A lot of folks are taking Sir Jonathan Ive’s just announced title of as Chief Design Officer at face value. Congratulations are in order and all that. But there is a lot more going on than a title change.
Ive basically runs the show at Apple and can do or have just about anything he wants. Titles aren’t of any significance, especially to someone with as little ego and indifference to such things as Ive. There is clearly more to the story than Apple is telling us.
Announcing the role change on a US Federal holiday and effective on 2015H2 day 1 –July 1stis something big, planned and perhaps not to be taken as lightly as it is being portrayed.
Let’s look at the announcement which was made via a Stephen Fry article in the UK Telegraph and then announced over internal email (but not on Apple’s PR page -“nothing to see here folks!”). First of all, Ive and Fry are good friends which tells me it was Ive’s choice of news outlet to announce the news. That means the change and how it was going down was likely Ive’s decision and direction. Also, the US markets aren’t open so the AAPL stock jockeys won’t fall off their horses before they think about this for a few hours at least…then fall off.
More importantly, there is some background to consider. We’ve known for quite some time that Ive longs to be back in his native Britain for a variety of reasons. One thing Fry said in the long and winding story really jumped out at me:
Jony will travel more, he told me.
The family man with his twins
In my mind, that immediately rang as code for moving back to England.
In an important 2011 profile, the Sunday Times noted that Ive longed to be back in the UK and almost left Apple that year before he was given a huge payout by Apple to stay on longer.
Ding!ding!ding! New position. Get two subordinates to handle the day to day operations and pack your bags? Not quite that easy. If Ive left Apple, he’d be betraying Steve Jobs and abandoning his power as the most influential designer in the world. But he also can’t run the iOS UI and hardware design teams over Facetime. You simply just can’t just call in such an important position.
He and wife Heather, who met while they were studying at Newcastle Polytechnic, are said to want to educate their twins in England. He still visits the institution in the north-east to give masterclasses, giving up part of his three weeks’ annual leave. A friend of the family told The Sunday Times: ‘Unfortunately he is just too valuable to Apple and they told him in no uncertain terms that if he headed back to England he would not be able to sustain his position with them.’
So there’s this compromise. Ive gets two subordinates to run his two incredibly important programs then gets to spend a reasonable amount of time in the UK with his kids who then aren’t forced to grow up talking like Americans and pronouncing ‘aluminum’ like animals.
What’s Ive going to focus on while he’s out of town? Fry unceremoniously lays it out. He’s going to work with London-based Foster and Partners on the design of the Spaceship Campus 2 project and Apple Retail Stores…
…along with overseeing his new subordinate teams.
…he will bring his energies to bear – as he has already since their inception – on the Apple Stores that are proliferating around the world. The company’s retail spaces have been one of their most extraordinary successes…
It is the fruit of a longstanding and friendly collaboration between Apple and Foster + Partners — you might say between Sir Jonathan Ive KBE and Lord Foster of Thames Bank OM.
Remember, having Industrial Design and UI design coming out of the same brain was one of the key selling points of the Scott Forstal departure. Splitting the teams up again and making Alan Dye head of UI and Richard Howarth head of hardware design is a reversal of that very deliberate Tim Cook move. Perhaps as a foreshadowing, both execs were given public access by Apple for the first time in the New Yorker and WIRED pieces in the Apple Watch run up a few months ago. Howarth was even propped up as high as getting credit for designing the original iPhone.
What might be ironic about the change however is that Ive now has a C-level position (CDO?) which may make him eligible for the official Officers and Directors list. That would mean that changes in his renumeration would be public information through SEC filings.
As sad as it is to say, this feels like Jony Ive putting one foot out the door at Apple. He’s clearly set for life in monetary terms and doesn’t have much to prove in the electronics design world. iPhones, iPads and UIs will get flatter and the world will move on. That’s not to say there isn’t important work to be done in Apple Stores and the Campus 2 design, but this certainly feels like the end of an era.
…Or maybe he’s going to go design the Apple Car.
Filed under: AAPL Company, Apple Watch, iOS Devices Tagged: Apple Inc, CDO, England, iPhone, Jonathan Ive, Stephen Fry, Steve Jobs, The Daily Telegraph, UK http://feeds.wordpre...ess.com/381331/ http://feeds.wordpre...ess.com/381331/ http://feeds.wordpre...ess.com/381331/ http://feeds.wordpre...ess.com/381331/ http://feeds.wordpre...ess.com/381331/ http://feeds.wordpre...ess.com/381331/ http://feeds.wordpre...ess.com/381331/
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Microsoft unveiled Cortana on Windows Phone 8.1 last April as the company's answer to Siri and Google Now, and the company is also bringing the personal digital assistant to the desktop as part of Windows 10 this summer. Cortana's features include contextually-aware reminders, routing and mapping, current weather and traffic conditions, sports scores, biographies and more.
