Apple VP out after friction with Jony Ive

The design shakeup at Apple will result in Christie soon leaving the company, with all software designers now working directly under Ive with the rest of his industrial design team instead of within Federighi’s engineering group. Sources say that Christie’s upcoming departure is significant and stems from a falling out with Ive.

Greg Christie is an important figure at Apple and will certainly be a loss for the company, but it makes a lot of sense for all design teams to report to Jony Ive. The news would be much worse if it was Ive leaving.

  • Andrew F

    I feel like I should be reading the obvious between the lines….

    Whether this is good or bad in the long run there is no question that yet another “important figure at Apple pushed out by Jony Ive” is bad publicity for Jony. But the fact is is that Jony has enormous operational power at Apple, maybe more than anyone, so the proper headline here by Mark Gurman should be “Jony Ive fires Greg Christie”.

    • rogifan

      Apparently several members of the executive team, including Phil Schiller, Eddy Cue and Bob Mansfield had issues with Scott Forstall. In fact I believe it was Fortune or Businessweek that reported that Bob Mansfield wouldn’t meet with Forstall unless Cook was present. The only other executive that allegedly left because of Ive was Jon Rubinstein and I think we’d all agree that Bob Mansfield proved more than capable of filling that role.

      • Andrew F

        I agree, I’m just wondering about perception… variations on his angle are gonna exist forever (or at least until Apple proves it can ship a groundbreaking new product with Jony at the til — whichever comes first).

        • question — how often are groundbreaking new products released into the marketplace? how many companies do it more than once? lets use Samsung, for example — what have they released?

          • Andrew F

            One of the criteria to judge Apple, and perhaps the most important for their long term prospects, is their ability to ship a breakthrough product that people actually want to buy.

            They’ve proven they can iterate wonderfully without you-know-who. They’re operationally excellent, but do they still have the vision? Nobody knows yet. It appears we won’t have to wait much longer to find out.

          • Moeskido

            Once again, holding Apple to standards that no other consumer tech company is required to meet.

            Apple has nothing to prove to people who have neither patience nor a grasp of context.

          • Andrew F

            Of course I, and anyone else that cares about Apple, holds them to a different standard. Apple has a lot to prove unfortunately. If their next big product category is a flop, you can be sure heads will roll at the highest levels.

          • Moeskido

            “Apple has a lot to prove…”

            Only to writers of mediocre tech blogs and stock analysts. Not to the consumers who are actually buying the products.

          • Andrew F

            They’ve gotta prove it to themselves too. I don’t understand why you people are so defensive, I’m on your side. I love Apple, but some things are just true: when they feel the time is right, they’ve gotta prove they can create a transformative product without Steve Jobs at the helm.

          • Moeskido

            Don’t think I was being defensive; I just disagreed with the “common wisdom” you were repeating.

            And you finally said something I can agree with. The only people Apple has anything to prove to is themselves.

          • Andrew F

            Don’t be silly

  • rogifan

    I always thought it was odd that Ive had responsibility for Human Interface but the team didn’t actually report to him. At least now he owns it and the buck stop with him, and if it turns out to be a mistake he has to deal with the consequences.

  • imthedude

    I’d rather Ive than Christie, so at least the right one left.

    What I wonder is who was the main designer behind iOS 7, Ive or Christie. No doubting what Christie did for iOS in it’s first revolutions, but sometimes you need new blood.

    • i felt iOS continued to advance from one version to the next. i never really understood the argument that it was stale…it’s a mobile OS on my phone. it lets me do things, and added new things each version. why should i care that its using the same colors its been using for several years? what makes “new” increase actual value?

      • imthedude

        The design was stale. The design of Mac OS is stale too. People don’t want to keep looking at the same thing for years on end. Just like you don’t have your mom’s harvest gold fridge from 1980 in your house. (or at least that’s my case)

        I think iOS 7 was a nice departure from the old look. Apple is a company known for having a great eye for design. It could not go on much longer with the old look. Things become stale whether you realize it or not.

        Functionality should triumph design, but it doesn’t mean design should be ignored.

  • pxlated

    Not sure this is good – Ive is proven in industrial design but interface design is a totally different thing. Not sold that he can be a master of the universe in all things design.

    • Nick

      Im sure its better to have both things right from the get go. But…. industrial/physical designs are harder to fix and are more permanent compared to UI faux-pas. (for obvious reasons)

  • John V.

    “The news would be much worse if it was Ive leaving.”

    I’m not so certain anymore.

  • Ive Gone Mad

    This whole ios7 change of direction has gone too far. That misdirection also showed in the iPhone 5c hardware flop. Usability problems with ios7 have been documented all over, but no amelioration is in sight. Tired of reading (beautiful?) thin white type on light backgrounds, missing photo/video shoot ops due to unintuitive design, … If Christie was behind all of those, then his firing was good. Otherwise, the disagreements and voices of reason are gone, and things will likely get worse before they get worse. What BS that people don’t need multiple intuitive cues because “we” have been using iOS for 7 years and thus don’t need “training wheels” anymore. Say that now to the 2-year olds who pick up the iPhone for the first time. They need those training wheels as much as “we” did back then. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

    • Herding_sheep

      White type on white backgrounds? Ummm, what iOS are you talking about? Because last time I checked in iOS 7, type is black aside from the colored control buttons. If anything, the legibility contrast is vastly improved in 7 by having the lighter backgrounds. The contrast between type and background to me is one of the biggest improvements in 7.

      I think some of you really have distorted memories of iOS 6 already. iOS 6 did not have background contrast that made typography stand out more. 7 does. For crying out loud, what’s more legible than sharp black type on a white/light grey background? Letterpressed darkish white type on dark blue background with a gloss overlay on top? Give me a break.

      • Moeskido

        And linen texture. You forgot the linen.

    • That misdirection also showed in the iPhone 5c hardware flop.

      you have a misunderstanding — the 5c is anything but a flop. it’s the #2 and #3 selling handset (following the 5s) at several of the national carriers.

      not a flop.

      i actually find the camera controls in iOS 7 to be better than 6, despite not loving the new aesthetic.

      Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

      oh lawd.

  • Moeskido

    To what degree is this conversation about executives that few of us have ever met or worked with, but have drawn conclusions about based on supposition of what goes on behind closed doors?