A personal opinion by @MacJim
The following words are my own and do not represent the opinion of Essential Apple; these are my own thoughts on the announcement of Jony Ive’s departure from Apple. In saying that, he isn’t fully away from Apple as he will still be creating products for them, not as the chief designer but as an independent one at this own design studio, LoveFrom. Also I want to put to bed the suggestion that Apple is doomed, we had all that when Steve Jobs died in 2011. Apple is clearly still here and financially very sound, but…
Yes, the but… Apple has always been an expensive world to enter and stay with and its more so now where you are paying around £1,000 over the odds for a MacBook Pro. From the early days, starting with the $666.66 Apple I, it set a high price of entry into this world, and this continues even today (I’ll skip the history lesson as most will know about the highs and lows) now there is the even higher cost ecosphere that is Apple. Suffice to say they are still firing with all cylinders. So, why has Jony decided to leave a company he help to save from bankruptcy, one that let him do his best work making him a very wealthy man?
The loss of Steve Jobs is part of that reason as he lost someone who he could work with, fight with, and finally produce beautiful products with that not only looked great on the outside, and inside, but was easy to use ‘it just works’. His loyal design team seemed to help him carry on doing the great work, but that didn’t stop the duds to getting through; and there’s been a few in the last few years… gold Apple Watch Edition anyone? He then got handed the reigns of the iOS operating system where he stripped out all superfluous features, so much so that it became obvious that he had gone to far! [‘All revolutions must eventually end in tyranny…’ Simon]
But its been noticeable over the last few years that all was not well as he seemed to take a back seat. No videos waxing poetically over the chamfered edge, or new wonder material in the latest product; he also was seen less during the keynotes too. Then we began to see him working on products outside of Apple, he designed a Leica camera, a diamond ring (rather hideous I might add) and other items too.
After the Apple Watch was launched (probably his pinnacle design at Apple in my opinion) it became obvious that not a lot was going on design-wise, as we saw the ‘same old, same old’ laptops and desktops launched with only new internals to distinguish them from what came before. I’d be surprised if Jony was involved with the new Apple Mac Pro (maybe this is the first Mac that has come from the new team that are Jony’s successors – it’s such a departure from any current Mac).
I can’t help feeling much of the reason for Jony leaving can be laid squarely at the feet of Tim Cook. His management style, and ideas are very different from Steve Jobs and some of his ideas have been less than good for Apple, and its customers as well. The people he brought into Apple from outside, varied in abilities. Remember John Browett? Or Angela Ahrendts, who changed the Apple stores in such a way that it’s now hard to find a genius. Probably what finished Jony was being given the responsibility for not only designing the products, but also the iOS software too, where he would have less and less freedom to dedicate his time to every nuance of a hardware product, but to oversee iOS too. All this could have been the final straw for him and he saw the need to free himself from the weight of managerial duties piled upon him, and go his own way where he could get back to what he does best…
Either way, Apple (and its customers) need this change to happen. Anew team with fresh ideas and outlook: hopefully this will mean we will see an end to the over engineered super thin products and get back to products that are reliable and “just work”.
Bon voyage Jony!