Poor Jony Ive. The Apple senior vice president of design and supposed mastermind behind the latest update to the iPhone operating system has gotten all the blame for a flat new iOS 7 that nobody likes, and it might not be entirely his fault. After getting a standing ovation for his narration of the iOS introductory video during Monday afternoon's Worldwide Developers Conference keynote, his image has receded in the tech nerd community from design god to iPhone dud. Among the blog posts invoking his name to talk about all the iOS's problems, there's also a requisite "Jony Ive Redesigns Things" Tumblr making fun of his style choices.
It wasn't all Ive's fault, though. "Many of the new icons were primarily designed by members of Apple's marketing and communications department, not the app design teams," sources tell The Next Web's Matthew Panzarino. "From what we've heard, SVP of Design Jony Ive (also now Apple's head of Human Interaction) brought the print and web marketing design team in to set the look and color palette of the stock app icons." Also, apparently, there wasn't much communication between the various teams working on different apps and icons.
So, yeah, Ive didn't singlehandedly design an "inconsistent" experience that some say chose "style over substance." But he did oversee the iOS reboot. The finger-pointing is fair: Last October, Ive replaced Scott Forstall, who got the blame for all the tacky skeuomorphism in Apple's design. Expectations were high for Ive to "save Apple." He had openly stated that skeuomorphism doesn't stand the test of time. But the design geeks — not just the Apple geeks — had faith in his taste. Here's Fast Company's John Pavlus before Monday's announcement: "What Sir Jonathan Ive is interested in, surely, is evolving iOS’s design to make it more of an ease and pleasure to use, not picking sides in some faddish war between 'flat' and 'not.'" But Ive didn't go that route:
you suddenly want what gets taken away. seeing iOS 7 makes me want to shove my hands into beach sand, stroke corduroy, smell rich mahogany.— John Pavlus (@johnpavlus) June 10, 2013
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.