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By the end of this year Jony Ive will no longer be an Apple employee. The world's most famous designer has been at the centre of Apple's innovations for more than 20 years. His candy coloured iMacs helped to rescue Apple from the brink of bankruptcy in the late 1990s. Then, the iPod and the iPhone changed our relationship with technology.
So, the clear goal was how we can make the product accessible, not intimidating; how we can make it just so simple to use?
But now, Jony is changing his relationship with Apple. Just don't call it a break-up. When I spoke to Jony this week, he told me that he would be starting a new venture of his own called LoveFrom, with Apple as his first client. Jony told me he hopes to stay very involved in Apple's product development for many, many years to come. Still, his departure later this year will mark the end of an era for Apple.
To create something that's genuinely new, you have to start again, and I think with great intent, you disconnect from the past.
Jony was Steve Jobs's closest ally in dreaming up everything, from breakthrough new products to its new headquarters at Apple Park. The incredible run of hits that they produced together is unmatched in Silicon Valley and beyond, turning Apple at one point into the world's most profitable and valuable company. But despite the continued success of the iPhone after Jobs's death and the popularity of wearable devices, such as Apple Watch and AirPods in the last couple of years, Apple is no longer the world's most valuable company.
Today, it is Microsoft, not Apple, that is valued at more than a trillion dollars, as investors fret about a sudden drop in iPhone sales and the impact of the US-China trade war. Jony insists that none of that is why he is leaving right now. Instead, I got a sense from him that, even with all the resources at his disposal inside Apple, he wanted to make his mark outside the tech industry.
That expansion had already begun with his work on Apple Park, where his tight knit design team has a new studio designed to foster greater collaboration. But it is perhaps telling that despite an expanded design role for Jeff Williams, Apple's chief operating officer, and an experienced team of designers under him, nobody else at Apple will be taking Jony's title of chief design officer. At Apple, it seems, Jony Ive is irreplaceable, even when he no longer works there.