Jony Ive, the legendary Silicon Valley guy who says “aluminium” in a soothing British accent in all Apple videos, is leaving Apple. Since 2015, Ive has held the title of chief design officer, and long before that, he was the brains behind the look and feel of iconic products like the iPod and iPhone. Before you get too distraught, know that Ive is leaving to start his own design firm, and his first client is … Apple.
“While he pursues personal projects, Ive in his new company will continue to work closely and on a range of projects with Apple,” the company said in a press release. Translation: Everything is fine, nothing to see here, business as usual, don’t everyone sell their stock at once please. News of Ive’s exit caused the price of Apple shares to dip, from $199.86 to $197.59 at the time of this article’s publication. He has no immediate successor, though a trio of subordinates will fill in the gap.
In an interview with the Financial Times, Ive said his new firm would be called LoveFrom and didn’t really get more specific than that. He said he’d work on wearable technology, health care, and other “personal passions.”
“I have the utmost confidence in my designer colleagues at Apple, who remain my closest friends, and I look forward to working with them for many years to come,” Ive says in the Apple press release.
All of this is very cryptic, but you could view it a handful of ways. It’s possible that Ive will be as involved as ever with Apple, but also wanted the opportunity to pull in some fat consulting checks from elsewhere. It’s possible that, as a C-suite presence for the last four years, he’s been less involved in day-to-day work for a while and wants out. It’s possible that he’s just rich and wants to ride off into the sunset, but wants to do so in a way that doesn’t lower the value of his stake in Apple. Maybe LoveFrom will be an actual design firm.
Regardless, it’s the end of an era, even if Apple, and Ive, want investors and aficionados to believe otherwise.