Jony Ive's Involvement at Apple Reportedly Tapered After the Original Apple Watch Launched in 2015

I7guy

macrumors Core
Nov 30, 2013
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Gotta be in it to win it
I think Apple's overall design goals have taken a backseat to profit margin and pleasing shareholders.

Maybe this is the beginning of Steve Jobs part 2.

Ives leaves. Apple goes down. Rehires Ives and gives him full control and releases the new "ipod".
Probably not going to happen the way you think.
 

eyeseeyou

macrumors 68040
Feb 4, 2011
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Probably not going to happen the way you think.
Yeah I wouldn't bet on it lol.

My assumption is Ives personal company he's starting will have a culture more similar to Apple's when Steve Jobs was around.

Maybe his new creative company will be his "Pixar".
 
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ashdelacroix

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Jan 1, 2013
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You'd have to be fully ignorant of Ive's importance to Apple's success to pour so much scorn on him. Some disgraceful and unwarranted comments here. The problem is that, apart from the Watch, Apple hasn't released a new class of product in quite some time, and a lot of innovation has been on the services, store and operational side. Even Apple TV is more of a service than a device.

This means Ive was heading up an iterative process rather than a true remodelling or big launch every year. This isn't like the golden years from the new iMacs, the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad. You cannot radically redesign every product every year or bring out completely new classes of product.

Equally, you have to plan ahead for logistical and marketing reasons so you've only got so much room for going back to the drawing board. Yes, my iMac's form factor hasn't changed in some years, but it remains absolutely beautiful and I wouldn't swap it for the world. Sometimes I still look at it and smile. Often, I don't even consider it as a machine: it just fits seamlessly into my life.

Referring to a few problems like the notch (very subjective) or the butterfly keyboard (which may not have been anything to do with Ive: blame the materials science people), is a cheap way to bring down a pivotal advocate for Apple. There are a lot of armchair designers and executives on this website who will never have even a tiny percentage of Ive's great success.

Jobs would hate the comments directed towards not only his colleague but his design soulmate, and the ire toward Ive is disrespectful towards both Ive and Jobs himself. Does 27 years, being there every day from Apple's near bankruptcy to becoming the world's most valuable company, not count for more than a few snide comments?
 

HurtinMinorKey

macrumors 6502
Jan 18, 2012
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Am I the only one who's not surprised by this? Ive is at his core, a designer. His reduced role at Apple these past few years is reflected in their products. Innovation has been absent since Steve's passing and now I fear design has also left the building. Apple has changed and not for the better.
The problem is that he wasn't really doing that well before his reduced roll. Designs have pretty much been stagnant since 2012.
 

I7guy

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Nov 30, 2013
20,383
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Gotta be in it to win it
Am I the only one who's not surprised by this? Ive is at his core, a designer. His reduced role at Apple these past few years is reflected in their products. Innovation has been absent since Steve's passing and now I fear design has also left the building. Apple has changed and not for the better.
Innovation, here at MR, is at best, a personal moving definition.
 

TSE

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Jun 25, 2007
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St. Paul, Minnesota
Ooooh poor thing...the money bag was too heavy I guess. And what exactly made him tired? The years and years of same design for the iPhone and Mac lineup? Or changing the colour theme in iOS? Without someone like Steve Jobs pushing him he's just overrated as hell right now.
This response indicates that you have never done, know nothing, and could never be a designer. That much is obvious.
 

dampfnudel

macrumors 68040
Aug 14, 2010
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Brooklyn, NY
Am I the only one who's not surprised by this? Ive is at his core, a designer. His reduced role at Apple these past few years is reflected in their products. Innovation has been absent since Steve's passing and now I fear design has also left the building. Apple has changed and not for the better.
The smartphone as we know it has plateaued. A folding smartphone may be the next step, but based on Samsung’s fumble, that may be years away (from Apple for sure), if ever. I think there’s a good chance you would be criticizing Steve now for the lack of innovation if he was still alive. The iPhone we have today would’ve been the same iPhone we would have if Steve was alive. The only difference I see as a possibility would be Steve would’ve probably had set a lower price, by $100-150. I’m also not sure if the HomePod would’ve made it out of the lab.
 
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chucker23n1

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Dec 7, 2014
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Very good post. I would credit every aspect of the Apple Watch as a design success, and there are others such as AirPods (and even iPads, although the design objective there was fairly straightforward), but those products are islands in a sea of sameness. Apple needs a new chief designer who shares Apple's overall design goals but who can also do something interesting.
Right.

I’m not suggesting every design has been bad. I’m wearing a Watch, and while I don’t have them myself, AirPods are clearly a success and have become a status symbol of their own.

