Design legend Jony Ive and Apple no longer work together
Jony Ive and Apple will no longer work together. Ive is said to have played an important role in the development of Apple's headset.
Ive has terminated his employment with Apple in June 2019, having previously worked for the tech company for around 30 years. Ive has been instrumental in Apple's signature design of many products, which has been a key component of the company's gigantic success story over the past 15 years.
Ive doesn't want Apple to tell him what to do anymore
However, the collaboration between Ive and Apple did not end in 2019. Ive started his own design agency, Love From, and intended to continue serving Apple as a client for many years to come.
The contract volume is said to have been in the range of more than 100 million dollars. As the most important client, Apple had a say in which assignments Ive was allowed to accept. If Apple considered an Ive client to be competition, the company could veto it.
According to the New York Times, the collaboration between Apple and Ive's new firm is now ending. Apple decision-makers reportedly questioned the large payments to Love From and were also frustrated that design talent was leaving Apple to join Ive.
Conversely, Ive wanted to be able to accept jobs without first getting Apple's approval. Jeff Williams, Apple's COO, is expected to lead the design teams at Apple effective immediately.
Ive's role with Apple's AR headset
The end of the Ive era at Apple is also interesting with regard to Apple's potential new headset. The star designer is said to have had a major influence on product development over the years.
Technical features stem from the headset's design: for example, Ive is said to have been the one who convinced Apple's top management to opt for a standalone device rather than a streaming solution. Ive is also said to have advised on the placement of the battery, the cameras and the ergonomics of the headset.
Ive's biggest influence dates even earlier in the project's development: he reportedly persuaded Apple to back away from a VR-only headset because he thought the devices were locally isolating and unfashionable, and also didn't see much benefit in them. Ive assumed that people would not want to wear VR headsets for an extended period of time.
This steered Apple's development toward a mixed reality headset with integrated cameras for AR capabilities, which would offer more use cases than a VR-only headset. Apple's AR team reportedly even experimented with a live video image of the wearer's eyes on the headset to enable eye contact with people around them, allaying Ive's concerns about social isolation in VR.