Apple loses top designer Jony Ive

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Apple's chief designer Jonathan I is leaving after more than two decades in which his icon, ick designs for the MAC ipod and iphone turned one of silicon buddies faded giants into the world's most valuable company Janine Gibson discusses is means for apple and what Jonathan will do next with Tim Bradshaw and Matthew galahad. Sarah hunt for those outside the tech world. He might not know the significance of Johnny alive. Who is he? Well, I consider myself outside the tech world. And I mean, he's always a huge figure within the tech world, an even bigger figure out of it because along with Steve Jobs. He's the man responsible for the apple as we know it today, and the suite of products and gadgets and computers developed, which effectively changed the world of consumer electronics changed the world in terms of the way we interact with telephones and gave the world its first smartphone. He is someone with a very clear design aesthetic and without Mary to the drive and the relentless push for excellence. Steve Jobs, embodied, the two were kind of perfect pair. And the apple, we know today was on its knees when the two of them together. So he is a huge huge figure one of the biggest figures in global business. So his departure from apple is a very, very big deal because. Apple design leads the technology anyway, doesn't it? Yeah. Very much say the design studio were Johnny works, and web, Steve Jobs. Spent a lot of his time really comes up with the concepts of new ideas for products, and even anything down through the materials that they use to create those undescribed deep expiration of what's coming next so day than sort of go out and partner with engineering teams. The software teams to turn those into products ready the seeds of those ideas come from quest small, number of people inside a company that employs one hundred thirty thousand across its software retail operation. So it's a very small, but very influential group that Johnny has led full twenty odd years design leads the company, doesn't it? Absolutely. Yeah. Unlike any other apple, I think, doesn't think of itself as a tech company if thinks of itself as a design company that comes to peace tech. So if the aesthetics requires you to invent new material, you will go off and invent new. Yeah. If you come out with a phone turns out space slightly bendy than you had expected the next phone comes out with a slutty strengthened aluminium. So it doesn't bend, for example. So why is he leaving? Now, then, Johnny says when we spoke to him this week that he's leaving now because he feels like he's completed a certain number of big projects that have been trained for quite some time in terms of Apple's internal projects. That means the move to apple park, its new headquarters that he designed along with jobs in Norman foster and also that comes with it a sort of a new setup full that design studio, which has brought together, not just industrial design, which is perhaps what we think of Johnny. And Appleford Demery the sort of the physical hardware, it self, but bringing in interaction designers, font, designers people think about different ways in which we touch tap fail. Whatever comes out of the software, and the jets themselves, and that's been working progress. Full a very long time. It's a multibillion dollar projects. I think Johnny said the in Steve Jobs. I talked about it in two thousand four as they were walking through high park in London. I think there is also a secondary question around what motivates, Johnny himself, and why he feels like this. Moment where he wants to branch out and do things he's not going to be quizzing, working with apple together. He won't be an employee anymore, but they will retain his offices to advise on design and strategy and product innovations. But he will no longer be restricted to just doing technology. Now, he's not saying an awful lot about what else he is going to do with this new venture that he starting, but one can imagine that, that might run from anything from peaceful expensive pieces of jewelry or furniture to something completely different. He's bringing with him Newson, who's another apple designer in a longtime collaborator of Janis who worked on plain interiors and cars and watches. So the resources inside apple almost unlimited, but the canvas is somewhat constrained. And so maybe he just feels after twenty five years, he wants to do something different. Do you think that the nature of the company's changing Matt, that it's something that has been so aesthetic lead and design lead, and that you can move the world in order to achieve your vision, but apple is necessarily becoming more about services and expensive video streaming? Software perations than hardware, certainly. I think that's a big part of it. I mean, the smartphone market is maturing new competitors in China and undercutting the sorts of things. Apple does. It's still by far and away the biggest part of its business, but it's not growing as quickly as it used to in the big pot. With more. Potential is services, as you say, in video and music and other things. How much influence can one person is used to sculpting, beautiful objects have on a sort of the'real, intangible business light services? Yeah. I think that's right. I mean, the apple line has always been that actually what makes the iphone specialists, not just the hardware combination of hardware, and software and services. And although Johnny started as an industrial designer he did take over software GT's as well. And he has a guy I think he was seven he sort of strip that back made it much minimalist lot flatter. Got rid of some of the faux leather, textures and sort of ring binder stuff that you had in the original I find as it came out. And so he's proved that he can't do software as well. But I guess we haven't seen from apple a right through. In things like Siri and virtual assistance and artificial intelligence. And although some of that is roar engineering and technology and not scenario where Google has lost more data that can pull on apple does, it is also a question of how humans interact with technology and the way Siri works just isn't as good as Alexa, or Google assistant. Do you think any of this is down two pups getting a little booed? I mean being the same place for such a long time, having such influence sees the company, moving in a slightly different direction. And it's now time to think about things a living technology. I think twelve plus years of iphones. A ni- becoming evermore. It's relative. I do think the must be sort of sense of you. Here we go again. They obviously look a long way ahead many years, aheads. And so he will know that the car the small classes, and whatever is coming in health next that we expect all brewing in those labs. He'll be involved in those and we'll continue to be, I think, but the must be something that you just want to try something completely different. And