The news may seem trivial: Apple announced that the design manager Jony Ive, responsible for the distinctive aspect of products like iMac and iPhone, leaves the company after nearly thirty years to create their own design studio, of which Apple will be a customer. .
But the outcome of Ive has a symbolic significance for the company beyond its role – no doubt vital – in the perception of Apple's products. Too many, It is a clear sign of the new times the company lives, increasingly away from hardware.
With a global mobile phone market saturated (iPhone sales are stagnant or falling for months) and high-quality competition in computers and other devices from Asia, Apple has decided to focus its future efforts on services. For the most popular hardware manufacturer in the world, this is a big change and the production of Ive, which It was almost three decades in the company and, after Steve Jobs's death in 2011, had gone to represent the creative "spirit" of Apple, assumes a perfect illustration of the new times.
Ive came to Apple in 1992 when the company went through its worst moments after Jobs resigned due to disagreements with the direction the company had taken and he started directing the design department four years later in 1996. Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, the two men smashing Friendship and Jobs gave Ive a great deal of power, placed him at the highest levels in the company and gave him almost total freedom to shape and anchor the ideas he had.
From the collaboration between both came in 1998, iMac, the first desktop computer in the new series to survive to this day. In a time of heavy boxes and beige I have dreamed of a computer with curved lines and a transparent box that was soon associated with a revolutionary element: color.
A few years later, in 2001, iPod was born, the portable music player crucially contributing to changing the pattern of musical consumption and the revolution that this industry has suffered ever since. There, design also weighed as much as technology, because the usability of the device was something that has never been seen before: the front was white and reversed metallic. An arrangement in the form of a wheel allowed to control all functions and in the process the unit made something completely unique.
But the product fruit of both senses, which would undoubtedly have a greater impact on Apple and the technology sector in general, was the iPhone, 2007, whose successful design, thought by Ive, became a norm in the industry and to define the shape of current phones.
"Jony is a single figure in the design world and his role in Apple's rebirth cannot be underestimated, from the innovative iMac 1998 to the iPhone and Apple Park's unparalleled ambition (the new circular building hosting the company's headquarters)," announced Tim Cook, CEO of company, when he announced his departure.
The vision of Jobs and Creativity in Ive were the cornerstones of the Apple Gold Age, mainly focused on hardware, and which in August last year took it as the first US listed company. . in excess of trillion dollars in market capitalization.
That milestone was, however, a late mark of the company's best year, as you then began to forget about some clouds on the horizon of the changing technological landscape that contained Apple's overwhelming dominance if it still focused almost exclusively on hardware.
In January and April of this year, Apple presented profit cuts compared to the previous year, which led to the fall in sales of the iPhone (which continues to represent more than half of its total revenue). fundamental role.
Conscious of the difficulty of continuing to compete for greater market share in the hardware industry, the company in Cupertino (California, United States) has invested heavily in leveraging the gigantic and, in many cases, very faithful user base already counted for selling them services. So in March, instead of taking out a new iPad or a new MacBook, Apple held an event for the press where all the news was services: Apple TV +, Apple News + and Apple Arcade.
These changes reduced the importance of Ive within the company. An industrial designer who focused entirely on physical products, started creativity looking for new directions and this, together with personal problems, ended up in turn.
TECHNICAL DEVELOPMENT *
* With agencies