On Jony Ive’s Influence

Yesterday the New York Times ran an article on Jony Ive and the end of his tenure at Apple. The story, titled How Technocrats Triumphed at Apple, felt a little dramatic. Jony Ive and Steve Jobs clearly had a special friendship and working relationship that helped save Apple. But in the years after Steve, the story implies that the suits pushed Jony out. While I’m sure Jony didn’t get everything he asked for and I’m certain that Tim Cook made a mistake in giving Jony too much admin work, it doesn’t strike me as a situation where the accountants have been actively wrecking the products.

The latest MacBook Pro is a good example. The new MacBook Pro, with its Apple silicon, remarkable screen, and functional ports is far superior to its minimalist predecessor. At the same time, I agree with some of the points in the article. For example, I also worry that Apple’s focus on services may cause it to lose sight of what makes Apple special (to me at least).

As is always the case, things aren’t as simple as the stories we tell about them. As someone that uses Apple products every day, I have nothing but gratitude for the hard work Jony Ive did for the company. At the same time, I don’t see him as the only person capable of keeping Apple on track.