On this basis, Jobs paid a visit to Apple's design studio, where Ive was recently led. "He came over to the studio, I think, basically, to burn me," I remembered in "Becoming Steve Jobs," a biography from the late Apple CEO. Ive even had a letter of notice ready in his pocket.
Instead, Jobs immediately saw the potential of Ive's work. The two formed a close friendship and design partnership that took Apple ( AAPL ) from the bankruptcy of the bank in the 1990s and made it the first trillion day business in history . Together, they pushed a remarkable series of hit hardware products out of the candy-colored iMacs and continued with the iPod, iPad, and Apple's headphone maker, the iPhone.
Now the era is over. Apple announced Thursday that Ive left Apple for almost 30 years with the company. Both parties seemed to try to dampen the battle by emphasizing that Ive would start its own design company with Apple as one of its primary customers. But the message was clear.
"You're either at Apple or you're not," wrote John Gruber, a prominent Apple blogger, in a post on Thursday. "Ive been out."
Ives Departure was somehow both long-standing rumors and still a shock to Apple observers . Dan Ives (no connection apparently), an analyst who tracks Apple for Wedbush, called the announcement a "surprise" to Wall Street in an investor note Thursday, as evidenced by the company losing billions in market value overnight. "Ive left a hole in the company and is clearly irreplaceable," he said.
It was hard enough to see Apple without Jobs after the death of the visionary founder in 2011, but the continued presence of design guru Jobs is regarded as his "spiritual partner" helped dampen some of the concerns of the company's future. Now the future can again be in doubt.
Not only did Apple sell hardware, it sold tastes. It didn't have to be first for a product category – and it certainly didn't have to be the cheapest or the easiest to repair. It was only necessary to convince customers that they bought the best and most stylish hardware products on the market. With Ives departure and Jobs & # 39; Apple's two key tastemakers no longer pass on Apple.
"He was the soul of Apple's industrial design," Tim Bajarin, an Longtime analyst, told CNN Business. And industrial design has long been the soul of Apple itself.
But Ive's retirement coincides with a very public push from Apple to convince investors to focus on the potential of services such as Apple Music and Apple Pay at a time when the central iPhone business is declining. As a result, the next few years for Apple can be defined more by the success or failure of new credit cards and original TV shows than by the hardware products that Ive helped create.
The last major new hardware release from Ive and his team was Apple Watch, which debuted almost five years ago. According to several reports, Ive was not so committed to it and came to the office less.
In 2015, Ives was promoted to chief design officer and took a step back from the day-to-day management duties while working on the construction of Apple's massive new spacecraft campus. He took back some of these tasks in 2017, although it clearly turned out to be short-lived.
Ive started taking countless design projects outside his work at Apple, from a Christmas tree to a hotel lobby in London to an all-diamond ring that sold at $ 256,000, with the proceeds to charity. Meanwhile, he appeared at Apple's events as a disembodied voice that tells videos about the materials that went into the company's products.
Jobs / Ive era at Apple has certainly been for years. Thursday's announcement only formalizes it.
Apple said Thursday that the design team leaders will now report to Jeff Williams, COO, sometimes described as Tim Cook's Tim Cook. Williams led the development of Apple Watch and, according to Apple, "will spend more of his time working on the design team in their study."
This combination of operational and design responsibilities could well place Williams to be the most likely candidate for a day replacing Cook as the next CEO of Apple.
"I hope we get Tim Cook as CEO of Apple in the coming years," says Tom Forte, an analyst with D.A. Davidson, told CNN Business. But he said this last move suggests that Williams is "being smeared to replace Tim in the future."