Some of Cortana's features on Windows Phone won't initially be available on iPhone and Android smartphones, including toggling settings, opening apps or "Hey Cortana" hands-free invoking of the personal digital assistant. Microsoft will also release an updated version of its Xbox Music app for iOS with free streaming playback of your music files and playlists from OneDrive.
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Today, we’re announcing a Cortana application for Android phones and for iPhones which works as a companion to Cortana on your Windows 10 PC. The ‘Phone Companion’ app on the PC will help you install the Cortana app from the Google Play or Apple App Store onto your phone so you’ll be able to take the intelligence of Cortana with you, wherever you go […]
The Cortana companion will be available for Android phones at the end of June and for iPhones later this year.
While Microsoft is pitching the app as a companion to a Windows PC, it appears that most of the functionality will work in the iPhone app without the need for a Windows device, Microsoft saying that you can “make the same queries, ask the same questions” in the standalone app …
As we noted last time, the move seems to be primarily geared to acknowledging the reality that even avid Windows PC fans are unlikely to own a Windows Phone – but by offering tight integration between the iPhone and Windows 10, Microsoft will also be hoping to persuade iPhone users that they don’t need to buy a Mac to have a close working relationship between their phone and laptop or tablet.
With the Apple ecosystem a key part of the appeal for iPhone owners, Microsoft has set itself a tough challenge, but as a big Siri fan, I’ll certainly be curious to see how Cortana compares once it makes it to iOS.
Filed under: Apps, Tech Industry Tagged: Cortana, Microsoft, Windows 10, Windows Phone
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We’ve seen a number of solutions for getting a gold Apple Watch without spending the $10,000+ price Apple charges for the 18 Karat gold Apple Watch edition. We went hands-on with one of the first companies doing gold plating for Apple Watch, but that requires you to mail-in the device and pay approximately $400 on top of the Watch’s retail price (depending on the model).
Another option is this $100 DIY kit that offers an easy step by step solution for gold plating the Watch yourself with 24K gold…
The Midas Touch Kickstarter project, started by chemist Eric Knoll, offers a step-by-step kit for applying a 24K gold plating to your Apple Watch. The kit starts at just under $100, and goes up to $150 if you have a steel band to cover in addition to the watch casing itself. That’s much cheaper than sending it in to a company offering gold plating services for Apple Watch— the stainless steel link band model, which sells for around $1000 from Apple, cost us an extra $400 to have it plated.
There are also other benefits to the DIY kit. You’ll be able to touch up the plating with the solution once it eventually begins to show signs of wear (inevitable for most gold-plated products). And if you eventually want to go back to the original stainless steel, you can easily do so using an abrasive polish, according to the company.
Here’s a video from the company showing off the process:
The kit is only for the stainless steel Apple Watch models so far, but the company said it’s developing a solution for the aluminum Sport models too.
You can pledge to the crowd funding campaign here to preorder the kit (the company has already reached its goal), and expect the kit to ship to backers worldwide this August.
Filed under: Apple Watch Tagged: $100, 24K, Apple watch, DIY, Gold plating, how to, kit, Midas Touch, Stainless steel
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Developed by the MOS team that's created several other popular products like the MOS Reach power outlet and the MOS cable organizer, the MOS Kick is made from metal so it can withstand being carried on a backpack or in a pocket.
We went hands-on with a prototype (hence the small bit of rust) of the MOS Kick and found it to be a convenient stand. It works with any smartphone because it includes adjustable silicone pads that hold a device in place. It's able to mount on a tripod with its 1/4" threaded hole, and it has a couple little tools for when you're in a pinch -- a bottle opener and a flat head screwdriver.
Since it's all metal, it's heavy enough to hold an iPhone up on any surface, and when attached to something like a GorillaPod, it's usable in a wide range of situations. On the downside, the MOS Kick is priced a bit high, but it's a handy way to take advantage of some of the iPhone's camera features that require the phone to be still, like time-lapse.
The MOS Kick can be purchased from the MOS website for $24.95.
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93 Views · 3 Replies ( Last reply by JohnnyZowl )
The Apple world this morning seems divided between those who seemingly haven’t grasped the implications of Apple’s ‘promotion’ of Jony Ive, merely taking Cook’s memo at face value, and those switching into full-on ‘Apple is doomed’ mode. The reality is, I think, a little more nuanced.
