Jony Ives last year at Apple: relationship with Tim Cook, Apple Watch vision and upcoming burnout

“What would happen to Apple now that Steve Jobs is dead?” That was the billion-dollar question posed by Wall Street, Apple fans and company employees in 2011.

More than a decade after Apple’s co-founder died, the Cupertino company is doing better than ever, but a new book by New York Times Tripp Mickle called After Steve tells of how Apple became a trillion-dollar company and lost its soul. One of the reasons was that Jony Ive left the company.

In an article published in the newspaper today, Mickle adapts part of his book and tells about Jony Ives’ last year in the company.

It was 2014, and Apple’s future seemed more than ever to depend on Mr. Ive. His love of clean, simple lines had already redrawn the world through such popular products as the iMac, iPod and iPhone. Now he was sitting at a meeting table with Tim Cook, the company’s CEO (…). They both wanted another hit, but Mr. Ive pushed for a product unveiling that was more daring than any other in the history of the theater company.

Jony Ive envisioned the future of the Apple Watch as a luxury product. Not only did he want to build a $ 25 million lavish white tent to promote the first Watch, but he “considered a rave from Vogue more important than any technical reviewer’s opinion.” According to Mickle, “the tent was crucial in making the event as glamorous as a high-end fashion show.”

In the end, Apple CEO Tim Cook accepted Ive’s idea, though the designer would later rework it as a “pyrrhic victory.”

He wanted to tell colleagues that the debate over the event and the bigger battle over the watch’s marketing were among the first moments when he felt unsupported at Apple.

Over time, the Apple Watch, as we all know, went from a fashion product to a fitness product.

Postjobs: Jony Ives and Tim Cook’s different visions

After Steve Jobs died, Tim Cook was wary of losing Jony Ive. Three years later, in 2014, “former business executives estimated that an Ive departure would erase more than $ 50 billion from Apple’s market value, or as much as 10 percent,” which is why Cook decided to go with Ive’s tent idea. .

In another part of the article, Tripp Mickle recounts how Jony Ive became design manager made him “overwhelmed by leading a staff that stretched to hundreds, multiples of the 20-person design team he ran for years”:

In the midst of these changes, Mr. Jony Ive turned to Mr. Cook and told him he was tired and wanted to resign from the company. Without Mr Jobs, he would have taken on much of the responsibility for product design and marketing. People close to Mr. Ive said he had found it draining to fight with his colleagues for promotion and had been overwhelmed by leading a staff that stretched into hundreds, multiples of the 20-person design team he ran for years.

Mr. Cook feared that Mr. Jony Ive’s departure would prompt investors to sell shares. To avoid that, he and Mr. Ive agreed that the designer should give up the day-to-day management responsibilities and primarily work on new products. He wanted to work part time. The firm earned him the title of chief design officer and promoted two of his lieutenants. Only a few people at Apple knew the truth: Mr. Ive been frustrated and burnt out.

The story goes beyond that episode and talks about the iPhone’s tenth anniversary – Jony Ive’s latest product unveiling with Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR – and how a screening of the film Yesterday inspired him.

“Art needs the right space and support to grow,” he said, according to those present that evening. “When you’re really big, it’s especially important.”

You can read the entire New York Times article here about Jony Ive’s departure. A colleague of Mickle also reviewed his book, which you can read here.

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