iPhone designer and Steve Jobs' early ally quits Apple after 30 years

A man looks at the screen of his mobile phone in front of an Apple logo outside its store in Shanghai, China on July 30, 2017.

Sir Jonathan Paul "Jony" Ive, the man behind key Apple products, has announced his departure after leading the tech giant's design excellence for nearly 30 years. The 52-year-old led the teams that designed MacBook, iPhone, iPod and iPad as well as parts of the iOS user interface. He will leave later this year to start his firm LoveFilm.

Ive said that it was "natural and gentle time" to make the move and his relationship with Apple will continue. "While I will not be an [Apple] employee, I will still be very involved — I hope for many, many years to come," he said. LoveFilm will be launched in 2020 with Apple as its first client.

He revealed that there are products that the Apple design team has been working for a number of years and that he will continue to oversee the developments. "I'm beyond excited that I get to continue working on those, and there are some new projects as well that I'll get to develop and contribute to," he said.

He also said that he leaves the company with pride. "After nearly 30 years and countless projects, I am most proud of the lasting work we have done to create a design team, process and culture at Apple that is without peer," Ive said in a statement.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said he can't imagine a better result than Ive's decision to be associated with the company even after his departure. "We get to continue with the same team that we've had for a long time and have the pleasure of continuing to work with Jony," he said.

However, things at the revolutionary tech giant have been shaky as Ive's departure follows the recent exit of Apple's Retail chief Angela Ahrendts. Investors are also concerned about falling iPhone sales due to the recent trade tensions between the US and China.

According to Financial Times, there would be no immediate successor to Ive in the company. Apple's Creative Director Alan Dye and Industrial Design Head Evans Hankey will report to Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams.

While there is not much information available on LoveForm, Ive revealed that he would focus on wearable technology and healthcare as well as various "personal passions".

Jonathan Ive
Jonathan Ive Apple

Ive Joined Steve Jobs In 1992

Ive joined Apple as a full-time employee in September 1992. It was Ive's partnership with Steve Jobs in 1996 that the company saw a massive turnaround from its poor financial status.

The popularity of iMac in 1998 and the iPod in 2001 was a revolution in the electronics industry. Unlike others who produced a wide variety of products, Apple was exclusively stuck to computers, electronic devices, and phones.

Ive is known to be extremely detail-oriented. In a Time interview, he revealed that he worked with confectionery manufacturers to get the perfect translucent jelly-bean shades that were a feature of iMac. He also travelled to Japan's Niigata region to see how metalworkers beat metal thin. He used the knowledge to create Apple's PowerBook, the first lightweight laptop made of aluminium.

Apart from being the Chancellor of the Royal College of Art in London, he has been appointed as the Royal Designer for Industry (RDI) and was awarded the Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE) by the Queen in 2013.