End of an Era: Apple Design Chief Jony Ive Is Out

Jony Ive, the designer behind Apple’s most iconic products, including the iMac and iPhone, is leaving his post as Chief Design Officer.

Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

(Image credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The company announced Ive’s departure in a press release on Thursday (June 27), and it sounds amicable. Ive is launching his own firm, LoveFrom, with Apple industrial designer and long-time collaborator Marc Newsom, according to the Financial Times.

One of the firm’s first clients? Apple.

"While I will not be an employee, I will still be very involved — I hope for many, many years to come," Ive told the FT. "This just seems like a natural and gentle time to make this change."

Ive will transition out of Apple toward the end of the year, with his new firm launching in 2020.

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Jony Ive's greatest hits

Ive, who joined Apple in 1996, worked side-by-side with Steve Jobs, Apple's late CEO, to design some of the most significant products in consumer technology history. 

iMac. iPod. iPhone. Apple Watch. Even the look of the Apple Store is the work of Ive, as is Apple Park, Apple's new headquarters in Cupertino. Rumors swirled for years that Ive, a car enthusiast, was designing an electric vehicle at Apple.

Those who don't know Ive's role in conceiving the devices they use daily might recognize his voice. Ive never took the stage at Apple events, but voiced the product videos Apple shows at its events to highlight the design and engineering. He last narrated a video showcasing the new Mac Pro and XDR Display announced at the Worldwide Developers Conference earlier this month, but that video was left out of the keynote. Ive's work was highlighted in the $300 Designed by Apple in California coffee table book that Apple released in 2016.

Ive said he will continue to work on Apple products that have been in the works for years, as well as new projects.

“Jony is a singular figure in the design world and his role in Apple’s revival cannot be overstated, from 1998’s groundbreaking iMac to the iPhone and the unprecedented ambition of Apple Park, where recently he has been putting so much of his energy and care,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a statement about Ive’s next steps. “Apple will continue to benefit from Jony’s talents by working directly with him on exclusive projects, and through the ongoing work of the brilliant and passionate design team he has built. After so many years working closely together, I’m happy that our relationship continues to evolve and I look forward to working with Jony long into the future.”

Apple designers Evans Hankey and Alan Dye, who head up industrial and human interface design, respectively, will now report to Apple COO Jeff Williams instead of Ive.

Apple stock was down 1% after the news broke about Ive’s departure, according to CNBC.

Caitlin is a Senior editor for Gizmodo. She has also worked on Tom's Guide, Macworld, PCWorld and the Las Vegas Review-Journal. When she's not testing out the latest devices, you can find her running around the streets of Los Angeles, putting in morning miles or searching for the best tacos.