Jony Ive Named “Chief Design Officer”

Earlier today, it was revealed that Jony Ive will now hold the position of “Chief Design Officer”.  As part of this change, Ive will continue overseeing design aspects of numerous projects within the company, however he will turn over the day-to-day management of the design teams to Richard Howarth and Alan Dye, who have bene promoted to to vice president positions.

The news was first broken by Stephen Fry in his article for The Telegraph. To me this change is rather reminiscent of Ive being assigned leadership of the Human Interface department, on top of the Industrial Design department, a couple of years back. That change was an expansion in responsibilities for Ive, who previously only focused on physical devices. Human Interface on the other hand dealt more with the images, interactions, sounds, flow and feel of the software. Similarly, under his new title, Ive will not just look at design aspects of Apple’s software and hardware, but also other aspects of Apple’s business. The several hundred retail stores across the world come to mind, so does Apple’s upcoming  Apple 2 Campus.

Here’s the email from Apple CEO Tim Cook –

Team,

I have exciting news to share with you today. I am happy to announce that Jony Ive is being promoted to the newly created position of Chief Design Officer at Apple.

Jony is one of the most talented and accomplished designers of his generation, with an astonishing 5000 design and utility patents to his name. His new role is a reflection of the scope of work he has been doing at Apple for some time. Jony’s design responsibilities have expanded from hardware and, more recently, software UI to the look and feel of Apple retail stores, our new campus in Cupertino, product packaging and many other parts of our company.

Design is one of the most important ways we communicate with our customers, and our reputation for world-class design differentiates Apple from every other company in the world. As Chief Design Officer, Jony will remain responsible for all of our design, focusing entirely on current design projects, new ideas and future initiatives. On July 1, he will hand off his day-to-day managerial responsibilities of ID and UI to Richard Howarth, our new vice president of Industrial Design, and Alan Dye, our new vice president of User Interface Design.

Richard, Alan and Jony have been working together as colleagues and friends for many years. Richard has been a member of the Design team for two decades, and in that time he has been a key contributor to the design of each generation of iPhone, Mac, and practically every other Apple product. Alan started at Apple nine years ago on the Marcom team, and helped Jony build the UI team which collaborated with ID, Software Engineering and countless other groups on groundbreaking projects like iOS 7, iOS 8 and Apple Watch.

Please join me in congratulating these three exceptionally talented designers on their new roles at Apple.

Tim

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Thoughts on Apple’s Acquisition of Coherent Navigation

As part of its on-going efforts to improve the Maps application offered on its OS X and iOS platforms, Apple has acquired Coherent Navigation, a Bay Area GPS-related firm founded in 2008 by engineers from Stanford and Cornell. The company was started with a focus on pioneering advanced positioning, navigation, timing, and communication (PNT+C) solutions. It delivers these solutions over GPS/GNSS, Iridium, and other satellite signals.

It has developed its commercial navigation services based on partnerships with companies like Boeing and Iridium. For Iridium, the company built a system that combines signals from the traditional mid-earth orbit GPS satellites with those from the low-earth satellites of voice and data provider Iridium to offer greater accuracy and precision, higher signal integrity, and greater jam resistance.

It is safe to assume that the acquisition will contribute towards improving Apple’s own navigation services. In the past 3-4 years, Apple has acquired several companies related to navigation, including – PlaceBase, Poly9, C3 Technologies, WiFiSlam, Locationary, HopStop, Embark, and BroadMap.

That being said, I think this acquisition also suggests that Apple’s interest in developing a car or at the very least an product or service for the automotive sector is more than just speculative. The future of the automotive sector is clearly inching towards autonomous cars. A self-driving car would require extremely accurate GPS in order to navigate safely and Coherent Navigation claims that their navigation services are accurate to the nearest centimeters. This kind of precision would be critical for self-driving cars, where being off by a few feet could be a disaster.

Speaking about self-driving cars, I highly reccomend that you read this article on autonomous cars by Zack Kanter.

 

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All Things Apple Weekend Update – 17th May 2015

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Weekend Update is a weekly dose of All Things Apple. We curate the best Apple related articles that have been published throughout the week. These include news pieces, guides, editorials and even reviews. Here is this weeks curation of Apple related articles, by us and others that you cannot afford to miss –

All Things Apple Weekend Update – 17th May 2015

Apple Tops Greenpeace Clean Energy Index

Gearing up: My essential travel tech –  Six Colors

Alternote Review: Minimalist Markdown Evernote App for OS X – MacStories

Home Screen: Michael Simmons – MacSparky

Facebook launches quick-loading, interactive ‘Instant Articles’ as an iPhone-exclusive feature – iDownload Blog

No, the Apple Watch Does Not Cost $84 to Make – Mobile Forward

 

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Apple Tops Greenpeace Clean Energy Index

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In the latest Clean Energy Index published by Greenpeace, Apple topped all technology companies when it comes to running its worldwide operations on renewable energy. Apple topped all of its peers in the index including – Microsoft, Facebook, Google, HP, IBM, Amazon, Oracle, Yahoo, among others.

