Jony Ive – also known as Sir Jonathan Ive, who has been the creative spirit behind almost all of Apple's iconic hardware for the past two decades – officially separates ways with the technology company to form his own design agency LoveFrom. And although Ive's office continues to work with Apple from the outside, this is still the end of an era before. Apple, with the help of Ive & # 39; s guidance, is coming back from the edge and becoming one of the largest and most important companies on earth.
Ive first joined Apple in 1992 as a member of the design department, where he mainly helped make the Apple Newton. Five years later, and Ive was ready to leave, but the then returning Steve Jobs appointed him Senior Vice President for Industrial Design at Apple and started a creative partnership that would put Apple back on the map.
As Ive told you (published in a story in The New Yorker), the two began to work on what the iMac would become on the day they met, launching a whole range of products that would make Apple not only a corporate power that should be taken into account, but that set the gold standard for design in the entire technology sector in general.
The success of the iMac would soon be followed by an even bigger one: the iPod, another collaboration between Jobs and Ive that would strengthen Ive & # 39; s position as Apple's de-facto right hand. If Jobs were the visionary whose ideas would change the computer world, Ive would be the one who would dress them up and make them irresistible to consumers. At the height of the popularity of the iPod, Ive's designs were so ubiquitous that even the white headphones that came with the device were instantly recognizable.
And of course there are the many generations of the iPhone, Apple's most important product and one that would literally change what we even thought we were about a phone. All that design – the touchscreen, the home button, the form factor – came from Ive. And that influence would echo through the industry, to the point that many phones today still follow Apple & # 39; s lead in design.
In 2012, Ive was in charge of all Apple's Human Interface projects to replace Scott Forstall, giving the designer the keys to the appearance of all Apple hardware and software. That role would culminate in the release of iOS 7 in the following year, the largest visual redesign of the iPhone and iPad software in the decade – plus that they are already there, and one that still exists as the leading aesthetic in all Apple software.
Ive's influence would fade and disappear over the years: in 2015, he was appointed as the & # 39; chief design officer & # 39; from Apple in a more hands-off role that would help him transfer the daily management tasks for Apple's hardware and software teams to new managers. Instead, Ive "would remain responsible for all of our design, fully focused on current design projects, new ideas and future initiatives." Many of them saw the move as a harbinger of Ive to leave the company altogether.
But in 2017, Ive once again took charge of the design departments, but if this was a comeback, it was short-lived, since Ive is leaving again for good at the end of this year, pending departure. All of this shows that it is difficult to tell exactly what the exact role of Ive at Apple has been in recent years – apart from making his famous "white room" videos & # 39; s – or how long his transition from it company was in the making.
Ive & # 39; s designs would change over time: the clear plastics from the start of the iMac and iBook would shift to uniform white designs and eventually Ive & # 39; s loved one "aluminum" that still dominates Apple & # 39; s setup to this day. It is a career of spectacular highlights, such as the aforementioned iPhone, iPod and iMac, as well as some astonishing lows, such as the iPod Hi-Fi or the simply horrible Magic Mouse 2 and the 1st generation Apple Pencil. There was also an obsession with thinness that didn't always help, which affected the battery life on the iPhone and the broken keyboards of recent MacBook Pros.
While it is easy to joke about some of those designs and others are real misses, it is important to realize how widespread Ive's influence has become on the entire tech industry. Every smartphone is inspired by the original design of the full screen on the iPhone and every laptop is compared to the iconic design of the MacBook Air.
Although I am leaving Apple formally, his influence on the company is not going anyway. Ive & # 39; s new company LoveFrom sees Apple as its first customer and will "continue to work closely with various projects with Apple." And no doubt Ive & # 39; s aesthetics and design ethos will continue in Apple's halls – it's hard for it to be honest, given that Ive also literally designed the company's new headquarters.
Yet Ive leaving means the end of an era, an era in which Apple is starting to turn away from its dependence on Ive-designed hardware products for more lucrative services. The world of hardware may never be the same again.