The report goes on to examine potential successors to lead Apple's design team, ranging from veteran industrial designer Richard Howarth to software design chief Alan Dye to an outside hire. Apple said Hankey plans to stay on during the transition.

"Apple's design team brings together expert creatives from around the world and across many disciplines to imagine products that are undeniably Apple," an Apple spokesperson said last month, in response to Hankey's planned departure. "The senior design team has strong leaders with decades of experience. Evans plans to stay on as we work through the transition, and we'd like to thank her for her leadership and contributions."

Article Link: Apple's Product Design Team Reportedly Focused More on Costs in Recent Years
 

Spaceboi Scaphandre

macrumors 65816
Jun 8, 2022
1,092
2,947
Not just costs. Since Ive left we got practical designs again. All the form over function designs Ive made that crippled so many products finally got reversed and they're now better than ever (except the mouse. For some reason they haven't reverted that one yet.)

Plus we're getting cheaper machines as a result. Hope we get some more cheaper Macs because of this, and maybe a monitor that isn't absurdly overpriced lmao.
 

PinkyMacGodess

macrumors G3
Mar 7, 2007
9,841
5,800
Midwest America.
Not just costs. Since Ive left we got practical designs again. All the form over function designs Ive made that crippled so many products finally got reversed and they're now better than ever (except the mouse. For some reason they haven't reverted that one yet.)

Plus we're getting cheaper machines as a result. Hope we get some more cheaper Macs because of this, and maybe a monitor that isn't absurdly overpriced lmao.

The 'fat' iPhone 14 Pro Max. How many think that could have happened with Ive in charge.
 

tonywalker23

macrumors 6502
Dec 21, 2003
344
660
SC
Compare that with page 350 of Walter Isaacson's Steve Jobs where the iMac G3 outer translucent design cost triple what other computers cost at the time… and Steve allowed the design without even discussing the cost of it. Long before there were trillions in the bank.
 

Return Zero

macrumors 65816
Oct 2, 2013
1,129
3,137
Kentucky
No surprise. Say what you want about Ive, thinness obsession, Jobs, the G4 Cube, etc. The design department never felt as under-funded or under-staffed as it does today. The new iMac is the same as the old iMac is the same as the iMac from 18 years ago. The iPhone, iPad, and watch designs are very stale, just iteratively recycled (still nice but more industrial than interesting). The Mac Studio, MacBook, AirPods, and Apple TV designs are functionally great but just plain boring.

A product design team that is focused on costs above actual product design is no design team at all. Apple needs a new lavish “halo” design product or two. Something that reminds us of the days of thinking different. Bring back the glowing apple logo. Heck, bring back some Ive-like form over function in one or two products to show that you’re still daring enough to try it.
 

CC77

macrumors regular
Nov 4, 2016
109
547
Chicago, IL
Meh. There’s pros and cons to this. “Thinness at all costs” was not a good design philosophy. That said, the iPhone just keeps getting bigger and clunkier every year and now we have a useless plastic spacer inside. I’d like to see some middle ground between design vs. practical focus.
“Thinness at all costs” was never Ive’s design philosophy and is a pretty big misunderstanding of not only the talent that Ive had but also why Apple was such a leader in the product design space. Each product has a clear focus and an intention. Apple’s portables priortized portability, yes, but that wasn’t at all costs and it wasn’t just on a whim. Now the products just exist to fill as many pricing gaps as possible, with the absolute least compelling iPhone and iPad lineup in years, that’s more confusing to customers than ever. It makes shareholders money in the short term, so no one complains, but the soul of the company is dead and consumer trust is eroding.
 

Spock

macrumors 68040
Jan 6, 2002
3,136
6,244
Vulcan
No surprise. Say what you want about Ive, thinness obsession, Jobs, the G4 Cube, etc. The design department never felt as under-funded or under-staffed as it does today. The new iMac is the same as the old iMac is the same as the iMac from 18 years ago. The iPhone, iPad, and watch designs are very stale, just iteratively recycled (still nice but more industrial than interesting). The Mac Studio, MacBook, AirPods, and Apple TV designs are functionally great but just plain boring.

A product design team that is focused on costs above actual product design is no design team at all. Apple needs a new lavish “halo” design product or two. Something that reminds us of the days of thinking different. Bring back the glowing apple logo. Heck, bring back some Ive-like form over function in one or two products to show that you’re still daring enough to try it.
The iMac G4 was the last time that I was interested in the iMac. I don't think they will ever top that design.
 

McWetty

macrumors member
Oct 7, 2011
41
208
Meh. There’s pros and cons to this. “Thinness at all costs” was not a good design philosophy. That said, the iPhone just keeps getting bigger and clunkier every year and now we have a useless plastic spacer inside. I’d like to see some middle ground between design vs. practical focus.
This. There has to be balance in all things. Form over function made stuff sexy but not always best performing. I wouldn’t call the new stuff soulless, but there are some cost cutting measures that have me scratching my head (plastic spacer!)
 

JM

macrumors 68040
Nov 23, 2014
3,730
5,737
Meh. There’s pros and cons to this. “Thinness at all costs” was not a good design philosophy. That said, the iPhone just keeps getting bigger and clunkier every year and now we have a useless plastic spacer inside. I’d like to see some middle ground between design vs. practical focus.
What’s the plastic spacer? Do you have a picture or article link handy? Thank you ✌
 
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