when I spoke to him he. Talked a little bit about wanting sort of try and find that space and clear at to think of new ideas and get different kinds of crisis stimulating, he talks a lot about the creative process, rather than just the products that come out at the end of them. And I did get a sense that maybe just felt like he was on a bit of a treadmill and never really got the kind of free space to roam, and he won't. He's coming along way from his humble beginnings, and fully embrace the Californian lifestyle very much site. Boy, from ching food is, yeah, we're done good. Yeah. I'm might be overrun meant citing. This is a frequent problem. But I have this very Ben bradlee Katharine Graham view of Steve Jobs, and Johnny. I building this company together with the creative, tension partnership. It's going on. Yeah. Yep. This a whole soundtrack, and that somehow, you know, won't Steve Jobs wins the company's inevitably drifted onto Tim to be bit more corporate, and most structurally lead in poor Janis. Aesthetic vision has been forced out. I think this must be something to that, for sure. Say that just soon delivered or no? I mean it was opponent ship. I think they would both Joe's still here. He would say, I mean, they were collaborators the like of which is not been seen, and they had lunch together every day jobs was constantly in the design studio. I asked him cook, you know, how often he goes, and he says. Well, I'm I'm very busy. I goes offense like hand every it doesn't sound like the having lunch together. And so, I think that's on the other hand, you know, the apple watch and the airports, and the sort of whole push into wearable, technology, was definitely a post jobs endeavor that process began in two thousand twelve and so, although the watch got a very lukewarm reception. When it started it has become a bit business. I think the uphold similarly people like why does that little dribble of toothpaste, look like sticking out of my, but now they've sort of almost become their own viral phenomenon and that's not just him. That's the whole team of people that work in design. They've proven that they can do something beyond. Now, I guess what we haven't seen, and frankly, may never see from apple is something as big as the iphone, I guess. That sort of thing that hangs over, and I again, also Johnny about that. And he said, well, I didn't show success by numbers. It's more about the ideas and the satisfaction and the little invisible things that we do that people not licensed. Their lives are being made better. That's fine. That would have appealed, Steve Jobs and possibly note. That have from I haven't, I mean, you've referred to the initial skepticism move up at ports when the MAC book, the latest book in the keyboards that don't work nasal. Hooky. Stand the thousand. Well, I didn't I mean Johnny might sleep that is the pinnacle of his achievements. The monitor stemmed pros what he's spending his time doing. Yeah, I think I think the bigger question behind all of this is who makes decisions about which apple products come out and see the light of day and rightly or wrongly that was always singularly associated with jobs. He was the one he said million dollars and a few yeses, and I think Johnny has sort of taken on that role. But maybe not how that sounding board, the he had when jobs was alive. And I think Tim cook is a fantastic operator. He's a fantastic diplomats, which is a very important role for apple at the moment. But yeah, you don't get that sense that he's energized by the spark of an idea. And how do we nurture this? He wants to know when it comes out the other side, how to make it in huge volumes and how to make a big success. But who after Johnny his left full-time apple is actually making that decision is not clear. And they say it's many people that I knew were talking about designed by committee. Which put on the spot come they flourish without him. Well without him is this open question? I mean he's starting this new venture called love from or one word. It has been in California alone, time has has done so love from we'll have apple as its first client, and he says that he wants to be sort of very closely involved for very, many years. But up until now Apple's had him ultimate cells. And so I think that there are other questions around whether upward flourish, which I think, in the short-term, have much more to with the China US trade war, and how many people in China's still wants by phones. Whether China will still be where I finds a maid or whether they have to move production out wholesale which is very complicated and expensive. And so the iphone franchise will continue with or without Johnny. I think, and it's hard to sort of say how closely involved, he's been in the phone, but he is a call not. He's a judge at the Goodwood festival of speed he likes 'cause he wanted to buy McLaren for awhile. Yes. That was a scoop. He was. Was enough teeth story. So yeah, but you kind of wonder what that I mean that definitely spending lots of money exploring Wilson autonomous vehicle can do and how it will work. But what does that actually look like? And whether Johnny has the right person to design, not as a fan of traditional calls or whether you need someone with a completely blank slate. I mean, they're all those argue that actually this is the right moment to really shake up monument, apple more, generally, we see Angela errands, leave the head of retail. They've Bruce in a very senior artificial intelligence engineer from Google to oversee machine learning where they have been weak. And you know, maybe this will create a new kind of air film. They certainly have the resources that disposal to kind of feel holds write them off. Big question for apple so Jonathan's off to become a yacht interior designer whatever he's going off today. But in the big ranking of Google Facebook, Amazon Apple who's now on top. Does this make any difference fathom? Well Microsoft right now is the world's most valuable company in the only one of the big Silicon Valley companies that is worth more than a trillion. Never talk about, Microsoft his quite has quite boring. I mean. I mean I find Amazon is such juggernaut right now and seems to have that carefree spirit of innovation and experimentation, which has been quite the opposite of how apple has worked where you sort of very deliberately and secretly come up with something. And then launch it into the world as technology expands into every for lives. I feel like Amazon is perhaps, the most dynamic of that group that doesn't currently at least have the privacy baggage, a Facebook or Google might have all the sort of legacy problems of. We've we still have iphone sales that make up two-thirds of our revenues. And how do we ever get out from under that? Do you think that's right? Yeah. I think I'm clearly motiva- are ascendant. And they have been in the ascendancy for some time and apple has its own struggles

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