On a micro level, I think we’ve lost too much function and gained too much veneer. On a macro level, I think it’s time for a new design language — different for the sake of different, because it’s simply been a while.

Put it in perspective: Snow White only lasted 1984 to 1990. Six years. Subsequent beige designs lasted another eight. The color/translucent era only lasted three(!).

The current one? Eighteen.
 
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alphonseM

macrumors member
Mar 29, 2014
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I had to admit to wondering that myself. He’s about the same age as my husband and our friends who show up to work every single day through nightmare commutes and deal with crap all day long and don’t have even a fraction of the luxuries and recognition this man has. And they all still dive in and do things for their children when they are home.

The only thing I can think of, is that the creative nature of his work suffers under the usual business pressures.

Oh well, I wish him the best. At least now I understand why my Xr was allowed to be thicker than my older iPhones.
Are you serious? First off, this quote circulating is tied to a context neither of us knows much about. Secondly, if you are familiar with stress or mental exhaustion (depression?) you would know that few things are as predictable and stable in outcome as assembly line production.

Like Ive's design or not, but please don't stoop to this level.
 
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GrumpyMom

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Sep 11, 2014
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If you think you're tired now, wait til you start running your own business....
He’s a creative person with enough money so he works because he wants to. He can now be selective about the projects he takes on and choose those which inspire passion and energy in him. Then it will seem less like work and less wearing.
 

ThunderSkunk

macrumors 68030
Dec 31, 2007
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Milwaukee Area
I think Tim Cook and the new environment make jony quit... and the apple culture (it used to be) is long gone
I dunno, from everything I’ve read on apples culture over the years, the old culture was based on running people hot, burning them up quickly, and replacing them often. I wonder if in the old culture, Ive would have even lasted this long.
 

GrumpyMom

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Sep 11, 2014
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Are you serious? First off, this quote circulating is tied to a context neither of us knows much about. Secondly, if you are familiar with stress or mental exhaustion (depression?) you would know that few things are as predictable and stable in outcome as assembly line production.

Like Ive's design or not, but please don't stoop to this level.
Yes I stooped to a level lower than I usually go because I see too many people I care about pushed to the brink and don’t have the options Jony Ive managed to execute while working and has now upon leaving. So yeah quotes excerpted as above can be a bit triggering of resentment and expressions thereof. Not jealousy, exactly, because I don’t know very many people who would want to do what he’s done for the last 25 years. (I think it takes a tough SOB to work at Apple at his level). It’s just good old fashioned grumpy resentment for how his departure is being framed to us.

Like others in this thread I’ve endured terrible commutes and work situations that were actually pretty inhumane as in OSHA violations we all were too cowed and terrified to report. I remember working for a week while a sewage backup filled our building with sickening stench and how our manager employed some creative threats to keep us in check. When you’re young and there’s few jobs available in your town, you shut up end endure.

It matters not. Jony Ive is a wealthy knight and celebrated design genius who will be remembered long after I’m dust in the earth, remembered for absolutely nothing. He could not care less what a peon like me thinks or says so long as I don’t resort to libel or slander.

But actually if you re-read what I wrote more carefully, I didn’t write anything that bad about him per se. Just the general contrast of his situation to that of most of the rest of us. At least that is how I intended it. I have no idea how I came across nor do I care after working for several hours in 90F heat.
 
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juiz206

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Apr 21, 2016
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meanwhile other employees are given crunch at work....this may explain the blindness of big tech companies towards that issue.
 

iSearch

macrumors member
Dec 27, 2015
40
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I never liked the move to flat design under Jony Ive's watch, but looking back at iOS 6, I think newer versions of iOS and macOS need to find a visually pleasing balance between skeumorphism and flat design. More primary colors, depth, and button borders. macOS is probably the best implementation out of all of them. As for the past few years, that explains the stagnant design of the iPhone and some other questionable decisions. I don't really understand the thinness hate though. Who wouldn't want a device that's not only powerful, but thin and light? Of course, don't compromise on battery life and power, but I don't want to go back to the 1 inch thick, heavy as a brick days. I do understand the dongle issue though. Apple could have included free adapters to ease the transition to USB C

However, I hope the executives at Apple have enough self-awareness to realize that taking risks and standing out from their competitors design wise is part of what helped them to survive near bankruptcy and make Apple what it is today. I would hate to see Apple turn into a Microsoft or Google in the long run.
 

scottishwildcat

macrumors regular
Oct 24, 2007
229
181
Behold the genesis of the "butterfly" keyboard.
Pretty much everyone where I work (big red database company) comes in "as little as twice a week", including managers and VPs; working at home is easier than ever and it's pretty much par for the course in many big tech companies.

