Apple is Losing Three Members of its Industrial Design Team

The Industrial Design Team at Apple is getting a bit of a shakeup, with a trio of talented individuals departing the company.

According to a report on Thursday from The Wall Street Journal, Apple’s illustrious Industrial Design Team is losing three members. The team is run by Jony Ive and typically consists of up to two dozen people. However, the report says that three members of the team are leaving.

Daniele De Iuliis and Rico Zorkendorfer have been at the company the longest, with the pair squaring up to 35 years at Apple combined. Meanwhile, another member of the team, Julian Hönig, has been with Apple for 10 years and will be leaving in the coming months:

“Mr. Zorkendorfer said he was taking a break from his professional life to spend time with his family, adding that he felt privileged to work on Apple’s design team. Mr. De Iuliis didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. Mr. Hönig declined to comment.”

There have reportedly only been “a few” departures from the IDT over the last decade or so, so the fact it’s losing three team members within a short period of time is certainly newsworthy in its own right. But especially because the Jony Ive-led team is notoriously close-knit, and has been helping build up Apple’s success with new iPhone designs over the years.

“Mr. Jobs put the design group at the nexus of Apple’s product development process and lavished attention on the team, visiting it almost daily to see its latest work on new products. The combination of the ID team’s elevated status inside Apple and Mr. Jobs’s treatment helped create a group that worked and socialized together, becoming so tight that only a few members of the team left in more than a decade, according to some of these people.

Stock grants made the designers millionaires as Apple became the world’s most valuable company. Many were able to afford second and even third homes.”

The good news here comes from Zorkendorfer, who says that the change in staffing is actually just a shift in new design talent entering the company. It may not suggest that everything is crashing down internally, as far as the design team is concerned. Zorkendorfer, at least, doesn’t seem to think this is a sign of the End Times, anyway.

The timing is certainly interesting, though! 2011 may be one of the biggest question marks for Apple in terms of design for the iPhone, at least as far as the latest rumors and leaked specs are concerned. Apple’s reportedly going with a triple-camera design for at least one model, and the company could be adopting a very . . . unique design philosophy.

[via WSJ]