Sir Jony Ive and Apple have parted ways…again. This time it looks to be more official, as Apple and Ive’s design firm, LoveFrom, have decided not to renew their contract. If all this sounds confusing and silly, here’s some background.
Ive used to be Steve Jobs’s buddy back in the late 90s and served as chief design officer for most of Apple’s product line. Ive then left Apple in 2019, but only a little bit. At the time of his departure, the rumor mill suggested that Ive was frustrated with Apple and Tim Cook saying that Apple was becoming more of an operations company than a design company.
Ive formed his own design company, the aforementioned LoveFrom, and signed a contract for Apple to be LoveFrom’s chief client. LoveFrom (read: Ive) was free to work with other clients as long as Apple didn’t deem them to be in competition with Apple, neatly answering the question of why no one else has put a charging port on the bottom of a mouse.
What have you done for me lately?
Since then, LoveFrom consulted with Apple on the design of the 24-inch iMac, and other Apple products including the mythical Apple Car project. Now, both companies have decided to part ways. On Apple’s part, evidence suggests that the company may have been losing designers to Ive’s company, and it may have questioned the size of the contract signed (rumored to be in the $100 million range.) Meanwhile on LoveFrom’s side, Ive may have been chomping at the bit to expand his client list without having to check in with Cook first.
Ive and Jobs were seemingly cut from the same cloth and there was some concern when Ive left that Apple might be shedding its design aesthetic. There was some hope that LoveFrom might keep the ship on course. We’ll have to see where Apple takes its design language in the future, but there’s a fairly high amount of confidence that Apple will be just fine. Meanwhile, we will certainly bid a fond farewell to Mr. Jony “Al-you-mini-yum” Ive.