Apple’s product design team reportedly focused more on cost in recent years

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Apple’s efforts to replace its former design chief Jony Ive have been hampered by increased turnover within the company’s product design team in recent years, according to Bloombergis Mark Gurman. The report claims that Apple has lost the majority of senior designers who worked under Ive, many of whom jumped ship for his new design company LoveFrom, which he started after leaving Apple in 2019.

At least 15 senior Apple designers have left the company since I moved to a part-time role in 2015, when turnover was rare between 2000 and 2015, according to the report. Only a “small handful” of senior designers from the Ive era would remain.

Apple last month confirmed that its vice president of industrial design, Evans Hankey, plans to leave the company next year, although the report claims she currently has no plans to join LoveFrom. Hankey has been Apple’s de facto design chief since Ive’s departure, reporting to Apple’s chief operating officer, Jeff Williams.

Even before I left, the report claims that Apple’s operations department had begun to gain more influence over the design team, resulting in an “increased focus on cost” rather than “only on the appearance and functionality”.

“The strength of the team was that we were a core group bound together by the incredible environment that existed and the things that we could do in a way that was quite unconventional for a large company,” said a longtime Apple designer. Bloomberg, on condition of anonymity. “It was a special team. It wasn’t easy after Steve died — things started to get a lot more complicated. There were more outside pressures and distractions.”

The report then examines potential successors to lead Apple’s design team, ranging from veteran industrial designer Richard Howarth to software design chief Alan Dye to an outside hire. Apple said Hankey plans to stay on during the transition.

“Apple’s design team brings together expert creatives from around the world and from many disciplines to dream up products that are unmistakably Apple,” an Apple spokesperson said last month, in response to Hankey’s planned departure. . “The senior design team has strong leaders with decades of experience. Evans plans to stay on as we navigate the transition, and we want to thank her for her leadership and contributions.”

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