Jony Ive, easily the most famous product designer in Apple history, has departed the company to form his own creative firm, called LoveFrom - and its first client will be...Apple.
Ive started at Apple in 1992 and designed the iconic looks of the iMac, iPod, iPhone, iPad, MacBook, and portions of the company’s iOS mobile operating system.
His departure signals a generational shift in Apple: Ive defined the modern, white minimalist look of the company's product line, cultivating a style that suggested elite design accompanied by high price tags compared to other consumer goods.
Given that the only new products since Apple founder Steve Jobs passed way have been the Apple Watch and HomePod - neither of which rivaled the cultural impact of the iPod and iPhone (nor made as much profit for Apple) - Ive's departure could give brand fans pause.
Of course, it's unclear how close Ive and his new company will work with Apple in the future, though Ive said he "will still be very involved - I hope for many, many years to come," according to an interview with Financial Times (pay wall).
Not that the company that Mac built is showing any signs of worry: Apple CEO Tim Cook downplayed Ive's exit as an "evolution" of the world's wealthiest corporation in separate remarks to Financial Times.
"We get to continue with the same team that we’ve had for a long time and have the pleasure of continuing to work with Jony,” Cook told Financial Times. “I can’t imagine a better result.”
Who will out-Ive Ive?
Apple doesn't have an immediate replacement lined up for the Chief Design Officer role Ive held since 2015, according to Financial Times. The two next-most senior officers, Alan Dye (lead on Apple's user interface team) and Evans Hankey (lead on industrial design) will report to Apple COO Evans Hankey.
Ive will be joined at LoveFrom by Apple design team collaborator Marc Newson and other creatives, according to the Financial Times; he will keep working on wearable technology and healthcare alongside other projects.
- Want to get a last shot at Ive-designed Apple products? Check out our list of best iPhones