Feeds

Greg Christie to leave Apple as Jonathan Ive seizes design reins

Cupertino's UI chief said to have butted heads with Sir Jony

Security for virtualized datacentres

Apple design boss Jony Ive appears to be consolidating his power within the fruity firm, with longtime software UI chief Greg Christie reportedly leaving the company.

Cupertino confirmed Christie's exit in a statement to the Financial Times, saying, "Greg has been planning to retire later this year after nearly 20 years at Apple. He has made vital contributions to Apple products across the board, and built a world-class Human Interface team which has worked closely with Jony for many years."

But the über-fanbois at 9to5Mac have heard a different story. In their version, Christie is leaving Apple after repeatedly clashing with Sir Jony over interface design matters.

In particular, Ive is said to have disagreed with many of Christie's design choices during the complete mobile UI makeover that would eventually see daylight in iOS 7. And what Jony wants, Jony gets – the senior design VP reportedly undercut Christie's leadership of the human interface team and took control himself, leading to the falling-out.

Under Apple's old structure, Christie at least nominally ran his own team and reported to senior engineering VP Craig Federighi, while Ive answered directly to CEO Tim Cook.

With Christie out, Ive will reportedly now consolidate all of Apple's software designers under his industrial design group, removing them from Federighi's engineering group.

That means the remaining UI design work for the forthcoming iOS 8 will fall under Ive's sole executive control – not that the design of Cupertino's next mobile OS is expected to diverge in any significant ways from the look and feel of iOS 7.

The reshuffle appears to have Cook's blessing, but not everyone agrees that Ive is the right man for the job. iOS 7's new look earned it a fair number of jeers when it debuted, with many critics questioning whether Ive has any legitimate talent in the UI design department, world-class hardware designer though he may be.

But Christie won't be the first Apple exec to be sent packing after butting heads with Ive. In 2012, Cook gave the boot to former iOS boss Scott Forstall, mainly because of the Maps debacle, but also because he was a champion of skeuomorphism – the practice of designing onscreen UIs to resemble real-world objects – which Ive loathes and mostly had excised from iOS 7.

On the plus side, at least, this latest reorg brings all of Apple's hardware and software designers under one roof, with a single boss. With any luck, it should lead to even better UI integration in future Cupertinian kit – though we hope Ive at least has the good sense to delegate decisions about colors, in future. ®

Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Why Oracle CEO Larry Ellison had to go ... Except he hasn't
Silicon Valley's veteran seadog in piratical Putin impression
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
Bono: Apple will sort out monetising music where the labels failed
Remastered so hard it would be difficult or impossible to master it again
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.