Sometimes it’s just best to take Apple at their word
On Monday evening, Stephen Fry released an interview, posted in The Telegraph, with Jony Ive in which it was announced Ive would be taking on a new role at Apple, and two of his colleagues taking on some of his management responsibilities:
Until now, Ive’s job title has been Senior Vice President of Design. But I can reveal that he has just been promoted and is now Apple’s Chief Design Officer. It is therefore an especially exciting time for him.
Inside the fabled design studio (cloths over the long tables hiding the exciting new prototypes from prying eyes like mine) Jony has two people with him. They too have been promoted as part of Ive’s new role.
One is Richard Howarth, English as Vimto. “Richard is going to be our new head of Industrial Design,” says Jony. “And this is Alan Dye, the new head of User Interface.” Dye is a tall, amiable American.
It’s no surprise that there have been all kinds of reactions to this news — many negative.
Some are speculating that this is the first step towards Ive leaving Apple.
It’s not impossible this might be the case, but I’m far from convinced. In truth, this feels more like Ive taking on a Steve Jobs-esque role whereby he literally oversees everything design related inside Apple.
Sure, more of the dirty work will now be done by others, but he’ll still be fully involved bringing his taste, perspective, and design expertise.
This reduction in management responsibility may well mean he has more time to spend in England (which is how his references to having more travel time are being interpreted), but I don’t think that means he’s ready to hang up his boots and retire just yet.
It’s always tempting to look for hidden meaning in anything and everything Apple does, but sometimes the best way to understand Apple is to actually take what they say at face value.
And that’s what I think should be done here.
This change seals Ive’s role as the design guru overseeing everything at Apple, made possible by promoting others to take on some of his management workload.
Nothing more, nothing less.