Apple designer Jony Ive 'dispirited' with leadership before leaving to start own firm says report

Apple CEO Tim Cook has hit back at reports of tensions leading up to the departure of the company’s chief design officer, Jony Ive.

After Ive announced his decision to leave last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that the move was a long time coming, due in large part to the designer’s frustration with Apple’s leadership and agenda under Cook – who according to one source ‘showed little interest in the product development process.’

Cook, however, has now dismissed the story as ‘absurd’ and says the design team’s relationship is ‘stronger than ever.’

In an email to NBC News reporter Dylan Byers, Cook said the conclusions ‘just don’t match with the reality.’

Ahead of the blockbuster announcement that Apple's iconic designer Jony Ive (left) would be leaving his post at Apple, a new round of reports reveals Ive was increasingly absent. But Tim Cook (right) says reports of tensions are 'absurd'

Ahead of the blockbuster announcement that Apple’s iconic designer Jony Ive (left) would be leaving his post at Apple, a new round of reports reveals Ive was increasingly absent. But Tim Cook (right) says reports of tensions are ‘absurd’ 


 Jony Ive is a long-time Apple designer who is responsible for pioneering many of the company’s most iconic products.

Sir Jony has followed the company’s rise since 1996 and was eventually put in charge of designing the company’s software in 2012.

Among the most pivotal designs are the 1998 iMac, equipped with colourful side panels, as well as the company’s sleek iPad.

Sir Jony has left his post after nearly 30 years to start his own design firm ‘LoveFrom.’

Wearable technology is of particular interest according to Sir Jony, though the heavyweight has yet to fully detail specific projects.

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According to WSJ, prior to Ive’s announcement last week that he would be vacating his nearly 30-year post as the chief of Apple’s product design, the designer had increasingly distanced himself from the company, often choosing to work from home instead of in Apple’s offices. 

The report suggest that Ive was ‘disprited’ with the leadership and agenda of Apple under current CEO Tim Cook who according to one source ‘showed little interest in the product development process.’

A disconnect between Cook and Ive stands in stark contrast to a relationship forged between the designer and the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs who often played a hands-on role in crafting the company’s newest products. 

Ive’s reported shift in his involvement with the company followed the release of Apple’s Watch, which after being released in 2015, only sold 10 million units — about a quarter of the forecasted amount. 

He was promoted as Chief Design Officer shortly after the release. 

Internally, Ive shared disagreements with other members of Apple’s leadership on how to market the device, arguing that the product should be sold as a fashion accessory and not a companion to the iPhone.

Following the lackluster sale, Bloomberg reports that Ive only showed up to Apple’s offices two to three days a week and many times meetings were moved from Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino nearer to his home in San Francisco. 

Compounding disinterest in his role as head Apple design officer, the Wall Street Journal reports that Ive became frustrated with the fact that many of the company’s directors came from backgrounds that had increasingly little to do with the company.


Apple CEO Tim Cook hit back at recent reports of tensions between himself and designer Jony Ive in an email to NBC News. 

In the email, shared on Twitter by reporter Dylan Byers, Cook said:

‘Hi Dylan,

‘Hope you are well.

‘The story is absurd. A lot of the reporting, and certainly the conclusions just don’t match with reality. At a base level, it shows a lack of understanding about how the design team works and how Apple works. It distorts relationships, decisions and events to the point that we just don’t recognize the company it claims to describe.

‘The design team is phenomenally talented. As Jony has said, they’re stronger than ever, and I have complete confidence that they will thrive under Jeff, Evans and Alan’s leadership. We know the truth ad we know the incredible things they’re capable of doing. The projects they’re working on will blow you away.

Best, Tim’

Ive will continue to play a role at Apple from his new role as operating an independent design firm called ‘LoveFrom.’ 

Apple will be the firm’s first client where he will continue to work on projects more selectively. 

As reported by Bloomberg, Apple’s next big product may be a pair of augmented reality glasses. 

Apple’s team is reportedly already in the beginning stages of preparing a new product, talking to suppliers and mulling methods of production.

Upon announcing his departure from Apple, Ive told the Financial Times that wearable technology was among the most personally engaging aspects for the industry veteran.

Though Ive had grown distant from Apple’s day-to-day operations, his departure is still being regarded as monumental shift for the company.

Ive has followed Apple’s rise since joining the design team in 1996 where he made many contributions that helped set it apart from the competition. 

Among the most pivotal products designed by Ive are the 1998 iMac, equipped with colorful side panels, as well as the company’s sleek iPad.

Designers Evans Hankey, vice president of Industrial Design, and Alan Dye, vice president of Human Interface Design, will jointly replace Sir Jony, according to Apple. 



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