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Apple is more than any one person

Last week on The Talk Show, John Gruber and Jason Snell were discussing the new Designed by Apple in California book when the subject turned to Jony Ive. Off the cuff, Gruber said:

I've heard that he has lately been checked out or not as directly involved with product design and that he's been largely focused on architecture, meaning the spaceship campus and the new stores. And that maybe the other top-level executive who's been working the most with Ive is Angela Arhendts.

John (disclaimer, he's a friend of mine) clarified his remarks on Daring Fireball, but the rumors were already running rampant. It's what happens in the tech world. Ask Marco Arment. Or Rene Ritchie.

But back to Jony Ive.

Jony Ive is not Apple design

Have you ever been inside Apple's design lab? Ever seen the design team? Probably not. There are a lot of folks on the design team. There are a lot of folks who work for people on the design team, and even more folks who work for the people that work for the people on the design team. See where I'm going? Jony Ive is a brilliant person that I've had the privilege to interact with during my time at Apple. He's awesome, both as the designer we know, and as a person to talk to. But he's not Apple design.

One of the things Apple has prized itself on, driven by the late Steve Jobs, is the idea of surprise and delight. Part of the allure is the allure. That's why Apple keynotes were so masterfully crafted.

It takes more than two people to make a great design

If you ever sat in on a keynote when Steve was still alive, you probably felt, as I did, that he had been working all night in his garage on some amazing device or piece of software, only finishing in the darkness of the early morning, and then immediately drove up to Moscone in San Francisco in his Mercedes SL to share it with you. Just you.

Likewise, there was a Jony Ive video where he would tell us just how special the design was of whatever the thing was that we all wanted. That was pretty much it. Even senior execs like Phil Schiller were relegated to serving as Ed McMahon to Steve's Johny Carson. It was a two man show, and that worked well for a very long time. Now, it's working against Apple.

If Jony Ive has plans to spend the rest of his career designing Christmas trees with no ornaments, it doesn't really matter. There is a lot more to Apple than Mr. Ive. There is a lot more to Apple than even Steve Jobs.

Will Sir Ive take a step back? Was the Apple book truly a final celebration of his work? Seriously ... Who cares?

The legacy is everyone

There's so much more to Apple than any one person. So much more than any one designer. The legacy of Steve Jobs, perhaps the eventual legacy of Jony Ive, is about the teams and people they have put in place. They are the unsung multitudes that have always been a crucial part of Apple's success.

One day, be it soon or in the far flung future, we'll hear the last of Jony Ive's tales of how an Apple product came to be. Either way, the work will keep going on.

I’ve covered the personal technology beat for more than two decades at places like Gartner, Jupiter Research and Altimeter Group. I’ve also had the fun of contributing my $.02 on the topic at Computerworld, Engadget, Macworld, SlashGear and now iMore. Most recently I spent a few years at Apple as Sr. Director of Worldwide Product Marketing. On Twitter I’m an unverified @gartenberg. I still own some Apple stock.

