In June, Jony Ive announced he’s parting ways with Apple to form an independent firm. Many wondered what an Apple without Steve Jobs’ closest confidant and the company’s iconic head of design will look like. Six months and a string of launches later, I think the answer to that question has finally begun to manifest.
It’s a company that’s much less obsessed with its products’ aesthetics and not hesitant to prioritize essentials for users over ostentatious features.
In an attempt to build thinner devices, Apple has taken a series of missteps in the past few years upsetting longtime customers. Its 2016 revamp of the MacBook Pro is the epitome of the heights Apple was prepared to go to push its designs — no matter how flawed they were.
For about four years, Apple lived in denial and kept releasing premium laptops with the same broken keyboard, which even a tiny speck of dust could bring to a halt despite hundreds of thousands of complaints from frustrated buyers.
With each new model, Apple claimed it has figured out the defects, only for the users to later discover the design has been barely tweaked and end up with crippled laptops. In addition, the absence of enough space also made these machines overheat, which in turn stymied their performance for resource-intensive jobs.
When the time came for me to upgrade from my ailing MacBook Pro 2014, I decided to switch to a Chromebook as I simply couldn’t convince myself to invest a thousand dollars on those faulty MacBooks.
Jony Ive has been a seminal figure in shaping Apple and the rest of the personal tech industry.
Following Ive’s departure announcement, however, Apple has fortunately started to recover in fits and starts. The first sign surfaced when the company introduced the iPhone 11 series.
The new iPhone 11 Pro carries a range of upgrades such as an additional, third camera on the back and a faster chip. But the feature that truly stood out was none of those. It was the flagship phone’s thickness. Instead of slimming down, Apple made its latest iPhone bulkier to accommodate a larger battery. The new iPhone 11 Pro is 6.67% thicker and about half an ounce heavier than last year’s iPhone XS to deliver a two-day battery life.
Last week, Apple also backtracked on its Butterfly keyboard design. The latest 16-inch MacBook Pro has pretty much the same keyboard and scissor switches from the 2015 MacBook Pro. Apple is so confident about the new design that it’s not part of the extended keyboard repair program, unlike every other MacBook released in the last three years.
The new MacBook Pro is also thicker and heavier to make more room for better thermals and a longer-lasting battery. Another surprise is the return of an honest-to-god physical Esc key at the top left corner.
While Apple hasn’t explicitly stated anything yet or discontinued any of its existing notebooks, reports say the company will bring the fixed keyboard layout to the 13-inch MacBooks in the first half of 2020.
In the last year, Apple even resurrected a bunch of fan-favorite products such as the MacBook Air, Mac Pro, and Mac Mini. Rumors suggest the iPhone SE will get an overdue upgrade in 2020 as well.
Jony Ive has been a seminal figure in shaping Apple and the rest of the personal tech industry. He is the reason why computers and phones look and feel the way they do today. Decades ago, when Steve Jobs first promoted him, Apple was in the midst of a shake-up and on the verge of bankruptcy. In those times, Ive was tasked to come up with bold, radical designs and ideas for the products Jobs had in mind.
The executives that Ive is handing mantle over to have already proved themselves and done excellent work.
But of late, Apple seemed to have been losing sight of the role its products play in users’ and professionals’ lives. I’m glad it’s back on track with a few of these design decisions. It’s too early to tell the broader effects Ive’s departure will have on Apple. After all, Apple is one of Ive’s design firm’s primary clients for now.
The executives that Ive is handing mantle over to have already proved themselves and done excellent work. Jeff Williams, Apple’s COO, for instance, has led the development of the Apple Watch.
So yes, it’s safe to say I’m looking forward to an Apple without Jony Ive, and will likely be first in line whenever the next 13-inch MacBook comes out.
The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not reflect the beliefs of Digital Trends.
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