Through its Clean Energy Index, Greenpeace has been evaluating the energy requirements and the consequent energy choices of the top internet and internet-related companies since 2010. The index evaluates companies’  energy dependence on clean, nuclear, coal, and natural gas.

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Greenpeace segmented Apple’s internet-related activities into: iCloud and iTunes. Both of these internet-based services of Apple function on 100% renewable energy. The organisation also lauded Apple’s efforts in terms of building the largest privately owned solar farms at its North Carolina data center, working with its utility in Nevada to power its upcoming data center there with solar and geothermal energy, and purchasing wind energy for its Oregon and California data centers.

To me this is extremely impressive, because I remember meeting some Greenpeace activists a couple of years ago who had handed me some material in which Apple was rated rather poorly on its energy related initiatives. That being said, its important to note that this report only evaluates Apple’s internet-related activities and not its entire operations. Unlike Apple’s supply chain for its manufacturing activities, Apple controls all aspects of its internet-related services. I am guessing that this aspect of Apple’s internet-related activities made it easier for Apple to drive to transition to renewable energy for its data centers, and I am a bit skeptical when it comes to Apple being able to replicate a similar revamp in its manufacturing, retail, and supply chain related operations, since it has considerebly less control on these activities.

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Apple Starts New ‘Everything Changes With iPad’ Campaign

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Earlier today, Apple launched a new ad campaign called ‘Everything Changes With iPad’. As part of the campaign Apple has set-up a webpage, which is focused on different things that people use the iPad for and highlights iOS features and apps. It highlights use-cases such as cooking, learning, small business, travelling, among other things, each of which has its own web-page highlighting apps and features that aid that activity.

The iPad has seen what many people are calling a slump in sales, with Apple reporting another quarter of YoY decline in sales, back in April. The positioning of this campaign makes perfect sense from the perspective of increasing sales for the iPad. In my opinion, the stagnancy Apple is facing is mainly due to the inability of the iPad to fully convince regular non Mac-users that they need an iPad. With this campaign focused on regular things (like travelling, cooking, learning, etc) that regular people do, I think Apple will be able to go a step further in convincing these users.

 

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All Things Apple Weekend Update – 19th April 2015

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Weekend Update is a weekly dose of All Things Apple. We curate the best Apple related articles that have been published throughout the week. These include news pieces, guides, editorials and even reviews. Here is this weeks curation of Apple related articles, by us and others that you cannot afford to miss –

All Things Apple Weekend Update – 19th April 2015

Apple II Watch

Apple Announces Dates for WWDC 2015: June 8-12

Kids Choose Between an iPhone and a Samsung Galaxy

Random Apple Watch Thoughts – Liss is More

iPhone 6 Plus Review – MacStories

Apple Announces ResearchKit Available Today for Developers and Medical Researchers – MacRumors

Microsoft + iPhone – Thurrot

A Look at LinX Camera Technology That Could Appear in Future iOS Devices – MacRumors

Apple refreshes Final Cut Pro X, Motion and Compressor with new features – iDownloadBlog

Photos for OS X Review – MacStories

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Apple Announces Dates for WWDC 2015: June 8-12

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Earlier today, Apple has announced the dates for its annual Worldwide Developers Conference, which this year will be held between June 8-12 in San Francisco. Apple is expected to unveil the next versions of its OS X and iOS operating systems at the event, which will feature over 1,000 Apple engineers, 100 technical sessions, hands on labs, and the annual Apple Design Awards.

Developers can begin to apply for tickets in order to attend WWDC 2015 starting today upto April 17 at 10 AM PT based on a lottery system. Registered developers must have signed up to the iOS Developer Program, iOS Developer Enterprise Program or Mac Developer Program as of the WWDC 2015 announcement on April 14 at 5:30 AM PT to be eligible for a chance at tickets. The tickets will cost $1,599 and Apple will inform the winners (chosen randomly) of the lottery system once they are picked.

As always, WWDC scholarships will also be in place. Apple requires developers between 13-17 years of age to have their submission completed by their parent or guardian, after which their application will be reviewed.

Speaking specifically about the invite, as Gruber pointed out, I’m pretty certain that there will be an Apple TV related announcement at this year’s WWDC. Not only does the center of the invite look like an Apple TV, the colorful shapes look awfully similar to the buttons you would find on current TVs.

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Apple II Watch

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I came across this printable Apple II Watch concept on the Instructables website, and now I really want one. The DIY Apple II Watch was conceptualized by an Instructables user called Aleator777. It basically resembles the Apple II, featuring a 1.8inch LCD screen (that displays everything in black or green), a 3D printed beige enclosure, a 3.1 microcontroller, and a hand-woven strap. Nuff said.
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