Jony Ive Stopped Turning Up for Design Meetings After Original Apple Watch Release

Ever since Apple announced that Jony Ive is leaving Apple, numerous reports have highlighted how the design guru had shed all his responsibilities after the original Apple Watch launched in 2015. A WSJ report now further details how Jony Ive was during the last few years at Apple.

In 2017, when the iPhone X launch was around the corner, all key Apple designers met at a San Francisco club called The Battery situated 50 miles away from its Cupertino headquarters.

Ive was supposed to be a part of the meeting but he was late by over 3 hours and then left without answering any of the key questions of the 20 or so designers.

“Many of us were thinking: How did it come to this?” said a person at the meeting. There was a sense “Jony was gone but reluctant to hand over the reins.”

The report citing people close to the company says that as Ive stopped managing Apple’s design team, it left the team “rudderless,” inefficient, and weakened.

Interestingly, the report highlights Cook’s role as the one meant to primarily keep Ive happy. This included a pay package that was far higher than other Apple executives despite the designer’s reducing responsibilities. The design studio sources also said that Cook was rarely a part of the product development process which discouraged Ive.

The design guru also became frustrated with Apple’s board as it became more populated with people in finance and operations rather than technology or other core business.

After many product releases over the years, including the iMac and iPhone, this person said Mr. Ive took time to recharge, adding that the company tried to create a different model where the designer could work remotely more often. “The reality was he worked just as hard and got just as tired.”

Ive worked closely with Steve Jobs and his death devastated him. During Jobs tenure, whenever he was to visit Apple’s design studio, Ive was like “we have to have a lot for him to see.” And once Steve passed away, that went away.

The report goes into more detail about Ive’s tenure at Apple and how him being away disappointed the team. However, it is clear that Jobs death and the hard work that the designer put into the Apple Watch left him exhausted.

Our Take

Ive gave his best to Apple for almost three decades and designing all the iconic products took its toll on him. One may put the blame on him for removing the headphone jack and adding a notch to the iPhone but he must be respected for all the work that he has done over the years.

[Via WSJ]