Jony Ive has been the mind behind Apple’s mind-bending designs and color choices for the past three decades. Considered one of Steve Jobs’ closest, he has been behind everything from the candy-colored iMac to the cutting-edge MacBook lineup.
Ive formally departed from Apple in 2019, but CEO Tim Cook promised that he would be working with Apple for years to come. It turns out that’s not the case anymore. According to the NY Times, Jony Ive’s agreement with Apple is ending, and there’s no renewal in sight.
Apple and Jony Ive’s agreement
Since Sir Jonathan Paul Ive (Jony Ive) designed many iconic Apple products, the company decided to keep him close despite growing distant from the current CEO, Tim Cook. So Apple and Jony Ive have been in agreement that restricted Ive from undertaking designs that Apple deemed competitive.
Jony started his design firm LoveFrom, and reportedly signed a $100 million agreement, making Apple his biggest client. Apple employees have questioned the agreement internally and have reportedly caused designers to leave Apple and join Mr. Ive.
What happens at the end of this agreement?
If the reports of Ive and Apple’s agreement not renewing are true, then Ive has the liberty to design for Apple’s competitors. Simply put, in a world where smartphone design is now the highlight, companies could go to Jony Ive for inspiration.
Mr. Ive has contributed to designing the iconic iMac G3, the iPod, iPad, MacBooks, and even the Apple Watch. Many of these designs were segment-first and set trends for how notebooks, phones, and tablets look and function even today.
The smartphone market almost reached saturation in design until Samsung pulled foldable phones out of its hat. Then we got phones with under-display selfie cameras, and now we have the Nothing Phone (1) with its glyph design.
With Mr. Ive back on the market, he could come up with more refreshing design touches, colors, and even form factors. So from an enthusiast’s point of view, it is good news for the industry. Be it notebooks, desktops, or phones; everything could be in for an overhaul if this news is true.
The Apple design
If you’ve followed Apple in the recent year, you’d have noticed a change in design. The products are boxier and, I dare say, safer in design choices, choosing practicality over esthetics. Apple put a notch on the new MacBooks and removed the wedged MacBook Air design with the latest lineup.
The iPhones have also gone boxier and feel thicker. While these are still good designs, Apple has slowly parted ways from the old ones. Tim Cook’s Apple is generally addressed as a more service-heavy company, where the hardware is just a portal to the software.
So accordingly, the hardware is becoming more practical, robust, and accommodating for long-term subscribers. Like Sir Ive’s designs, Apple’s current products are also bound to age well. What do you think about the end of the Ive era at Apple? Do share your views in the comments.