After two years spent largely on the design of Apple’s new campus, Jony Ive is returning to day-to-day management of the industrial and software design teams at Apple, according to a new report by Bloomberg. Those teams had been led by Richard Howarth and Alan Dye respectively, and both Howarth and Dye had reported directly to Tim Cook. Now, they’ll report to Ive.
Anyone closely following Apple design has likely noticed that, while Apple’s industrial design remains unparalleled, its products are iterative at best and full of logical oddities at worst; many recent features are anything but intuitive. Ive returning to his day job may help with these problems. More promising still is that the new Apple campus will allow the entire design team to be united for perhaps the first time in Apple’s history. As Ive put it in a recent interview:
The products we make are so complex and challenging that you need a broad range of expertise to come together to work on something. And I think . . . this has never happened before . . . when we move into the new studio . . . the industrial team will finally come together with the UI team.
What that will mean . . . is that an industrial designer will be sitting next to a font designer, who will be sitting next to a sound designer, who will be sitting next to a motion graphics designer, and a haptics expert, and somebody who is used to working on three-dimensional figures that are animated, next to a user interface expert, with digital model makers and physical real-world model makers. And . . . it’s hard to say that without getting a little uppity uppity jumpy. I’m really terribly excited about what that’s going to lead.
As skeptical as I have been about Apple in the past few years, I’ll be the first to admit, I’m excited to see what the company can do with a fully integrated design team working as one–while reporting to the most accomplished designer on the planet.