Former Apple design chief Joni Ive has left the iPhone maker exhausted and tired in the wake of CEO Tim Cook’s many structural changes, a book-based article on Apple’s turnaround claims as ‘Yesterday’ becomes part of Ive’s announcement of departure own design team.
Jony Ive left Apple in 2019, after nearly three decades of working with the tech giant on many of its flagship products. The departure was a shocking departure, but it was inevitable due to the change of culture in the company.
at The New York Times An article based on Tripp Mickle’s book After Steve: How Apple Became a Trillion Dollar Company and Lost Its Soul, I resigned after years of frustration, seeing the company go from a design-focused entity to a more utilitarian one.
The account begins by emphasizing the relationship between Eve and former CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs, detailing the creation of the iconic iMac. With Eve’s presence sometimes seen as Jobs’ relief, the two were known to work closely together, with Jobs frequently visiting the company’s design studio.
With the introduction of Cook and the death of Jobs, Eve’s experience at the company changed greatly. Cook appears to have shown less interest in design than Jobs, with fewer studio visits while building the Apple Watch.
During the changes in focus on the Apple Watch from fashion to fitness, Ive reportedly contacted Cook about his feeling of fatigue and his intent to take a step back from work. Also arguing with colleagues about promotion and managing hundreds of employees rather than the smaller design team of 20 people drained me a lot.
Fear of Eve’s departure affecting the stock price prompted Cook to reduce Eve’s responsibilities and make him Head of Design. At the time, very few people at Apple were apparently aware of Eve’s frustration and fatigue.
It’s also clear that the changes resulted in me working differently, going from almost daily product reviews to sometimes not judging designs at all for a few weeks.
To celebrate the iPhone’s 10th anniversary, Ive called the software designers to do a product review at the San Francisco social club, The Battery. After failing to apologize for arriving nearly three hours late, I checked the literature and provided feedback, but I didn’t make any final decisions in that time.
While Eve was apparently absent, Cook continued to turn the company in a new direction, including appointing former Boeing CFO James Bell as company director to replace marketer Mickey Drexler. I wasn’t in favor of the change, commenting to a colleague “He’s another one of those accountants.”
Cook’s enabling of financial management to have a greater say also infuriated Eve, who has moved to scrutinize outside contractors.
In Eve’s decision to leave, the article talks about an evening in June 2019 where Eve gathered his design teams at a theater for a special screening of “Yesterday”. The film’s choice was apt, because it was “a two-hour exploration of the eternal struggle between art and commerce,” as the article states.
After the movie, Eve told his bands, “Art needs the right space and support to grow. When you’re really big, that’s especially important.”
A day later, the design teams were asked to scan their calendars to meet with Eve, who told them that with the new building completed, his time at the company was over. She praised the team and urged them to maintain Apple’s identity, as well as reassuring them that he would continue to work as a consultant through his design firm LoveFrom.
Since Eve left, receiving a CEO-worthy exit package worth over $100 million, it seems the design at Apple has fallen behind on features and performance. The designers said Ive’s lack of presence has resulted in more collaborations with engineering colleagues than before, but at the same time they face greater cost pressures on their work.
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