Apple Severs Ties with Jony Ive

Posted on July 12, 2022 by Paul Thurrott in Apple with 20 Comments

Tim Cook feigns interest in Jony Ive at the September 2018 iPhone XR launch. Source: Apple

Apple has had it with Jony Ive, and it has walked away from its 30-year relationship with the one-time design darling.

“Jony is a singular figure in the design world, and his role in Apple’s revival cannot be overstated,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a statement. Left unsaid: Cook cannot stand Ive and he was unable to work with him in the wake of co-founder Steve Jobs’ death.

The New York Times reports that Apple has severed ties with Ive and his new company, LoveFrom, which Ive founded in 2019 when he stepped away from day-to-day work at Apple to consult with the company to the tune of $100 million. Apparently, Apple’s contract with LoveFrom was up for renewal and it declined to do so, despite an earlier pledge to work with Ive “long into the future.”

Ive was a close friend and confidante of Jobs, but his relationship with Cook has icy and distant at best.

Those interested in this part of Apple’s history should read After Steve: How Apple Became a Trillion-Dollar Company and Lost its Soul by Tripp Mickle. But the short version is that Cook erred in letting Ive take over software design and become a manager, and his overly-thin, form-over-function designs held back Apple for years. The firm is still recovering from those mistakes, with less svelte new hardware releases that offer the features customers have demanded.

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Comments (20)

20 responses to “Apple Severs Ties with Jony Ive”

  1. djross95

    I'm about 2/3 of the way through the book you mention. All I can say is that, while Cook is not my cup of tea, Ive is just the strangest dude on the planet. Apple is far better off without him in any number of different ways.

  2. oscar1

    Good news, 10 years overdue nonetheless but better than ever i guess.

  3. ejuly

    I am about 1/2 into the book and it has reinforced my viewpoint that Jobs running Apple the second time was the beginning of the return of the American corporate oligarchy system. Some oligarchs are bad and some are good but they are no different than a cult or religion.

  4. abdulla77

    Ive is a creative designer.. by himself, he’s worthless. Apple was ALL about the intersection of art and technology and he’s just killing Apple by keeping it a one-way art path. Function got destroyed and form was king.. it went for too long and it had to stop.

  5. christianwilson

    I like Jony Ive's work but I think he outgrew Apple long before he left. He continually refined the same couple of products over and over until those refinements became a detriment.

    This separation is good for everyone. Jony is open to design all kinds of different things and Apple has already been moving away from some of the design missteps of the recent past.

  6. fuzzbubble

    People seem to be forgetting that Jony wanted to leave after st ve passed away because he was burnt out. He stayed due the feelings of loyalty and wanted to do the right thing by the company.

  7. jmeiii75

    The white room is now empty.

  8. wright_is

    Ive is a fascinating person and there is no doubt, he is a great designer, but his approach to products in the last decade stymied Apple's products in some ways. The world moved on from his minimalist designs, to wanting them to also be practical, which he struggles to deliver, because of his perfectionism.

    It is sad to see him go on the one hand, but on the other hand, it is in Apple's best interests to move on, taking those minimalist designs, but moving them forward with more practical touches. I hope they can find the right balance moving forward.

  9. digiguy

    The departure of Ive has coincided with a rebirth of Apple. Nobody knows how much the 2 things are related but I am glad things went the way they did...

    • Stabitha.Christie

      Apple had a rebirth? I feel like they have been doing just fine for some time? When did they need a rebirth?

    • Donte

      I could not agree more. I almost dumped the MacBook line because all of the bad choices.

      The bad keyboards, touchbar, removal, MagSafe removal, no HDMI. All reversed since he left.

  10. nbplopes

    Ive: Hey Cook we have this incredible new design ….

    Cook: Oh cute. But operations aligned to the what we have been doing in the past 20 years … is earning us a lot of money … We now own and control GPU/CPU ….

  11. navarac

    Cook erred in letting Ive take over software

    Cook's fault then? So blame Cook, not Ive!

    • wright_is

      He wanted the role and took it on, but was soon over his head. He is a great designer, but he is a designer, not a team leader, first and foremost, and he needed the hands-on that Jobs had with the design department.

      Cook didn't really care about the design side, oh, it was important and Ive got a lot of what he wanted and needed, but the camaraderie was missing. Jobs would come down regularly, actually look at the products, discuss minutiae with Ive and give him some direction.

      Cook, on the other hand had no real feeling for what Ive and the team were doing, according to the book. He would stroll in, take a brief look at the product and leave again. The time and care taken in the packaging was ignored, the product was pulled out of the packaging and inspected, the "experience" failed, which I believe irked Ive. Ive and Jobs were on a similar wavelength, they could bounce ideas off each other, that was missing, when Cook took over.

      There was nobody to reign in his excesses and nobody to praise him, when he got things right, so he looked more and more to the outside.

      The Tripp Mickle book is really worth reading, if you are interested in what was going on. I nearly didn't bother getting it, not being a real Apple fanboy, but I am glad I did, it was really fascinating. It was written almost like a novel and I got the Audible version and the narrator makes it sound like a sequel to "The Circle".

      • nbplopes

        I digress. Apple design IMHO has fundamentally stalled in a couple of Ives designs … ironically.

        iPhone 12 and 13 design and aesthetic are essentially iPhone 4 but with larger screen and improved display.

        They too this cue and worked it on an iMac and iPad Pro.

        Current MBPs are reminescent to 2009 MBP with some minimal aesthetic updates.

        Mac Studio … again Ives Mac Mini but taller.

        and the list goes on

        I guess the reason why Ive is now totally moving is because of what it described. Apple is run by operations now. Of course picking up a good previous extremely simply design is operationally easier.


        • Stabitha.Christie

          Yeah and in your opinion Apple locked down MacOS so you could only get apps from the Mac App Store... They didn't but I certainly didn't stop you from saying otherwise .....

    • nbplopes

      I think he was pushed to it. Anyway his design language for the UI worked didn’t it?

  12. scovious

    Jony Ive would hate the ugly array of cameras that Apple thinks consumers want on their devices. I bet their parting was mutual. I remember when the iPhone had no camera bump and could be used in one hand; that era was peak Jony Ive design.

    These days the most compelling thing about an iPhone is the lock in strategy.