Ive hasn’t left yet but will depart later this year. He’s currently the Chief Design Officer at Apple, where he’s overseen the design of some of the company’s most iconic products, including the iPhone.
Though perhaps his best-known product is the original iMac, whose whimsical design notably helped propel the company back into the good graces of the general public.
According to the Financial Times, Ive’s new design firm will be called LoveFrom and will formally launch in 2020 with Apple as its first client. The name comes from a conversation Ive once had with Steve Jobs.
He [said] that one of the fundamental motivations was that when you make something with love and with care, even though you probably will never meet . . . the people that you’re making it for, and you’ll never shake their hand, by making something with care, you are expressing your gratitude to humanity, to the species.
I so identified with that motivation and was moved by his description. So my new company is called ‘LoveFrom’. It succinctly speaks to why I do what I do.
Ive told the FT that he plans to focus on wearables and healthcare at his new company, where fellow Apple designer, Marc Newson will join him. Newson joined Apple in 2014 after previously working with Ive on a series of products for RED’s annual auction, including a solid aluminium desk.
If anything specifically prompted Ive and Newson’s departure from Apple it has not been disclosed. Though he added, in a separate article in the Financial Times, “There were some significant projects that I feel like I’ve completed,” including Apple Park. Ive characterised the departure as necessary. “This just seems like a natural and gentle time to make this change,” he said.
Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, was his typical optimistic self in both his statements to Financial Times, noting the company’s group of in-house designers is “the strongest it’s ever been.” In Apple’s press release Cook said, “Apple will continue to benefit from Jony’s talents by working directly with him on exclusive projects, and through the ongoing work of the brilliant and passionate design team he has built. After so many years working closely together, I’m happy that our relationship continues to evolve and I look forward to working with Jony long into the future.”
However, some people might disagree with Cook. Ive’s departure immediately wiped $9 billion from Apple’s market cap, according to CNBC’s Steve Kovach. These post-news stock fluctuations don’t mean all that much, but it’s an indication of how closely Ive is associated with the company’s success.
Indeed Ive has long been seen by fans and analysts as the vision behind Apple’s coolest products since Steve Job’s passing in 2011. While Cook has business acumen to spare, Ive is the one who seemed to have the Midas touch when it comes to gadgets.
In the last few years, the company has taken a number of critical hits for its products – from the soft initial launch of the Apple Watch (it has since become a massive hit with consumers and critics), to the underwhelming reception of the HomePod, and even to this year’s MacPro, which has is divisive for its kitchen gadget aesthetic.
With Ive’s departure now confirmed and imminent, Apple’s gadget business will soon be under a microscope, with people wondering which gadgets Ive actually had input on and which he did not.
The company’s design team could be in good hands. Evans Hankey, vice president of Industrial Design, and Alan Dye, vice president of Human Interface Design, will now lead the team and report directly to chief operating officer Jeff Williams. Apple’s press release specifically noted that in his role as VP of Industrial design Hankey led the development of the Apple Watch from its inception, and most people now love the Apple Watch.