54 Comments
  • Damage control Posted from my Nexus 6P
  • Looks like those looking in know better those who are inside.
    *** u me....
  • "One of the things Apple has prized itself on, driven by the late Steve Jobs, is the idea of surprise and delight. Part of the allure is the allure. That's why Apple keynotes were so masterfully crafted." When was the last time that a keynote actually filled folks with surprise and delight? For me it was probably the reveal of the iPhone 5. Everything since has either been ruined by leaks (the Watch and Mac Pro) or has been Apple playing catchup (the 6 and 6 Plus). I do still love Apple but my faith is getting severely tested. Oh, and Ive's Christmas tree is possibly the worst piece of design I've seen all year. Posted via the iMore App
  • Spot on. The excitement is pretty much gone for me and now it seems like every new release is going backwards. iPhone 7 is a phone I am avoiding because of the lack of headphone Jack and simultaneous charging capability without buying more cords. Same lack of excitement with iOS 10. I see myself within a couple years likely testing out android devices.
  • The lack of a headphone jack is no big deal, and I've very rarely needed to charge my phone and use headphones. Just charge your phone overnight and you should have enough to last you through the day. I know so many iPhone 7 owners who haven't really even thought about the headphone jack disappearal since they just use the adapter with no issues
  • No big deal for you maybe. But plenty of people still want one. Sent from the iMore App
  • Then I guess the iPhone isn't for them. That being said, other phones seem to be slowly getting rid of the headphone jack too, so no matter how much people "want one", it's going. Time to move on with technology
  • Use my headphone jack on my iphone 7+ every day. It's called lightning port and it is no different than a dedicated headphone jack. It's actually a lot better because it does a lot more things than just audio. Seriously, the only bad thing about it is it requires wires. I've been using Bluetooth for years and only recently remebered how awful wired audio is (sounds fine but is inconvenient as ****) I started using the included earbuds again after by Bluetooth headphones died before I could get my AirPods.
  • +1
  • "iPhone 7 is a phone I am avoiding because of the lack of headphone Jack and simultaneous charging capability without buying more cords." It takes ~2 hours to charge an iPhone, and it's rated for ~40 hours of music playback. You can charge it when you're sleeping and be able to listen to music the entire rest of the day. I think you've grossly overestimated how often you'll need to charge and listen at the same time.
  • Of course if you want to use for other things, like streaming via cell, using GPS, or other more power hungry stuff the '40hrs' falls flat in a hurry. The 7 plus has a noticeable advantage over the 7 in that scenario.
  • You still shouldn't need to charge and listen to music at the same time though. In the case that for some reason you do need to, if a full charge is 2 hours which gives you 40 hours of music playback, then around 10 minutes of charge will give you around 4-5 hours, so it's really not a big deal.
  • "You still shouldn't need to charge" Why do you guys insist on telling people they will need to do? The point is it's a sacrifice that didn't necessarily make sense. At all.
  • The fact is, if the majority of people did this, Apple would've provided two Lightning ports, or included some sort of solution, however, it's clear that the majority of people don't do this. Plenty of people are buying iPhone 7's and having no issue whatsoever. If Apple catered for every person in the minority wanting something different, the iPhone would be a cluttered mess. It makes sense from a product-development standpoint to develop for the majority.
  • Right, just like they didn't supply usba ports on the MacBooks. Cause the majority don't use them I suppose? You are confusing being forced to use something the way they want you to, with people not using the stuff they take out. It's an inconvenience that they've created by doing things this way.
  • Apple are doing what they have done in the past and will continue doing in the future, forcing people to use new technology. They've done this many times in the past to push technology forward and it's worked every time. The floppy drive, the optical drive, firewire etc etc. Not including a headphone jack forces manufacturers to start making headphones with a digital port and new features. Not including USB-A ports forces manufacturers to start making USB-C peripherals. All-in-all it works out better for the consumer in the end
  • No, it didn't force manufacturers to make headphones with digital ports. You don't even understand the implications of what your defending. In order to get audio out the lightning port you need the apple manufacturing license which comes at a high cost. So high I would venture to say there will be a very small subset that do that. Once again, what your talking about is inconveniencing an enormous amount of people instead of just including one legacy port. Especially after including an sd card slot in all their machines for years now. And while they changed to FireWire they never removed USB ports, so that actually goes against your argument. And mediums/storage are a little different than interfaces on mobile machines.
