Apple’s chief design officer Jonathan Ive will depart the company later this year, bringing an end to a tenure spent crafting some of technology’s most influential products, including the iPhone. Ive, who has led Apple’s design team since 1996, is leaving “to form an independent design company which will count Apple among its primary clients.” The company is called LoveFrom, and Ive will be joined by famed designer Marc Newson on the new venture. Despite stepping down from his executive position, Ive and Apple both claim he will still work “on a range of projects with Apple.”
“Apple will continue to benefit from Jony’s talents by working directly with him on exclusive projects, and through the ongoing work of the brilliant and passionate design team he has built,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a press release. “After so many years working closely together, I’m happy that our relationship continues to evolve and I look forward to working with Jony long into the future.”
Ive is one of the world’s most esteemed industrial designers and has worked on products, including a wide range of Macs, the iPod, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and more. He also had a hand in designing the company’s “spaceship” Apple Park campus and establishing the look and feel of Apple retail stores.
Most recently, Ive voiced a design video about the new Mac Pro launching later this year. In addition to hardware design, Ive has also been played a large role in reshaping Apple’s software. He introduced the drastically revamped iOS 7 in 2013, and gave a similar treatment to Apple’s desktop software, now known as macOS, not long after.
Apple says that Evans Hankey, its current vice president of industrial design, and Alan Dye, VP of human interface design, will now report to Jeff Williams, who “will spend more of his time working with the design team in their studio.”
“After nearly 30 years and countless projects, I am most proud of the lasting work we have done to create a design team, process and culture at Apple that is without peer,” Ive said. “Today it is stronger, more vibrant and more talented than at any point in Apple’s history. The team will certainly thrive under the excellent leadership of Evans, Alan and Jeff, who have been among my closest collaborators. I have the utmost confidence in my designer colleagues at Apple, who remain my closest friends, and I look forward to working with them for many years to come.”
Ive formed a close working and personal relationship with Steve Jobs when the Apple co-founder returned to the sinking company in 1997. One of the first products the two collaborated on was the 1998 iMac. That kicked off a spectacular comeback for what is now one of the world’s most successful and admired technology companies. Jobs made a voice call to Ive during his legendary reveal of the original iPhone in 2007.
For many years, Ive appeared in videos that documented and showcased the design of Apple’s latest products. He’s appeared less frequently these days, but still provides voiceovers for many of the clips. Other than the occasional interview for a design magazine or panel, Ive has largely maintained a private life despite the high-profile gadgets he has helped create.