Late last year, Apple made a much talked about change to its management, firing iOS chief Scott Forstall, and distributing his responsibilities amongst Eddy Cue, Craig Federighi and Jony Ive. Apple said that these changes would “encourage even more collaboration between the Company’s world-class hardware, software and services teams.”
According to a new report by The Wall Street Journal, Apple’s collaboration plans are working out pretty well, with the industrial design and software design teams, led by Jony Ive, working closely together on future products.
WSJ notes that previously, Apple’s notoriously secretive policies meant that the company’s two design teams (industrial and software) used to work in isolation of each other while a new product was being developed. There was obviously some interaction between the two teams, but it was a select group of “stealth” software developers that would help out with prototypes. Things are starting to change now:
The stealth software developers still exist. But now, Apple’s mobile software, or “human interface” team, which has been led by executive Greg Christie, is being briefed about industrial prototypes earlier, these people said. The person described the change as “a thawing.”
Ive, who is well-known for his sleek, iconic hardware designs, now sits in on the human interface team’s regular review sessions to vet new designs, these people said. While he and Christie, known as a blunt talker, have very different styles, the people familiar with the process described the sessions as “pleasant and cordial.”
The report also notes that Jony Ive is pushing for “flat design” in iOS 7. Many have seen Ive’s increased role in software design as an indication of the impending death of skeuomorphism in iOS. While doing a complete revamp of the interface would be a huge project, it seems the design teams are already taking small steps and moving towards this path, as seen in today’s Podcasts app update.