By Design

by Da'Von B.

The dust has long settled now regarding the news of Apple’s executive reorganization after bombarding the interwebs and though it’s interesting this was done during a time when the markets were closed the more trivial issue is what happened and why? Everyone outside of Apple won’t know, there will be morsels of information floated out there but the picture won’t be clear for some time, aside from why John Browett was shown the exit sign, with all due respect he was a mistake to begin with and it’ll be evident that no one in Apple retail or Apple period will miss the guy.

There are four interesting and significant factors that have taken place here, there’s Eddy Cue taking control of Siri & Maps, the retiring then unretired Bob Mansfield heading a new group called “Technologies”, Craig Federighi heading iOS/X?, and finally what shouldn’t be understated here, there’s Jony Ive who will provide leadership and direction in Human Interface in addition to his role as head of Industrial Design.

Cue Siri

Eddy Cue taking the reigns of Siri and Maps is an interesting development as he’s already in charge of the iTunes Store, the App Store, the iBookstore, and iCloud. With Siri and Maps under his guidance there’s a strong probability that we’ll see a more polished and refined service within the two apps. With regard to Maps there may be an introduction of desktop or Mac clients as well. Cue took over the disaster that was MobileMe and lead the transformation into iCloud, which although has its own faults is seeing substantial improvement over time and that will likely continue.

With the Maps fiasco dying down he may add a dose of his leadership magic to getting the mapping team together to provide a user experience that will right all of the wrongs and this will likely occur sooner than later. And Siri, the lovable AI that has seen a lot of improvements with the release of iOS 6, Siri will only get better and this could result in (best hypothesis) making purchases (movie and concert tickets?), stronger voice recognition, faster response times, and many other improvements that will likely be under the hood especially with the two apps being heavy in data and on the server-side.

Technologies

With Bob Mansfield deciding not to retire the question of what exactly he’ll be doing going forward was finally answered in that he will oversee a new team called “Technologies” which the press release states;

“Combines all of Apple’s wireless teams across the company in one organization, fostering innovation in this area at an even higher level. This organization will also include the semiconductor teams, who have ambitious plans for the future.”

Apple PR

Ambitious is probably a serious understatement, the A6 chip found in the iPhone 5 is custom built and designed by Apple. The benefits here consist of improved battery life due to low power consumption and smoother or more fluid operation of the OS. With Mansfield heading this new group along with Apple’s recent acquisition of AuthenTec, expect technological advancements that will keep them ahead of the competition.

iOS X?

This is an interesting one, because Craig Federighi seems to have been given more to handle as he was promoted SVP of Software Engineering just a few months ago. Now he’ll have iOS and OS X and based on recent releases along with iCloud there’s an obvious glimpse of the direction that Apple is heading. This is something to watch but Federighi seems to be a valued and trusted executive to have been given a substantial amount of new duties, the results will undoubtedly be seen in 2013.

Design

Now the most underrated change here, Jony Ive in charge of Human Interface (HI) as he remains leader of industrial design. Many may not understand how substantial this is, Ive is without a doubt a valued commodity within Apple and his eye for design simply hasn’t been matched though slavishly copied. With the inconsistency of design across Apple apps as seen here from TNW this is without a doubt a welcome and will be a breath of fresh air. Many have suggested that the iOS UI has been stagnant and Gruber has a substantial rundown of the issues with Forstall and his passion for the skeuomorphic design that he refused to steer away from.

With Ive at the helm one can only imagine what direction Apple will head in for 2013, looking at the updated products released over the last two months (which seems to be every Apple product available sans Apple TV) one can imagine that Ive and the design team will have a full year or until Summer/Fall 2013 to get the interface pointed in a new direction, Ive favors minimalism and this will be seen in the likely overhaul to the UI of all iOS devices.

Design is crucial because this is what allows consumers to instinctively interact with a device without having to go through an exhausting tutorial or having some sales rep push technological jargon down someone’s throat. The design is key, and there’s a quote that many should remember especially when it comes to Apple because it is still ingrained within the company and its executives,

“Design is not what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”

– Steve Jobs

These are principles that Ive and the team at Apple have been devoted to for more than a decade and likely will continue to abide by. How will the new iOS devices work going forward? My guess is it would be the same but there will be something a little more uniform across the board something that will be a little new to everyone, this is something to look forward to.

And that’s the new team with Tim Cook steering the ship, obviously the stock will take a hit (as it’s doing now) likely due to many unknown factors, but after the next quarters results are announced and Apple breaks records again as they do year after the naysayers (they seem to be popping out of the woodwork and haven’t the slightest clue of what they’re talking about) will grovel and say this is the downfall of Apple etc etc, drowning out logic and common sense. But Apple will thrive and this “Increase in collaboration across hardware, software, and services” could undoubtedly take the company to new heights, but as usual all anyone can really do is wait and see.

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