Jony Ive shakes up Apple’s software design group, iPhone interface creator Greg Christie leaves

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Following friction between Greg Christie, Apple’s vice president of human interface, and senior vice president Jony Ive, Apple’s hardware and software design is being turned upside down, people familiar with the matter say. . After adding the direction of human interface design to her responsibilities in 2012, Ive will soon completely subsume Apple’s software design group, wresting control from Christie, longtime head of human interface design. , according to sources informed on the subject. Prior to this redesign, all of Apple’s software design was led by Christie, who reported to Craig Federighi, and I’ve attended interface design meetings and provided instructions…

The design overhaul at Apple will cause Christie to leave the company, with all of the software designers now working directly under Ive with the rest of his industrial design team instead of Federighi’s engineering group. Sources say Christie’s upcoming departure is significant and stems from a falling out with Ive.

When Ive tasked Apple’s human interface team to redesign iOS 7 to include a whole new look, Christie and Ive reportedly clashed over design direction, after which Ive bypassed team direction. of Christie during the development of the new operating system.

Christie’s impending departure comes in the months leading up to major updates to iOS and OS X. While iOS 8 will retain the same overall design as iOS 7, OS X 10.10 will be revamped with a flatter look. which loses the textures that Christie used to make the iPhone the most popular gadget on the planet.

Christie is also known to App Store software makers as the Herald of Apple’s Design Aesthetics, having frequently hosted app design sessions and UI review meetings with developers at Apple’s WWDC conferences.

Christie’s exit from Apple also comes amid the recall of Apple and Samsung’s high-profile lawsuit in San Jose, California. While Christie has long worked in the shadow of Apple’s senior executives, the original iPhone designer had some time on stage last week as Apple’s key witness in court and Christie was put out to court. available for interviews with the the Wall Street newspaper and NPR. The interviews position Christie as essential to the success of the iPhone, making her departure a significant loss for the Cupertino-based company.

Christie also has hundreds of Apple patents to her name, such as the iconic “Slide to Unlock” patent which is crucial to Apple’s patent infringement claims against Samsung. It is not clear at this time whether Christie plans to join another company or exit the industry altogether.

Christie has been in Apple and the tech industry long enough to have worked on the first Newton and the transition from Mac OS to OS X and its Aqua interface in the early 2000s. Apple PR and Christie did not respond to multiple requests for comments on this subject.

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Christie’s upcoming departure from Apple will mark one of the most significant design releases in several years and represents a complete change of guard for Apple’s software design style. Within the past two years, Scott Forstall and Christie will both have left Apple, and Ive will have secured his position at Apple as a central product design decision maker for the foreseeable future in the post-Steve Jobs era.

While Apple’s executive reshuffle in 2012 unlocked the silos separating hardware and software, this latest change will completely remove all internal boundaries between Apple’s hardware and software design and will likely result in even more well-integrated products. . (Top image by Michael Steeber).

Update: Apple has confirmed at Financial Time that Christie is leaving Apple.

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