I’m leaving Apple — LoveFrom Jony Ive
By the end of this year, Jony Ive, the creator of revolutionary designs for the Mac, iPod and iPhone, will no longer be an Apple employee. The world’s most famous designer has been at the centre of Apple’s innovations for more than 20 years. His candy-coloured iMacs helped rescue Apple from the brink of bankruptcy in the late 1990s. The iPod, iPhone and iPad changed our relationship with technology. But now Sir Jonathan is changing his relationship with Apple — just don’t call it a break-up. When I spoke to him this week, Sir Jonathan said he would be starting a new venture of his own, called LoveFrom, with Apple as his first client. He still hoped to stay “very involved” in Apple’s product development for “many many years to come”. Still, his departure later this year will mark the end of an era for Apple. Sir Jonathan was Steve Jobs' closest ally in dreaming up everything from breakthrough products to its new headquarters at Apple Park. The incredible run of hits that they produced together is unmatched in Silicon Valley and beyond, turning Apple (at one point) into the world’s most profitable and valuable company.
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But despite the continued success of the iPhone after Jobs' death and the popularity of wearable devices such as Apple Watch and AirPods in the last couple of years, Apple is no longer the world’s most valuable company. It is Microsoft, not Apple, that is valued at more than a trillion dollars today, as investors fret about a sudden drop in iPhone sales and the impact of the US-China trade war.
Sir Jonathan insists none of that is why he is leaving right now. Instead, I got a sense from him that even with all the resources at his disposal inside Apple, he wanted to make his mark outside the tech industry. That extension of his vision had already begun with his work on Apple Park, where his tight-knit design team has a new studio aimed at fostering greater collaboration.
But it is perhaps telling that despite an expanded design role for Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer, and an experienced team of designers under him, nobody else at Apple will be taking Sir Jonathan’s title of chief design officer. At Apple, it seems, Jony Ive is irreplaceable — even when he no longer works there.
We'll have much more coverage around this FT exclusive on Jony Ive's departure, beginning with:
Analysis: what Jony Ive’s exit means for Apple
Jony Ive’s reasons for leaving Apple, in his own words
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