Apple is making a huge internal change to the way it makes products

(Image credit: Wallpaper / Future)

In a huge shock to the world of Apple, news breaking this week suggests that Apple is not planning to replace its outgoing VP of industrial design, Evans Hankey, when she leaves later this year. 

According to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, Apple "has decided against naming a new executive to replace its departing top product designer, marking a stark shift for a company long celebrated for the look and feel of its devices."

Evans Hankey, the successor to Apple's design legend Jony Ive, is leaving the company later this year. But rather than replace Hankey, it seems Apple has opted to instead have its group of about 20 industrial designers report to Apple's chief operating officer, Jeff Williams.

The end of an era?

Gurman says that Apple's design team has lost a lot of key members, and that linking "Apple’s operations group more closely with design" has "irked some of Apple's creative staffers." It's possible the move away from a creative role to designers reporting to the COO could impact the soul and art of Apple's products, with design decisions being made based on the cost, production, and manufacturing rather than the pure blend of art and functionality Apple has previously been known for.

With Tim Cook at the wheel, we've already seen Apple moving away from its original remit as a company transfixed on inspirational design and user experience towards a well-oiled industrial monolith focused on increasing service revenues, supply chain logistics, and arguably quite messy product lineups. While the departure of Hankey and this subsequent decision won't impact Apple's upcoming iPhone 15, expected to be the best iPhone to date, could we see a future where Apple continues to make design decisions based on business rather than artistic value and the user experience? It would be a real shame if we did.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9