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Jonathan Ive To Oversee Software At Apple As ‘Slide-To-Unlock’ Inventor Retires

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined
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Sir Jonathan Ive assumes more control over software design at Apple following Greg Christie’s departure

Sir Jonathan Ive’s influence over Apple’s software design is set to increase following the retirement of Greg Christie, who is the current leader of the company’s human interface team.

Christie’s departure was reportedly confirmed by an internal email, which also revealed his former team would now report to Ive, senior vice president of design at Apple, having previously reported to Craig Federighi, Apple’s software head.

Apple shakeup

iPhone 5S (7)Ive, who is widely credited with the design of the iPod, has recently expanded his role to cover software, as well as hardware. He was responsible for the radical overhaul of the user interface in iOS 7, which dropped ‘skeumorphism’ in favour of a flatter, more minimalist design.

Christie has been with Apple for 18 years and was originally recruited in 1996 to work on Apple’s Newton, an ill-fated touchscreen and stylus operated personal assistant, before working on the first iPhone, which was released in 2007.

He is listed on 100 Apple patents and is also cited as the inventor of the ‘slide to unlock’ feature which is one of the five key innovations at the centre of the seemingly never-ending patent battle with arch-rival Samsung.

Christie testified in the latest courtroom wrangle between the two, describing how the development of the iPhone had taken over his life in the two and a half years leading up to 2007. However the Wall Street Journal speculates that he and Ive often clashed over software design decisions, although it is not clear whether such disagreements led to Christie’s departure.

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