Apple is one of the few that's still strongly against it, in fact, so nearly all the people who really worked on that butterfly keyboard will actually have been traipsing into HQ every day.
 

Don1985

macrumors member
Mar 3, 2017
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A lot of hate for design on this forum but I’d like to say that iPhone XS is the best iPhone Apple have created.

The weight, the materials, the feel, the premium look. And I hated the notch until I started using the phone, now I couldn’t care less. You don’t notice it because the screen and experience is so immersive.

Yes butterfly keys are awful (I’m sticking with my 2015 MBP for as long as possible) but I still think Apple are creating some beautiful designs today and will continue even without Ive.

I hope!
 
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Zdigital2015

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Jul 14, 2015
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Apple never touted the pencil charging via iPads as anything other than for quick top offs. I used it frequently and it worked well. The solution they have now is much better but that obviously wasn’t ready for gen 1.
I cannot deny what you say is true...I think what happens with so many things today, is that certain things go viral, become memes, have unintended consequences or the adverse effect is a consequence of the design. The design of the original Pencil constrained how it would be charged and while plugging it into the Lightning port of your iPad Pro was a convenient thing, there could be dire consequences should an accident occur. Is that bad design? No...but it is a consequence of the design. Losing the cap from the pencil and/or the female to female coupler is a consequence of the design. The Pencil is beautiful design, as many thing Ive designed for Apple. I think my criticism would be that some of his designs, while gorgeous, worked in a less than stellar manner once the compromises of the real world began to intrude.

I have an iPad Pro 12.9-inch 1st Gen with an Apple Smart Keyboard. I love the keyboard itself, I type quite quickly with it, the fabric is not exemplary, but it is durable and if I spill a liquid, it is not shot to Hell. However, it is dark grey and does not have the best contrast in low light situations, as Apple (or Jony) opted not to put any sort of backlighting in it. A consequence of the spill proof design, I would reckon. But it also has no media keys or shortcut keys, which I think were left off because Design thought they were too gauche or offended Jony's sensibilities, I don't know. However, dealing with the lack of backlighting and reaching up to press the Volume Up or Down on the top left of the iPad Pro soon became rather tedious and ultimately I snagged the exact same Logitech Slim Combo I initially ordered for my wife's iPad Pro 12.9-inch 2nd Gen. Does it look as good as the Apple Smart Keyboard and Silicone Case combo I previously had? No. Does it work better on a day in, day out basis? A resounding YES. While not spill proof, the backlighting and shortcut keys make my work life loads better and more productive. No more reaching up to control volume, I simply hit the volume button on the keyboard and keep on typing, which means one less "mode" change. The same for the Home button and the Lock shortcut buttons on the keyboard.

While Apple pursued form (aesthetics) or function (not nearly as nice looking), it seemed as though the practicality of Jony's quest became less and less realistic as time went by. And for a while there was a balance, but in the past few years it has veered too far to the form side.

For instance, I love my 2016 15" MacBook Pro...I love the slim chassis...but the consequence of that is the battery is smaller and just doesn't last as long, annoyingly so in any sort of sustained workload. They butterfly keys are beautiful to look at, but unforgiving if your typing rhythm becomes disrupted as they really want to be struck perfectly dead center. The keys are placed closer than they are on the Magic Keyboard II or on the 2012-2015 15" MacBook Pro keyboard and its just enough to make typing more awkward than it needs to be. And that seems to be because not only did Jony want the 15" MacBook Pro thinner, he wanted it smaller (LxW) and typing on it just isn't as satisfying as typing on just about any other keyboard on the planet. The 2015 MacBook being the most extreme example. Here is a short excerpt from a review of the 2017 12" MacBook.

"But I'll say that going back to the first-gen version after using the second-gen version feels like trying to type on a pizza box with a keyboard drawn on it." - Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica, https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2017/06/mini-review-the-2017-macbook-comes-into-its-own/
I think all of these and many other things over a period starting in 2012 up until now culminated with Ive's departure. Sure, it coincides with Steve's death, but it also seems like Ive needed a tether to reality and no one individual at Apple could command Jony's respect to be that tether. It may not bode well for his new design agency.

A great era has come and gone and now a new era begins...it will be interesting to see how it proceeds.
 

szw-mapple fan

macrumors 68000
Jul 28, 2012
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He is worth almost half a billion dollars, so money isn’t really a concern to him anymore. He probably wanted to leave a while ago when he came into his current title but Apple kept paying him more to keep as the figurehead of the design team. Now that he has his own company he can work on other projects he’s more passionate in.
 
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