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The departure of chief designer Jony Ive adds to uncertainty at Apple as the California tech giant shifts into new segments like services and streaming media amid a slowdown in sales of the hugely profitable iPhone.
Ive, the driving force behind the trend-setting design of the iPhone and other Apple devices, announced Thursday he would leave Apple later this year to create his own firm, while continuing to collaborate with the company.
Ive - Departure - Apple - Move - Hardware—with
But Ive's departure highlights Apple's move to de-emphasize its hardware—with the global smartphone market largely saturated and increasingly competitive—and focus on music, streaming television, digital payments and other services and subscriptions.
"The major question now going forward is around future product innovation with one of the key visionaries of the Apple brand gone," said Daniel Ives at Wedbush Securities in a research note.
Opinion - News - Agita - Apple - Story
"In our opinion this news only adds to the current agita around the Apple story as the company is branching out into television and gaming."
The analyst added that Ive "is leaving a hole in the company and is clearly irreplaceable as he has been one of the most important figures at Apple throughout the past few decades."
Prepared - Transition
Prepared for transition?
Other analysts said Apple is well-prepared for Ive's transition and that it may even allow the company to benefit from fresh ideas.
Avi - Greengart - Research - Firm - Techsponential
Avi Greengart of the research and consulting firm Techsponential said that while Ive was instrumental to Apple's success in product design, he had been gradually shifting into new areas such as its retail stores and new Cupertino campus, handing over products to his proteges.
"He's been halfway out the door for a while," Greengart told AFP.
Design - Team - Apple - Apple - Design
"The design team at Apple has remained consistent, and I don't worry that all of a sudden Apple's design is going to decline significantly."
Design has been...
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