New book explains why Jony Ive quit Apple

Apple's design philosophy has changed significantly since Ive's departure

Tim Cook

Since Jony Ive’s departure from Apple, several of the tech giant’s products have changed drastically.

There’s the very capable/chunky, but port-filled MacBook Pro (2021), the death of the Butterfly keyboard and most recently, the impressive Mac Studio and slightly less impressive Studio Display. These new products and revisions to existing devices probably wouldn’t have happened if the tech giant’s long-serving chief designer was still around, given Ive’s design-forward focus and fondness for thin devices.

Since Ive left Apple in 2019, it’s been unclear why he opted to move on after almost three decades of working at the company and shaping its design legacy. Now, a New York Times article focused on an excerpt from Tipp Mickle’s upcoming book, After Steve: How Apple Became a Trillion Dollar Company and Lost Its Soul, sheds light on Ive’s decision to leave.

According to the book, Ive left Apple following years of frustration as the company shifted from a focus on design to one that’s more utilitarian. Mickle’s book delves into Ive’s relationship with Apple’s former CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs during the development of the iMac. Following Job’s death, the book describes how Ive’s role at the company shifted and outlines how his relationship with Tim Cook, Apple’s current CEO, wasn’t as close.

As the Apple Watch shifted from focusing on fashion to fitness, Ive spoke to Cook about stepping back from the business side of Apple. The executive was reportedly frustrated with managing hundreds of staff instead of a smaller design team. This resulted in Cook giving Ive the chief design officer position and Ive switching to reviewing product progress on a weekly cadence instead of daily.

Mickle’s book also delves into Ive being late for meetings and how he became slow to approve designs. In an amusing twist, Ive invited his design team to watch the movie ‘Yesterday’ as a “two-hour exploration of the eternal conflict between art and commerce.”

Ive received an exit package valued at more than $100 million, according to Mickle.

After Steve: How Apple Became a Trillion Dollar Company and Lost Its Soul releases on May 3rd.

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