There are several names that come to mind when we think of Apple — Steve Jobs and Tim Cook are the most prominent — but not much further down the list is the man who has been credited with the design the iPhone, the iPad, the MacBook and now the Apple Watch: Jony Ive.
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Ive is synonymous with Apple at this point in his career, but an incredibly in-depth profile in the New Yorker seems to call into question how much longer Ive will remain with the company.
The first clue comes when Ive lists off the members of the team that helped him build and refine the Apple Watch, something that is very atypical for an Apple project. The piece also refers to the watch and Ive’s involvement in the software side of things as “handcuffs,” a way to keep him from departing.
Finally, as Ive and the New Yorker’s Ian Parker drove around the construction site that will soon house the Apple Campus 2, Ive mentioned that the previous year had been “the most difficult” in his career with Apple. He had recovered from a bout with pneumonia since the last time the two had met and admitted that he’d “burnt [himself] into not being very well.”
Although Marc Newson has now officially been named a contributor to the project (even though he’d been working on it from the start), Ive says that this is not a sign that his role within the company will be changing. Still, Laurene Powell Jobs told Parker that “there might be a way where there’s a slightly different structure that’s a little more sustainable and sustaining” for Ive in the future.
“[Very] few people ever get to do such things,” Powell Jobs said in regards to both Steve Jobs’ and Jony Ive’s careers. “I do think there’s a toll.”