Jony Ive’s big promotion to chief design officer at Apple this week has set off some mild alarm bells from some Apple observers that Apple’s longtime design guru might actually be on the way out. Stratechery’s Ben Thompson, for one, parses some of the language used in Stephen Fry’s piece on Ive over the weekend to speculate that Ive already has one foot out the door.

BACKGROUND: Jony Ive promoted to Apple’s Chief Design Officer

“In my estimation, whether Ive intends it or not… this is the beginning of the end of his time at Apple,” writes Thompson. “To give up ‘management’ in exchange for ‘thinking freely’ is, when it comes to business, akin to shifting from product-focused R&D to exploratory R&D… The other reason to suspect it’s time, beyond the orchestration and the very real surrender of responsibility, is, well, the fact it’s the right time. The Watch is here, and there almost certainly won’t be any significant new products from Apple for at least a few years (I take this as a bearish signal on the car, which I was already skeptical about — but you could take it the opposite way too!).”

9to5Mac’s Seth Weintraub is on the same page as Thompson and he looks back to past Ive statements about wanting to move back to the United Kingdom as evidence.

“As sad as it is to say, this feels like Jony Ive putting one foot out the door at Apple,” he says. “He’s clearly set for life in monetary terms and doesn’t have much to prove in the electronics design world. iPhones, iPads and UIs will get flatter and the world will move on. That’s not to say there isn’t important work to be done in Apple Stores and the Campus 2 design, but this certainly feels like the end of an era.”

We’re not as well versed at Apple Kremlinology as these two are, but their theories do sound plausible. Read them for yourselves and decide by clicking the source links below.

View Comments