It seems pretty clear that this move is, as Seth outlined earlier, about Ive taking more of a backseat role – and especially being able to spend a lot more time back in England. Apple’s decision to announce the news on a day when the US markets were closed was obviously not coincidence.
Apple didn’t want to see a knee-jerk panic reaction on Wall Street setting its stock diving. But is there reason to panic? Or is it all much ado about nothing? Or something between the two … ?
Let’s start with Ive giving up management responsibilities. This is, in my view, a non-event. For all I know, Ive may be the best manager in the world, the master of budget forecasts, the maestro of people management, the– Ok, I’ve run out of superlatives beginning with M. But given that he speaks with great passion about design, and barely mentions management in any of his interviews, I strongly suspect that he has merely tolerated management responsibilities as the price of being in charge of design.
But what of taking a more back-seat role on design? That, surely, is a pretty big deal?
There’s no question that Ive has been massively influential in modern industrial design, and his work a huge part of Apple’s success. For all his famed modesty in interviews, his talk of teams and saying ‘we’ far more than ‘I’, there’s no doubt that Apple’s design language is very much born from Ive’s personal vision.
But his modesty does also reflect a reality of large corporations. Apple works very hard to present itself to the world as a small entity run by a few friendly and familiar faces. Steve Jobs was for many years almost the sole face of Apple. Today, we see more faces than we used to. Not just Tim Cook and Jony Ive, but also Eddy Cue, Craig Federighi, Phil Schiller, Angela Ahrendts.
But that’s still a pretty small small group of faces for the largest company in the world by market cap. For every familiar face, there are hundreds of unknown ones, quietly doing incredibly important work behind the scenes. And that’s true of industrial and user interface design too. There’s Richard Howarth and Alan Dye, of course – both faces we’re going to see a lot more of in the coming months. But behind them are a whole army of talented designers and UX experts.
There’s no contradiction here between the two views I’ve expressed: that Apple’s design language stems from one man’s personal vision, and that nothing Apple produces is ever designed by one person. The vision may be Ive’s, but the realization of that vision is the work of a whole team of people.
We don’t even know for sure if the change announced represents much of a shift from what happens today. Does Ive spend most of his time beavering away on CAD systems, making clay models and personally exploring the properties of hundreds of different materials? Or does his team do most of the hands-on work while Ive provides the direction, the feedback, the suggestions, the yes or no decisions?
It could well be the latter, in which case very little need change.
But either way, it’s not hard to see that the latter approach could serve Apple well in future. Ive has created a very well-established Apple design language. He works with a team of bright, thoughtful people who have years of experience at working within that language.
Even for a completely new Apple product, it’s not like Ive is the only man on the planet who can come up with an amazing design that completely fits into the Apple product family. If Ive were to do nothing more than set the criteria and outline the vision, providing feedback and guidance on the different iterations, we’d still get great designs. Indeed, given the experience his team has, we’d still get great designs if Ive just waited for his team to come up with ideas and said ‘add X, remove Y, change Z then come back and show me another one.’
But I doubt that’s what’s going to happen here. Sure, management responsibilities are difficult to fulfill remotely – but design can be done from anywhere. Ive would be as capable of leading design direction whether sitting in a lab in Cupertino or in a home office in England.
And while he could clearly well afford to retire, I don’t see that happening. Offload management stuff, absolutely. Reduce his day-to-day workload, definitely. But it’s clear Ive still loves, eats and breathes design. He couldn’t give it up if he wanted to. And, honestly, Apple would be pretty dumb to give Ive a new C-level title (only the third one in the company) shortly before having to announce his retirement.
So I suspect his new role will be somewhere between the two extremes. A certain amount of hands-on design work. A certain amount of strategic direction. A certain amount of feedback, guidance, decision-making.
But even in the worst of cases, no one individual is indispensable. Apple clearly has an amazing team of designers, well-versed in what it is that makes a design ‘Apple.’ With or without Ive, they will continue to do great work. Life would go on. Apple design would go on. Apple would not be doomed (though the pronouncements that it is would go on).
Top image: fastcolabs.com
Filed under: AAPL Company, Opinion Tagged: Alan Dye, Angela Ahrendts, Apple design, Apple Inc, craig federighi, Eddy Cue, iPhone, iPhone 7, Ive, Jonathan Ive, Jony Ive, Mac, MacBook, Phil Schiller, richard howarth, Steve Jobs, Tim Cook
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