Tim Cook made some very significant changes at Apple today at the highest management levels. The official announcement is here.
In my view, the departure of Scott Forstall was, in some respects, inevitable. He believed, according to many accounts, that he was the true successor to Steve Jobs. And maybe he should have been.
But the board (presumably taking into account the views of the dying Steve Jobs) selected Tim Cook for the CEO position. Then came the maps fiasco, which was directly within Forstall’s area of responsibility.
One other point: Apple was very shrewd to use a two day shut-down of the stock market to make this announcement.
Q: What are your goals when setting out to build a new product?
A: Our goals are very simple – to design and make better products. If we can’t make something that is better, we won’t do it.
Q: Why has Apple’s competition struggled to do that?
A: That’s quite unusual, most of our competitors are interesting [sic] in doing something different, or want to appear new – I think those are completely the wrong goals. A product has to be genuinely better. This requires real discipline, and that’s what drives us – a sincere, genuine appetite to do something that is better. Committees just don’t work, and it’s not about price, schedule or a bizarre marketing goal to appear different – they are corporate goals with scant regard for people who use the product.
— Sir Jonathan Ive, Senior Vice President, Industrial Design at Apple, in an interview at the London Evening Standard.
The Daily Mail has an interesting profile of Jonathan Ive, Apple’s genius product designer.
Ive could be defined by his devotion to detail. When Apple boss Steve Jobs asked him in the late Nineties to create colourful, cheap cathode-ray-tube computers – what would become the first iMac – Ive spent hours in a sweet factory to get inspiration for the colours that would tell the world this wasn’t just a machine for work: it was for fun, too.
And so it has been for nearly 14 years – the time Ive has been Apple’s star designer, a fact little known and less publicised in his native Britain due to the obsessive culture of secrecy at Apple. (His laboratory remains sealed off even from the rest of Apple’s leafy corporate ‘campus’ in San Francisco.) The impact of the 44-year-old, Essex-born, Staffordshire-raised graduate of Newcastle Polytechnic has been incalculable.
The chief designer of Apple products (setting aside for the moment Steve Jobs) is Jonathan Ive. And design is one of the major drivers of Apple’s success.
NPR offers an interesting profile of Apple’s Senior Vice President Industrial Design.
No, its not Michael Dell or Steve Balmer. According to Fortune, it is some guy called Steve Jobs.
Update: And they named Jonathan Ive, Apple’s chief product designer, as the smartest designer.