More than a white room guy: how did Joni Ive go and what will change now at Apple

“He will continue to work with Apple, but this requires a special adapter.”

Joni Ive with iMac G4 released in 2002 Photo DPA

On June 27, Apple announced the departure of Chief Designer Johnny Ive, who had worked for the company since 1992. He founded the design studio LoveFrom, which will start in 2020 and will work with Apple.

With the direct participation of Quince came out iPod, iPhone, iPad, iMac, MacBook, Apple Watch and AirPods. It is thanks to him that the design of devices evolved in this way, often influencing the strategy of competitors. It was not by chance that Quince’s decision to quit cost Apple at least $ 9 billion — shares fell in price against the background of the first news.

Quince care is not just a personnel reshuffle. Journalists are not exaggerating when they call what happened “the end of the era of Steve Jobs” and “the latest evidence of the new Apple”. “Can you name the main designer of Samsung, Huawei, Nokia or any other IT company?”, Forbes rightly asks .

Quince care is associated with changes at Apple. Tim Cook considers journalistic versions absurd

“We all win – as people who value great design, and as a company – because he [Ive] pursues his aspirations and continues to work with Apple,” Tim Cook tried to convince his subordinates, announcing the departure of the chief designer.

The industrial design of all Apple projects will be handled by Evans Hanki – he and Vice President of Interface Design Alan Dye will be responsible directly to Operations Director Jeffo Williams. Sources Bloomberg made a conclusion that the new leadership will not leave the former team of creative freedom, and the company will become less creative. The development of virtual reality glasses Apple will do without Quince, said the publication.

“I don’t buy from the story that Apple doesn’t need Quince, because it focused more on software and services. It makes no sense. You need a place to use the software and services. You can’t transfer iOS from the cloud to your brain and make calls. ”

The Wall Street Journal largely confirmed this version, saying that Cook allegedly did not show much interest in the product development process than “frightened” Quince. According to the publication, Cook rarely attended a design studio. He also allegedly “for many years” convinced Quince to remain in the company, including with the help of cash bonuses – they “much” exceeded the remuneration of other top managers. According to the WSJ, Ive was also upset about the composition of the board of directors, which increasingly included people with experience in finance, not technology.

On July 2, Cook called the material WSJ absurd and noted that “most of the material and the conclusions in it are not true.” In a letter to NBC News, Apple’s head said that The Wall Street Journal allegedly does not understand how the company actually works. “The relationships of people, decisions and events in the material are distorted so much that we simply do not recognize the company that the author claims to describe,” said Cook.

Relatively detailed and prompt response to journalistic materials is rare for Apple. The last time the company went to an unprecedented step for itself in October 2018: then it published a refutation of the Bloomberg data about Chinese “bugs” in the servers. But this time, Cook himself spoke, to whom Ive personally submitted.

Exhausted, Ive “left” Apple over the past four years, his former colleagues say

In the 1990s, when Ive just took over the leadership of Apple’s design studio, the company was in a difficult condition: management cut thousands of jobs to reduce costs. Soon Steve Jobs returned to the management position. From the release of the iconic iMac in 1998 to the current moment, Apple has only grown – at an unusual pace by the standards of Silicon Valley. So in 2019, Ive left a fundamentally different company. The fact that now it is estimated at about a trillion dollars, is largely his merit.

Design is not about how something looks, but how a device does what it does — and how people can use it to solve their problems. Only rarely is it as visually striking as the iPhone. […]

Ive thought about it and fought for it. He had to convince Apple engineers that it was worth it and could be cost effective.AppleInsider

“Computers can definitely be sexy,  Ive said during the 1999 presentation of the blue-and-white Power Mac G3. Now journalists vied with each other to make up the ratings of the best projects created by the designer. And if the level of innovation and the uniqueness of the iPod, iPhone and iPad is almostundeniable , some people praise Quince even for the PowerMac 9600 (not the most remarkable computer from 1997) or Newton MessagePad (PDA, the progenitor of the iPhone and iPad).

Ive built close working and personal relationships with Jobs, becoming an integral part of presentations and commercials . Until the introduction of the first iPhone in 2007, Steve phoned Joni from the stage.

If I had a partner in the spirit of Apple, then this is Joni. Most of the products we came up with together, and then we collected others and asked: “What do you think about this?”. He sees the big picture and understands that Apple is a grocery company. He is not just a designer. That is why he obeys me directly. He has more authority in Apple than anyone except me.Steve Jobsquote from biography book by Walter Isaacson, The New Yorker

After 2011, when Jobs died, Ive became the most important person at Apple: it was he who made the decisions on the launch, functionality and appearance of the products, Bloomberg said after talking with former and current employees. Just as the designer submitted directly to Jobs, he also worked with Tim Cook.