  • There are way more lightning devices and accessories available than USB micro for instance so I don't think Apple's licensing fees are stopping any manufacturers. People that don't understand the headphone jack removal are the same ones that don't understand the USB A removal or floppy drive removal. Apple removes old legacy connections in order to accelerate growth and adoptance of new standards. Guess what would happen if they kept a USB A port on the new MacBook Pro... consumers and manufacturers wouldn't use those USB C ports for anything and the standard would wither. You can complain that Any pod just wants you to buy more dongles and new accessories but so do developers and the entire tech industry. If we always have legacy standards to fall back on, the industry would move at a snail's pace and wouldn't be very tech centric. The complaining about lack of headphone jack has already faded after 3 weeks. I suspect these latest gripes about the USB will be gone by end of year.
  • "Guess what would happen if they kept a USB A port on the new MacBook Pro... consumers and manufacturers wouldn't use those USB C ports for anything and the standard would wither." Bull crap, theres still USBA ports on the back of my iMac but I'm using the thunderbolt 2 ports. I also have USBA ports that I plug things into but I'm not bound to them and if I had a USBC port, the NEXT time I NEEDED to buy a USB device I would choose USBC over USBA. You should go checkout how much Apple mFI certified lightning devices are $32 for a 32GB flash stick is crazy when you can buy a USBA stick for $8. Thats the difference I'm trying to explain. Lastly, on this subject, just because people have stopped complaining about the headphone jack doesn't make it convenient.
  • Again, you are looking at one data point...you. Apple is seeing their customers and entire industry. They have much more to take into consideration than you can ever know. They knew that you and others would complain and yet they went ahead. Does that mean they don't value you as a customer? No but you do know that you are in the very small minority and that they have to cater to the majority just to stay in business. If you can't get past that fact, you'll never be a happy customer. I don't like every decision they make but I'm glad at least one company is prioritizing thinner and lighter devices. Most iPhone users get 1-2 days battery life so there is no benefit to 2 1/2 day battery life to them at the expense of a few ounces and millimeters or old headphone jack. If I had purchased expensive wired headphones I would be annoyed but that's not the typical user so I would also understand.
  • I like how you say I'm only looking at my view and then go and speak for the entire population of iPhone users. Classic.
  • No one is speaking for all iPhone owners. I'm speaking for Apple. They know more than you and I so forgive me if I default to their knowledge base instead of only caring about my own unique situation. They do plenty of things that I selfishly wish they didn't but I also understand that they can only stay in business by catering to the greatest number of current users while keeping an eye on the future. The only thing I see you caring about are dongles. So either you just like to complain or you never planned on sticking around as an Apple customer anyway.
  • People complaining about dongles is so silly, they're a temporary solution for the switch over to USB-C, you're not using dongles for the rest of your life. What sounds more silly, temporarily using dongles, or permanently having legacy ports on a laptop released near the end of 2016? In a year's time, people buying computers with USB-A and USB-C ports are going to have leftover USB-A ports with nothing to do with them. Apple made the right choice just putting USB-C on there, I'd like my next-gen laptop, to be actually next-gen, not with leftovers from the last generation
  • Right, next gen laptop with last years processors and 5 year old ram capacities. Meanwhile, you can walk around with $100 or more in dongles while paying a premium for that 'next gen' machine. Waiting for everyone else to catch up so you can go rebuy all the things you still have that work. Then throw out the dongles.
  • The latest processor wasn't available for the release of the new MacBook Pro, and also offered a trivial speed increase over the last generation which is being used in the new MacBook Pro. As for the "no 32GB" ram option, that's explained here:
    http://www.imore.com/why-doesnt-new-macbook-pro-have-32-gb-ram
  • Shocker: other people are not you. Sent from the iMore App
  • Except the iPhone 7 is built for the majority, and Apple obviously worked out that the majority don't charge and listen to music at the same time. Like I said, I know plenty of people with iPhone 7's who haven't had this issue
  • "and Apple obviously worked out that the majority don't charge and listen" How would they do that? They aren't collecting that private information from everyone, cause that would be a privacy issue. It's more like they needed space and decided to take out the headphone jack and support. And now people will conform because there is no choice other than to buy and carry around another dongle that splits out the charge port and headphone jack.
  • I don't know how Apple worked it out, but they did. If you find a group of people with iPhone 7's, ask them all do they have an issue with the fact they can't charge and listen to music at the same time, you'll see that very few people find this as an issue. Apple develops for the majority, which makes sense from a product development standpoint. Yes, they probably did need space, to put new technology in the phone. It makes sense to remove legacy technology to do this.
  • How is data on headphone jack usage a privacy issue? You know that little checkbox you see every time you set up a new iOS device, that's sending anonymous data to Apple and their developers. It tells them evry time you use your 3.5mm port and a million other things about usage. You are just one of a billion users so why would they need to know private info on you to learn about general usage? The sampling size is huge.
