Apple today announced that Sir Jony Ive, Apple’s chief design officer, will depart the company as an employee later this year to form an independent design company which will count Apple among its primary clients. While he pursues personal projects, Ive in his new company will continue to work closely and on a range of projects with Apple.
Design team leaders Evans Hankey, vice president of Industrial Design, and Alan Dye, vice president of Human Interface Design, will report to Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer. Both Dye and Hankey have played key leadership roles on Apple’s design team for many years. Williams has led the development of Apple Watch since its inception and will spend more of his time working with the design team in their studio.
Tim Bradshaw, of the Financial Times, scored an interview with Ive on his departure. In Ive’s words:
“There was an employee meeting a number of years ago and Steve [Jobs] was talking . . . He [said] that one of the fundamental motivations was that when you make something with love and with care, even though you probably will never meet . . . the people that you’re making it for, and you’ll never shake their hand, by making something with care, you are expressing your gratitude to humanity, to the species.
I so identified with that motivation and was moved by his description. So my new company is called ‘LoveFrom’. It succinctly speaks to why I do what I do.
I think there has long been an expectation that Ive would one day leave Apple to pursue other endeavours, but it is no less stunning to see it happen. I’m intrigued to see what he does next; I have my apprehensions about what it means for the company’s design teams to be led by the COO.
It’s very strange to think that Apple’s design will once again be partly outsourced, even if it is to someone whose career has defined Apple.