sic transit Ive

Apple’s chief design officer is hanging up his skinny britches. If we’re keeping it a buck, this is probably about five years too late – the Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh was a primordial warning of what Jony Ive was capable of left to his own devices, and without Steve Jobs to keep him on the straight and narrow, it’s hard not to look at Apple’s track record and think that someone in Cupertino fundamentally lost sight of what good design means.

I mean, look at the problems with the laptop keyboards. Look at the massive swing-and-miss of the Mac Pro and the inability to replace it for six years. Look at the translucent mess of iOS 7, the compromises made to the iPhone 6S and 7 for the sake of a 3DTouch feature that never rose above gimmick, the entire experience of macOS High Sierra, the decision that the entire iPhone line was best served by making it too big to use in one hand. Steve died, and Tim was not a strong enough babysitter to keep little Jony from smearing paint on the walls.

When it comes to Apple products, design is necessary but insufficient on its own. Jony Ive’s shortcoming was to think that design superseded all other requirements. It would be nice to see the next regime place some priority on usability, pricing or just an ability to ship without backbreaking bugs (looking at you again, macOS 10.13). Who knows, we might have an outside shot at a one-handed iPhone again by 2020.

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