Apple’s design guru Jony Ive has long been regarded as one of the most talented designers in the world of technology, and his huge influence on how Apple regularly communicates with its customers has just been recognized with his promotion to the newly-created role of Chief Design Officer. Meanwhile, from July 1, Ive will hand over management of Apple’s industrial and software design departments to two of his long-term design colleagues, Richard Howarth and Alan Dye.
Ive’s achievements in a long and glittering career in design include thousands of design and utility patents, shaping – quite literally – well-known Apple products including models of the iPhone, MacBook and Apple Watch (designs for which are pictured below), and – more recently – influencing the appearance of Apple’s retail stores. The late Steve Jobs even once referred to Ive as his “spiritual partner at Apple”.
It seems apt, then, that the company’s current CEO, Tim Cook, has handed such a high-ranking position to the leading contributor to what he has proudly dubbed a “reputation for word-class design [that] differentiates Apple from every other company in the world”. He made this comment in an email that was sent to Apple employees and today obtained by Mark Gurman of 9TO5Mac.
In that email, Cook noted that Ive’s new role “is a reflection of the scope of work he has been doing at Apple for some time” – work which has recently extended to “our new campus in Cupertino, product packaging and many other parts of our company.” He elaborated that Ive’s work as Chief Design Officer will see his complete focus on “current design projects, new ideas and future initiatives.”
Ive will be able to free up more time for other tasks, among them further work designing Apple’s retail stores and new campus, when much of his current routine work is handed over to Howarth, who will be the company’s new vice president of Industrial Design, and Dye, who will have vice presidency of User Interface Design. The former’s work with Apple’s Design team first started twenty years ago, while the latter has been among the company’s employees for nine years. Both have worked on plenty of successful Apple products, so good experience and pedigree are certainly not in short supply.
It remains to be seen how much these rearrangements will affect Apple’s future design direction. What looks likely, however, is that Apple will further develop upon its already enviable reputation for design excellence. We at Apple Magazine are excited about seeing the results in future Apple products, which will almost definitely include new models of the iPhone, iPad and Mac, but also likely whole new product lines.