Jonathan Ive to lead both hardware
and software design at Apple


Jonathan Ive to integrate hardware and software design at Apple

News: Apple is to bring its hardware and software design teams closer together as part of a major shake-up of its management team. The move follows claims that the company is "a little bit behind" in integrating industrial and digital design.

Jonathan Ive

In a statement issued last night, Apple announced "executive management changes that will encourage even more collaboration between the Company’s world-class hardware, software and services teams."

Jonathan Ive (above) will head up a new human interface (HI) department while maintaining his role in charge of industrial design.

Apple also announced the departure of Scott Forstall, the senior vice president of iOS software and a strong proponent of the controversial "skeuomorphic" approach to software design, which involves creating applications that mimic real-world objects such as leather-effect diaries and timber-style bookshelves.

It is understood that Forstall and Ive, senior vice president of industrial design, disagreed strongly about this approach. In an interview with the Telegraph earlier this year, Ive winced when asked about the fake-leather stitching on Apple's Calendar application.

"My focus is very much working with the other teams on the product ideas and then developing the hardware and so that's our focus and that's our responsibility," Ive told the interviewer. "In terms of those elements you're talking about, I'm not really connected to that."

The contrast between the minimalist approach to Apple's hardware and its skeuomorphic software has led to ridicule within the design world. In an interview with Dezeen editor-in-chief Marcus Fairs last month, San Fransisco designer Yves Behar said: "Obviously they didn’t go there with the hardware so why did they go there with the software? It’s a really good question."

Behar added that bringing hardware and software design teams together represented "a whole new blue ocean for us as designers." "Apple actually is a little bit behind in that area," he said. "Apple is designing their product and their software separately.”

Ive's industrial design team was named best design studio of the past 50 years by D&AD in September. Apple's statement said: "Jony Ive will provide leadership and direction for Human Interface (HI) across the company in addition to his role as the leader of Industrial Design. His incredible design aesthetic has been the driving force behind the look and feel of Apple’s products for more than a decade".

Ive came to prominence with the launch of the revolutionary first iMac in 1998, which featured a coloured, translucent case. Since then his design aesthetic has evolved into a purer, more minimal style that appears to be influenced by the work of German designer Dieter Rams.

Forstall, who was held responsible for the bungled launch of Apple Maps on the new iPhone 5, is to serve as adviser to CEO Tim Cook in the interim before leaving next year. Other changes announced by Apple will see senior vice president of internet software and services Eddy Cue - whose team is already responsible for the iTunes Store, the App Store, the iBookstore and iCloud -  take on the additional responsibility of Siri and Maps.

Senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi will lead development of both the iOS and OS X operating platforms, previously run by separate teams, and Bob Mansfield will lead a new department combining all the company's teams working on wireless technologies.  Head of retail John Browett is also leaving Apple.

See all our stories about Apple »

Top image: the iPad mini, launched last week

  • Thank goodness!

  • kings

    What would be amazing is if they hired Dieter Rams and made Jonathan Ive his secretary.

    • droy

      So true. I was just wondering what else he’ll copy from Braun and Dieter Rams.

  • Mark

    Very good news! The nasty skeuomorphism fetish created by Mr Forstall was really getting to obnoxious levels. All the fake leathers, fabrics and metals were a real turnoff compared to the tight works of Ive’s team. Apple shouldn’t be afraid to throw it in the trash (non-recycle that is) as soon as possible!

  • modern_1

    Long overdue! Now everything visual on the inside will be as sophisticated as the product design on the outside. Multiple personality disorders can apparently be cured.

  • HollandJim

    About time. While I love iOS, it’s been looking a bit odd, a bit long-in-the-tooth for a while now. Can’t wait for the next big update!

  • marwan karim

    Skeuomorphism is good only when it helps users connect with their gadgets like they do physically, like a turning page animation. It helps rendering the overall experience as more… human. It gets nasty when it tries to imitate leather, or fake stitches.

    Found this interesting article:

  • old follower

    Hey Dezeen, you know that you’ll lose lots of your old followers if you start acting like any other Apple fanboy. This news is irrelevant to the Dezeen experience. it might be because of your deal with Apple, you might like the new success but be aware that, as with Apple, this might already be the start of the end. So take care and be sure what you want to be!

  • Laws of cool

    This is most important: must not look straight at camera.

  • Michael

    Why did Head of retail John Browett go? That’s the real big question in this article. I thought that the Apple store experience around the world was a sale success. Did I miss something?