Apple has announced the departure of Jony Ive, a senior executive’s who is also known as the industrial designer who had shaped the look of Apple’s most iconic devices from the iPod to the iPhone, saying he will leave later this year to form an independent design company.
Ive has been an integral part of the company’s device designs, from 1998’s iMac to the company’s new headquarters. His departure marks the end of an era for the consumer device company after helping it make a major transformation from a cult computer business to a dominant device company under the leadership of the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. Long a protégé and confidant of the former chief executive, Ive helped meld form with function and in the process turned Apple devices into a part computer, part fashion accessory.
Ive’s departure sent the company’s stock down 1.74% in after-hours trading Thursday. He has become the second major departure for Apple this year. In April, Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts left the company in the wake of a major overhaul of the company’s stores that nixed its famed “Genius Bar” drew mixed reactions from consumers and critics.
Ive has previously stepped away from the role as design chief. In 2015, he worked on building Apple’s futuristic new campus in Cupertino, Calif. known as Apple Park. Once that project was done, Ive returned to helm the industrial design team again in 2017.
Since then, that team has seen an exodus of talent. Prominent designers like Rico Zorkendorfer, Daniele De Iuliis and Julian Hönig, have all departed. Those personnel changes were reported earlier by The Wall Street Journal. Ive was rumoured to have been working closely on augmented reality glasses, according to people familiar with the matter who asked to remain anonymous because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly, with clear lenses that can project computer-like images in front of a wearer’s eyes. But that technology could still be years away from consumer use.