Apple’s long-time chief design officer Jony Ive, the aesthetic mind behind the company’s signature products like the iMac, the iPod, and the iPhone, is leaving the Cupertino-based tech giant to start his own independent design firm. His departure marks another sign of Apple’s transformation from its roots as a hardware company to a digital services giant.

Ive will be starting a company called LoveFrom with Apple peer and industrial designer Marc Newson. Ive had been at Apple for nearly 30 years, while Newson joined in 2014.

“This is not a hard break-up. Apple is going to be Johnny Ive’s first client,” Jason Rotman, a director at Everplus Capital, told Cheddar Friday.

Investors may not be as sure, with shares falling nearly 2 percent after the announcement. But Rotman says, “Number one, the product design pipeline ー in a sense ー has already been set for multiple years, so it’s not like you’re going to start to see massive differences in the look and feel in April products January 2020. So that’s something that should assuage Apple investors.”

Now, investors are left weighing the company’s trillion-dollar market capitalization, which could keep the company’s continuing rise humble, against the strength of Apple’s emerging software and services business and another round of stock buybacks.

“It’s not really the growth story that it used to be, and it’s really a bona fide utility and services company,” Rotman added. “I think we could be seeing peak Apple ー not just because of Jony Ive leaving ー but the overall business has shifted.”

However, he highlighted that much of Apple’s future, including its credit card and the Apple News product, don’t necessarily involve Ive’s aesthetic and product-design expertise.

“What does Jony Ive have to do with the Apple card? Really, not that much,” said Rotman.

See Timeline

More In Business
Load More