Sir Jonathan Ive, the design guru behind the iMac, iPod, iPhone, iPad and Cupertino’s one-of-its-kind “spaceship campus” has officially left the company. Ive's credentials – biography and photo – have disappeared from Apple’s Leadership page, but not mysteriously so. News that Ive was leaving Apple “later this year” broke cover in June.
Be that as it may, one can’t help but state the obvious how this signals the end of an era. For both Apple as well as long-term Apple fans and enthusiasts – also critics. Even as it marks the beginning of a new era as Apple begins to look beyond hardware to stay relevant.
It’s no secret that Jony Ive has been instrumental in Apple's success. Ive joined Apple in 1992 and led the company’s design team from 1996. In his over two decade-long stint at Apple, Ive laid the groundwork for some of the most “important” products we’ve come to associate with the brand. Be it the iMac, iPod, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch or Apple’s new spaceship headquarters.
He and the late Steve Jobs shared a warm chemistry. The two were, as Steve Jobe would often say, “spiritual partners.”
“Ive is a singular figure in the design world and his role in Apple's revival cannot be overstated, from 1998's ground-breaking iMac to the iPhone and the unprecedented ambition of Apple Park, where recently he has been putting so much of his energy and care,” Apple CEO Tim Cook had said in a statement in June.
Ive’s exit from Apple isn’t surprising though. There were many a times, and many a reports, that claimed the Apple Park would be Ive’s last project at Apple. It was sort of his homage to Steve Jobs’ legacy.
But just because Ive won’t officially be an Apple employee anymore, doesn’t mean he’s bidding adieu to Apple. Ive will still be closely associated with Apple through his new design company, LoveFrom.
“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. 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 isn’t clear if Apple will appoint a new Chief Design Officer to fill Ive’s immensely big shoes anytime soon.