Human interface director Greg Christie, who recently detailed his work on the UI for the original iPhone, may be leaving Apple, reports 9to5Mac. Christie’s departure may be related to the promotion of Jony Ive, who has assumed a larger role in the design of iOS along with his work on Apple hardware.
According to the report, Ive will take over lead of the iOS Software design group, displacing Christie. The group previously was led by Christie, who reported to Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering Craig Federighi. Ive often attended interface design meetings and was tasked with the job of redesigning the UI for iOS 7. Christie reportedly clashed with Ive over the direction the UI should take, with Ive going over Christie’s leadership during the development of the OS .
The design shakeup at Apple will result in Christie soon leaving the company, with all software designers now working directly under Ive with the rest of his industrial design team instead of within Federighi’s engineering group. Sources say that Christie’s upcoming departure is significant and stems from a falling out with Ive.
When Ive tasked Apple’s Human Interface team with redesigning iOS 7 to include an entirely new look, Christie and Ive reportedly clashed over design direction, after which Ive is said to have circumvented Christie’s leadership of the team during the new operating system’s development.
This isn’t the first significant change in the iOS group. Scott Forstall was removed from the iOS group in 2012 after major failures with iOS Maps and Siri following their debut in iOS 6. His departure was part of a larger shake-up that saw the departure of retail head John Browett as well the expansion of responsibilities for Jony Ive, Eddy Cue, Craig Federighi, and Bob Mansfield.
Update: Apple confirmed to the Financial Times that Greg Christine will be retiring later this year. Going forward, his team will report to Jony Ive.