  • So why didn't they come out and say 'our data shows that the majority of people are not using the headphone jack' when the backlash about taking out started? You guys are giving them way to much credit. This comes down to making the device thinner and they needed more space for something else. Pretty simple, and it also now forces companies that want to pass data to the device via the Lightning port, pay for it via the mFI..
  • They did say it at the keynote. If you read past all the "courage" jokes and headlines they stated that their users (and industry as a whole) are using wired headphones much less and Bluetooth much more. When you see a clear trend like that, you either make adjust or do nothing. If they'd have done nothing, I'd be much more worried.
  • Great if you only use your phone as an iPod. The rest of the world doesn't. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • Still, if a full charge is 40 hours music playback, then half an hour of charge would give you 10 hours playback. If you charged for 15 minutes, you'd get 5 hours. The point being is that you don't need to charge and play music at the same time. If you do somehow find yourself in this situation, then you only need to put your phone on charge for about 10 minutes to get plenty of music playback
  • I rarely need to charge and listen to music on my 7, but if I want to watch a video then I do. The 7's battery life in that respect is even worse than the 6S. For me the issue isn't the removal of the 3.5mm jack, it's the fact that Apple are persisting with Lightning when USB C is superior in pretty much every way, and available on every other platform (including their own ones, FFS!)
  • Lightning is superior in every way for Apple. That might not be a good reason for you but the benefits trickle down to you as the consumer. It allows the device to be more water resistant, thinner, lighter, cheaper (for Apple) and they can unlock and do things like CarPlay and fast charging and others that haven't even been introduced yet. They designed the spec so they control it. USB C is great for the PC industry overall but it doesn't always fit Apple's needs. And it's design by committee which moves slower than Apple wants.
  • The benefits you describe are already on a slew of Android handsets with USB ports, many of which have better waterproofing, are just as slim and manage to connect to cars without the need for a closed proprietary connector.
  • That's great for them but what do you expect Apple to do? Lightning is their standard and was released long before USB C.. Why would they annoy their customer base by adopting another new standard and then lose the control they have? Just to join the rest of the industry but have the same features? You said USB C is superior in every way but you haven't given one example. Meanwhile, lightning is superior in every way because Apple owns the spec. That means they can provide the best user experience the same way they already do with other proprietary things like iOS, MacOS, W1 chip, M1 chip, retina displays, etc.
  • It's very, very likely that more and more smartphones will come without a legacy headphone jack in the future. Both Moto and HTC have models without headphone jacks and I'm willing to bet it will be a trend to drop the legacy headphone jack if manufacturers can pack something else in its place.
  • +1, very true
  • Certainly. Two years from now Bluetooth may actually be great, not just good enough. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • I'm not sure whether wireless will reach the quality of wired, but removing the headphone jack isn't just for the push for Bluetooth, otherwise Apple would've included wireless headphones instead of Lightning ones with the iPhone 7. The idea is that if an already existing port can also deliver audio (as well as other things), then the headphone jack is no longer needed. USB-C is the best example to use although unfortunately Apple aren't using this, but the idea of USB-C is that the one port is capable of doing pretty much anything, so the headphone jack is pointless. As well as just replacing the headphone jack, since USB-C can deliver multiple things, you could be listening to audio whilst the headphones are transmitting other kinds of data back to the device, so having headphones plugged into a digital port will offer more to the user as well. I look forward to a future where I can pick up any accessory/peripheral and know it will just connect to any device I own, but Apple really should be using USB-C on the iPhone to push for this. Here's hoping they will either on the next iPhone or the one after.
  • I think the 5s reveal of the first 64-bit ARM processor blindsided pretty much everyone in the mobile device world.
  • I'm not convinced this makes anything better. Someone is responsible for the weird pencil charge port, the difficult to read text on the iPhone's "flat design", the floundering Apple TV, the wasted car project, the stalled Siri, the obsession with thinness above performance and battery life in the MacBooks, the abandoned Mac Pro, and in general the low ROI on increased R&D spending. If it's more than just Ive, then how does it get fixed?
  • The Pencil charging is odd, but it works, my friend has an iPad Pro and hasn't had any issues with it. The difficult to read text should be resolved by the accessibility settings (i.e. you should have no problem reading it as it is if you have no visual impairment). The battery life in the MacBooks is pretty good, which is partly the reason for not putting 32GB RAM in the latest MacBook Pro, Apple has to make sure it meets their definition of a laptop, which is having a certain level of battery life. I've read into why the new MacBook Pro doesn't have 32GB RAM or the very latest processor, and it makes sense to me. The other things you listed are valid, though
