Jony Ive’s Legacy Is Apple’s Core Competency

Jony Ive’s Legacy Is Apple’s Core Competency

When we wrote about why Apple deserved a one trillion dollar valuation in May 2017, we argued that “design remains [Apple’s] unique core competency.” That core competency — the one thing that Apple does better than any other company — originates from Steve Jobs and flourished under Jony Ive’s post-Jobs leadership.

Apple’s design-first culture that Ive brought to life at Apple Park will be his legacy.

After Steve Jobs’s death in 2011, no single person could fill his shoes. They were filled by Tim Cook’s business leadership and Jony Ive’s design leadership. Since then, Jony has instilled Steve’s design-first thinking in his entire team — and the entire company. He will be missed, but Apple’s core competency in the area won’t suffer due to his departure.

In our view, Ive transitioned away from direct product design in 2015 when he shifted his focus to the architecture of Apple Park. At that point, and ever since, the design team has been functioning independent of his day-to-day management. While we are puzzled by the design team leadership structure announced today with Evans Hankey, Alan Dye, and Jeff Williams sharing those responsibilities, we expect it to be temporary.

Apple’s core competency of design is unmatched and from its culture of design-first thinking, the right leader will emerge in time. Thanks to Jony Ive.

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