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Jony Ive, designer of the iPhone, is leaving Apple

Daniel Howley
Technology Editor

Apple’s (AAPL) Chief Design Officer Jony Ive is stepping down from the tech giant.

“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.

Ive will be striking out on his own to create his own design firm called FromLove. He isn’t leaving Apple’s orbit entirely, though. In an interview with the Financial Times, Ive said that Apple will be FromLove’s first client.

“After nearly 30 years and countless projects, I am most proud of the lasting work we have done to create a design team, process and culture at Apple that is without peer,” Ive said.

Apple CEO Tim Cook (L) and Apple chief design officer Jony Ive (R) look at the new Mac Pro during the 2019 Apple Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) at the San Jose Convention Center on June 03, 2019 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Ive is responsible for crafting the first iMac in 1998, which, with its clear body and all-in-one design, helped put Apple on the map as a design powerhouse. From there, Ive went on to sculpt the iPod, which helped revolutionize portable music at a time when CD players were still the go-to device for listening to music.

But Ive's most influential contribution to the company was by far the original iPhone, which launched in 2007. The device has gone on to be Apple's most important product and helped shape the smartphone industry as we know it.

Apple chief executive Steve Jobs unveils the first iPhone, which was designed by Jony Ive. (Image: Tony Avelar/AFP/Getty Images)

Ive typically shies away from the public eye, even during Apple launch events where he generally is only heard via a voiceover in videos revealing new products. He made a brief appearance at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in June to show off the company's new Mac Pro desktop.

Ive’s announcement comes at a transformative time for Apple. The company, which thrived thanks to the sale of the iPhone, is now turning toward services as global smartphone sales stagnate.

In March, the company announced its Apple TV+ streaming service, which serves as a competitor to the likes of Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu. The tech giant also announced a new News+ services, as well as an upcoming gaming service called Apple Arcade.

The last new piece of hardware Apple released was the AirPods, which have become a runaway success for the company. Prior to that Apple launched its Apple Watch.

Ive will be replaced by vice president of Industrial Design, Evans Hankey, and vice president of Human Interface Design, Alan Dye, who the company said will report to Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams.

“Both Dye and Hankey have played key leadership roles on Apple’s design team for many years. Williams has led the development of Apple Watch since its inception and will spend more of his time working with the design team in their studio,” the company said in a statement.

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Email Daniel Howley at dhowley@yahoofinance.com; follow him on Twitter at @DanielHowley.

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