Apple designer promotion marks new era for the brand
Jony Ive, the brain behind the design of some of Apple’s best-selling products, has been promoted to the position of Chief Design Officer in what many are hailing as a new era – or perhaps, controversially, the end of one – for the tech giant.
In an interview on Monday in the Telegraph with self-confessed tech geek Stephen Fry, Ive revealed his newly created position, which will see him head up Apple’s software and hardware design teams, as well as play a larger part in the design of flagship retail stores and product packaging. This move means the long-time close friend of late CEO Steve Jobs will move away from day-to-day management and administration, instead focusing on new endeavours, and more than a little international travel. The man who had an integral input into the design of the iMac, iPod and iPhone will, however, remain at the head of all of Apple’s signature design, taking charge of future initiatives as the company scales to new heights in the tech world.
Described by CEO Tim Cook as “one of the most talented and accomplished designers of his generation, with an astonishing 5,000 design and utility patents to his name”, it’s no surprise that Ive climbs ever higher, at once opening doors for his own team to do the same. The reshuffle sees close colleagues Richard Howarth become Head of Industrial Design, and Alan Dye new Head of Interface.
While some celebrate this latest move in the right direction for Apple’s brightest eye, others are more sceptical. Theories have started to crop up that this promotion is in fact a carefully planned PR stunt to allow Ive to back away from some of his major responsibilities without concerning investors. As Howarth and Dye step up to the plate, having recently been lauded as chief support to Ive and as integral to the latest iOS7 design respectively, critics have suggested it’s those two who will pick up the slack as Ive scales back while keeping hold of his exciting new title. If the role turns out to be a figurehead position or purely ceremonial remains to be seen, with bloggers heatedly challenging each other’s theories since the news broke yesterday.
It’s long been known that Ive is keen to move back to his native Britain, and some feel the travel aspect of his new role will allow him to take up residency there without too much fuss. Yet, Ive’s consistent focus on the importance of a tight-knit team surely won’t mean things will change too dramatically in the coming months, in the eyes of the public or investors.
Whatever the outcome, one thing is certain: no matter what his role, or from where he performs it, Ive will continue to remain the driving force of Apple design for the foreseeable future and the Apple iPhones currently available in the market may as well be the last products of the past era.