Apple has reportedly severed its last link to its legendary former chief designer Sir Jony Ive, who for years worked side-by-side with the late Steve Jobs.

The New York Times reported on Tuesday that Apple ended its consulting deal with Sir Jony, despite promising to work with him “long into the future.”

The newspaper reported that that Sir Jony’s contract (said to be worth around $100 million) with Apple had come up for renewal and the parties agreed not to extend it – officially ending the designer’s three decade relationship with Apple.

Design guru

Some media reports indicate that Apple’s clause forbidding Ive from taking on work that the company found competitive may have been a major factor in the decision.

According to sources close to The New York Times, other contributing factors include concerns amongst Apple executives regarding Sir Jony’s pay and the stream of Apple designers leaving to join LoveFrom.

Apple reportedly declined to comment on the report.

Sir Jony’s contribution to Apple’s revival could not be overstated CEO Tim Cook said three years ago, and the British designer was also described by Apple’s Steve Jobs as his spiritual partner at the firm.

Indeed, Steve Jobs considered Sir Jony as one of his closest friends and once declared that the lead designer and executive “has more operational power than anyone else at Apple except me.”

Sir Jony designed the company’s breakthrough products – ranging from the 1998 iMac G3 to the 1st-generation iPhone, Apple Watch, and iPad.

He has also contributed to the early development of iOS and in his later years with Apple was also responsible for the design of Apple’s new headquarters, as well as the Apple Watch, introduced back in 2015.

Leaving Apple

Sir Jony left Apple in late 2019, after he announced his decision to step down and form his own design company, called ‘LoveForm’.

Apple was to be one of its first clients, and Sir Jony retained a consultant role with Apple.

Sir Jony expanded LoveForm’s customer base including Exor, the owner of Ferrari. He reportedly styled Ferrari’s new electric car.

In October 2020 property rental company Airbnb revealed it would redesign the next generation of its products and services, with the assistance of Sir Jony Ive.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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