In recent years working at Apple, Ive has taken on new tasks from time to time. As stressed by the Financial Times, he helped including with the design of the network of Apple Store retail stores (in February, the head of retail, Angela Arends left the company) and the new headquarters in California.

At the same time, Bloomberg writes, after sales of Apple Watch in 2015, Ive began to withdraw from his obligations. According to people familiar with the situation, the supervision of the design team was reduced to visits to headquarters twice a week.

At the same time, Ive confessed to The New Yorker that the year before the launch of smart watches became the most difficult for him during his time at the company. He noted that “very, very tired” and “constantly alarmed by something.”

After a few months, Apple formally transferred part of Quince’s routine duties to managers Alan Dai and Richard Howell. And for Joni, the company came up with the position of chief designer. According to Bloomberg, Ive still rarely appeared in the office, often holding working meetings near the house in San Francisco (where he also built himself a studio), in hotels or colleagues’ houses. Sources Bloomberg say that in 25 years of work at Apple, Ive was “exhausted.”

Johnie ive and apple head tim cook in front
iPhone XR, September 2018Getty

In a letter to employees, Cook called Quince’s contribution to Apple “legendary,” mentioned his role in reviving the company, and noted the work on Apple Park: “I am proud that Joni is a friend of mine. Those who know him know that his ideas and curiosity are endless. ”

In an interview with the Financial Times, released at the time of the announcement of the resignation, Ive was very careful in choosing the wording when talking about working at Apple. But he still hinted at restrictions (“One of my defining qualities is almost fanatical curiosity. But if you do not have enough space, tools and infrastructure, it’s not always possible to satisfy curiosity.”) And on disagreements with Cook (“We return to the definition of success. I have never described the success of a product with numbers.”).

In social networks, Quince recalled the failures, was surprised at his escape from the “white room”, but recognized his genius

Over 27 years of work at Apple, Ive registered many inventions. According to thecompany’s website , more than five thousand patents in his name have accumulated.

“Johnny Quince patents: more than five thousand // Thomas Edison patents: 2332”

An employee of Quartz found only 1500 Apple-related Quince patents and noted that there is no famous pizza container among them .

Against the background of Apple’s withdrawal, Quince recalled various remarkable products of the company, primarily with a controversial design. For example, a modular Mac Pro computer, presented in 2019 and nicknamed“fritter”. Or a stand Pro Stnd (999 dollars) to the monitor, which will cost 4999 dollars.

“The Last Fight / Last Stand by Johnie Ive”

Magic Mouse 2, which cannot be used while charging, Smart Battery Case with bulging battery, controversial Apple Pencil charging from iPad – all this was also remembered in social networks. But how much Ive was involved in creating these products is difficult to understand.

“Johnny Ive is a brilliant designer, but do not forget about these design catastrophes”

“Joni Ive didn’t design any of this. All this came up with a team whose victory over Joni you are all celebrating today. They won even years ago. This is the “New Apple” (Apple by Tim Cook) ”

In social networks, they remembered how in 2013 Ive introduced the Leica M. camera version. The designer came up with it specifically for the RED charity auction – in partnership with this organization, Apple released a whole product line.

“In the first picture, Leica M, in the second, a redesign from Johnny Quince, for which someone paid $ 1.8 million. Literally every change makes the camera worse. ”

But still, good solutions for Quince have accumulated more.

“Butterfly keyboard, Bang, Apple remote, stylus and adapters are tempting jokes, but this is the same guy who came up with the design of the iPhone, MacBook Air and many other things”

“My favorite design is Joni Quince – this is still the iPod design. He was inspired by the Braun pocket radio, but came to the iPod wheel, which became a classic. ”

“Apple before Johnny Quince”

Apple in a parallel universe without Johnie Ive”

Ive remembered a lot of them thanks to Apple commercials . In them, the designer invariably sat in the “white room” and told why the new Apple product is “the best that the company has ever done”. So part of the jokes is devoted to the iconic room.

“Joni Ive can finally get out of this white room where he was held for three decades.”

“Today’s merged photo of the office of Johnny Ive”

Ive will take care of his own business, although the full connection with Apple will not break. But some still fear for the designer.

“I can’t believe that Johnny Ive quits a full time job and goes into freelancing. Did he even see how much medical insurance costs? ”

“Joni Ive will still continue to work with Apple, but this will require a special adapter”

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