Amid speculation that Jony Ive may no longer be “directly involved” with designing the iPhone and other Apple products, John Gruber of Daring Fireball has penned an interesting follow-up piece regarding remarks made on his podcast that he feels were misconstrued.
As a quick refresher, the excerpt that initially fueled speculation surrounding Ive’s ongoing involvement in day-to-day design at Apple reads as follows: “I’ve heard that he has lately been checked out or not as directly involved with product design and that he’s been largely focused on architecture, meaning the spaceship campus and the new stores.”
This, coupled with the recently released retrospective book on Apple design during the Jony Ive era, naturally led some to speculate that Ive’s days as Apple’s chief designer were now behind him.
As it turns out, Apple fans apparently have nothing to worry about. As speculation surrounding Ive’s role at Apple began to spread, some of Gruber’s contacts at Apple reached out to him and assured him that everything was being blown way out of proportion.
Importantly, I’ve also heard from well-placed sources within Apple that there is nothing to this — that while Ive is devoting much of his time and attention to architecture recently (both for the new campus and Apple retail), every aspect of every new product remains as much under his watchful eye as ever. That his chief design officer title isn’t the least bit ceremonial, and instead is an accurate representation of his increased authority.
Gruber also raises an interesting point, namely that if Ive were ever to leave Apple, it would effectively signal the end of Ive’s career as a designer, period. After all, Apple affords Ive a tremendous amount of room to operate design-wise. Whether it’s exploring architectural designs for Apple’s increasingly forward-thinking retail stores or investigating the feasibility of designing a car, Ive’s power at Apple is more extensive today than ever before. Additionally, Apple’s vast bank account affords Ive the ability to actually carry out any and all design ideas that happen to pop into his head, including the release of a decidedly out of character product like the gold Apple Watch Edition that retailed for as much as $17,000.
All that aside, we can’t help but notice that it’s been a long while since we’ve seen some creative designs emanate out of Apple. Hopefully that will change in a big way once we see what type of surprises Apple has in store for us once it releases the iPhone 8 next year, a device rumored to sport a curved edge to edge display.