  • Weird pencil charge port? You can charge it from a wire like any other device -- no problem (did you know that?). But if on the go, and you need power, just plug it into your iPad which has power and in 15 seconds you'll have 30 more minutes of battery life. Brilliant! Stupid reviewers complaining "that it looked weird" clearly have no idea of how useful that would be on the go. Just another case of reviewers trying to say something that will grab some headlines and generate some views when it has no value to the reader. I take that back, it's less than no value.. . it's actually misinforming readers and giving them useless information which helps them misunderstand the actual feature and how useful it could be.
  • Right, so Gruber makes a comment that Ive has checked out, then when another blogger points out his statements, Gruber posts on that to try to clear it up, in which he says that he was basically taken out of context. Then basically reiterates his statement that Ive's role has diminished. lol.. http://daringfireball.net/2016/11/ives_role_at_apple To the author, the legacy isn't everyone. The legacy is Steve Jobs. He pushed everyone to the brink to get what he thought he could sell to the masses. He made mistakes, yep, other people were heavily involved in the design and programming, yep, but he was the one that drove the whole thing. Apple is in trouble, it is clear, and as an Apple user for over a decade I am now questioning what the direction of Apple really is. These articles only fuel it because it's so ridiculous to say 'it's everyone'. It's not, it's the leadership at Apple that seems to have a directional vacuum between design and marketing.
  • Apple is doomed! Sent from the iMore App
  • Argue otherwise at this point. Maybe you're not capable?
  • You do realize that Apple created an entire "university" internally to mold future designers, marketers and engineers in the Apple fashion. This was all setup and approved by Jobs years ago. They have contingency plans for everything and that includes any and all of the major executives departing Apple suddenly. You act as if Apple lives in a vacuum and that nothing changes in the tech industry. It's quite impossible for them to even resemble the Apple from 10 years ago because everything around them changes including fickle customers. I hope Apple is around 50 years from now but I also hope they are nothing like they were or are today too. Technology and progress demand it. Nostalgia is a true weakness and the only thing doomed in the tech sector.
  • The WHOLE point is that the industry changes and if you don't have anyone in a position of authority to make the right calls to pivot to a new flagship device/s then you are in the process of being left behind. See Microsoft and how long it took them to come back from Ballmers bad choices. So you can start all the schools, universities, etc... When the people making the calls don't have IT, then it doesn't matter how many good designers or engineers you have. I got better things to do today than go back and forth with you on every thread I've commented on, good luck if that's what you have planned.
  • It's Thanksgiving weekend. You obviously have nothing better to do with your time than I do and I just want you to know that it's OK.
  • It's already been decided by analysts and most investors that the death of Steve Jobs was the death of Apple. It was Steve Jobs who produced all those hits like the iPod, iPad and iPhone. Wall Street now stupidly thinks that Apple can pull more hits out of thin air when the rest of the tech industry can't even manage one big hit. Even when those mega-hit products were first introduced by Steve Jobs, there were the doubters who called those products failures before they even got started. Most know-it-all pundits wouldn't know what's good if it smacked them in their faces. They're so hung up on flash and dazzle, they don't have a clue about what consumers really want from a product. The pundits and critics have this idea that consumers are only interested in innovation and really, they're not. Most of the consumers in the world are buying mid-range products that are relatively cheap. Meaning, low-cost and average features are the driving factor of smartphone sales. It probably doesn't matter to Apple what the know-it-all pundits expect from the company. Apple will continue on its own path. I don't think it's even possible for Apple to produce another mega-hit without Steve Jobs. Mega-hits are very rare for any company. Smartphones are the highest-selling consumer tech products in the world and I don't see any product being able to replace them. Wall Street is asking for too much because they're just greedy and very stupid. You don't see them asking for flying cars or ovens that can cook a turkey in five minutes. Yet they expect Apple to come out with some product that everyone in the world has to have. That's just greed and stupidity and makes no sense whatsoever. Most analysts are idiots without a sensible thought in their heads. All they talk about is companies needing to make more money and profits. If it was that easy, every company would be making huge profits and they're not.
  • The thing that will replace smartphones is wearable technology, something like Google Glass, but Google Glass is very much an early prototype, it might be a fair while before we see proper wearable-tech that can replace a smartphone, but that's the direction I see this going.