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Apple’s legendary design team lost three members, but there’s no reason to panic

Published Apr 26th, 2019 2:43PM EDT
Apple Design
Image: Shutterstock

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At Apple, design is king, an ethos instilled into the company by Steve Jobs more than two decades ago. Famously, Jobs laid out Apple’s core design philosophy during a 2003 interview with The New York Times.

“Most people make the mistake of thinking design is what it looks like,” Jobs said. “People think it’s this veneer — that the designers are handed this box and told, ‘Make it look good!’ That’s not what we think design is. It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”

With that said, and not to kick a company while it’s down, but the entire Galaxy Fold fiasco simply wouldn’t have happened at Apple because the company unabashedly values careful and intuitive design above all else.

As a result, it’s long been known that Apple’s industrial design team — a small-knit group with less than 30 team members — wields more power within Apple than anyone else. In turn, whenever there’s a shakeup to Apple’s vaunted industrial design team, it tends to be a noteworthy event.

In light of that, a new report from The Wall Street Journal reveals that two of Apple’s industrial designers — with more than 35 years of combined experience at Apple between them — recently left the company. Further, another designer is planning to leave in the coming months.

The Journal notes:

The departures of members of the core design team that revived Apple in the 2000s and did the work behind the iPhone, iPad and watch come amid a pause in new products, as the company emphasizes new subscription services this year instead of new gadgets amid slowing iPhone sales.

One designer leaving Apple, Rico Zorkendorfer, essentially told the Journal that there’s no reason to panic and that Apple has some exceptionally talented designers rising through the ranks.

“What we’ve been able to do the last few decades will continue,” Zorkendorfer said. “The talent is there.”

With all of the success and accolades Apple’s design team has garnered over the past two decades, it stands to reason that Apple has for some time been able to attract some of the top design talent in the world. Put simply, there’s no reason to panic and we can likely expect to see compelling new products with the patented Apple design flourish in the years to come.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.