What you need to know

  • A Bloomberg report claims Jony Ive hasn't been involved much over the past few years.
  • Sources say the designer was burned out.
  • Sources say Apple is worried about new design leadership.

The news came suddenly. On a Thursday afternoon, Apple confirmed that Jony Ive, the mastermind behind the designs of the iPhone, iPad, and other big Apple products, would be leaving the company later this year.

For those among the Apple ranks, however, Ive's departure was a long time in the making, according to one anonymous Apple employee.

According to a report from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, the legendary designer only went into the office a few times a week. Instead of scheduling meetings at Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, Ive would arrange meetings near where he lived in San Francisco, often at hotels or other venues. Occasionally, he would even miss major product launches.

"He's been at Apple over 25 years, and it's a really taxing job," a source told Bloomberg. "It's been an extremely tense 25 years for him at Apple and there's a time for everyone to slow down."

Ive previously described himself as deeply, deeply tired after nearly 30 years designing Apple products

Ive hinted at his burnout a few years ago in an interview with the New Yorker, when he said he was "deeply, deeply tired."

Over the years, Ive has designed some of Apple's—and the industry's—most iconic products, including the iPhone, iPad, iPod, iMac, and Apple Watch. Lately, however, the company's designes have been more iterative than revolutionary.

With Ive gone, plenty of challenges lie ahead, with sources telling Bloomberg that Apple is "already worried about the new design leadership."

"The design team is made up of the most creative people, but now there is an operations barrier that wasn't there before," a former Apple executive told Bloomberg. "People are scared to be innovative."

With Ive no longer among the ranks at Apple, it's the end of an era for the company. But truth be told, Apple has been operating with only partial input from the designer over the past few years, Bloomberg said. The real challenge will be creating new products that aren't just iterations of its existing lineup.

"People who have been there forever don't want to keep doing incremental updates to current products," a source told Bloomberg.