- Jony Ive, Apple’s long-time head of design, will resume management of the company’s design team.
- Ive relinquished his day-to-day administrative role two years ago, when Apple named him its chief design officer.
- The move comes amid growing criticism of the design of the company’s products.
In a move that could indicate that Apple is refocusing on the design of its products, it’s put Jony Ive back in charge of its design team.
Ive stepped back from his day-to-day administrative duties in 2015, when he got his current title, chief design officer. His resumption of managerial duties follows a wave of criticism about many of the company’s products even as the iPhone maker touted the design of its futuristic new headquarters, Apple Park.
“With the completion of Apple Park, Apple’s design leaders and teams are again reporting directly to Jony Ive, who remains focused purely on design,” an Apple spokesperson told Business Insider.
Ive’s deputies, Alan Dye and Richard Howarth, who headed up user interface and industrial design, were removed from Apple’s leadership page on Friday, 9to5Mac reported. Both the user interface and industrial design teams will report to Jony Ive, a person familiar with Ive’s new role told Business Insider.
Bloomberg first reported the news.
During Steve Jobs’ tenure as CEO, Ive effectively served as his right-hand man, leading the industrial design of all of Apple’s major products that led to its remarkable rebound and later industry dominance, including the iPhone. He’s still seen as one of the most important executives at the company.
However, when Ive relinquished his day-to-day duties two years ago, the move was widely seen as the first step toward his eventual retirement. And in recent years, many Apple watchers have speculated that he had taken a less-involved role at the company.
As part of the management shift, Ive will once again run Apple’s industrial design department, which is charged with imagining and designing breakthrough products like the iPhone. In the past, Ive often gave concepts to Apple’s engineering department, telling them to make the product design possible, which is counter to how industrial design works at other high tech firms.
Apple’s products have faced a substantial amount of criticism in recent years. Many of its Mac computer lines, most notably the Mac Pro and Mac mini, haven’t seen a significant update in years. And many users have complained that the keyboards on the company’s latest laptops are hard to type on and that the Touch Bar – a narrow, re configurable, touch-sensitive screen found on some of the company’s notebooks – is little more than a gimmick.
Even the iPhone, Apple’s flagship product, drew criticism after it went three years without a major redesign before the company released the iPhone X this fall.