In 2019, Evans Hankey took over for the well-known Jony Ive.
Apple's primary successor to Jony Ive is departing. Evans Hankey, the organization's head of industrial design, will leave the position after three years, the company revealed to Bloomberg. As of this writing, there is no nominated successor, but Hankey is apparently going to stay on for a transitional period of six months. Alan Dye, who replaced Ive as head of software design in 2019, will continue in that position.
The shuffle might not be wholly detrimental. According to Bloomberg's sources, Gary Butcher, a former top designer at Dye who is presently Airbnb's VP of design, is going back to Apple. What duties Butcher would assume upon his return is unknown.
Apple emphasized in a statement to Bloomberg that its design division has "strong executives with decades of experience" and produces items that are "undeniably" emblematic of the business. No justification is given for Hankey's departure.
When Hankey assumed over, there were a lot of demands placed on her. Many of Apple's most recognizable hardware creations, such as the iMac, iPod, and iPhone, were the work of Ive. Although it's unclear how much Hankey has influenced product design—Ive and Ive just really split up in July—she has presided over a variety of applauded reworks and subtle evolutions during her time there. The business replaced the unpopular MacBooks from the butterfly keyboard era with more useful models and unveiled a few significant redesigns, like the iMac M1.
At the same time, caution has occasionally been the rule of the day. Take the Apple Watch, for example, which, aside from the Ultra, hasn't undergone much modification since 2018.
This doesn't always mean Apple is in jeopardy. However, it does create the possibility of a change in design strategy, especially for goods in uncharted sectors. The company is allegedly still working on a mixed reality headset, augmented reality goggles, and even an electric vehicle. There's a possibility that Hankey's replacement may give those devices a fresh perspective, even though her influence might still be noticeable with any significant introductions.
The departure also highlights Apple's leadership, whose bench is more stable than that of other tech companies. Steve Jobs named Tim Cook CEO in 2011 and Cook has been successful in retaining many of Jobs' coworkers in the company. Ive stood out as an exception, as he had collaborated with Jobs to develop the original iMac computer, iPod music player, iPhone, and Apple Watch. Ive continued to work for Apple after his anticipated retirement, but according to news sources, he looked to entirely disengage from the business late this year.