Apple naysayer Tripp Mickle has been gathering string on this story for more than a year.
From Monday’s Wall Street Journal ($):
Few on the outside knew that for years, Mr. Ive had been growing more distant from Apple’s leadership, say people close to the company. Mr. Jobs’s protégé—and Apple’s closest thing to a living embodiment of his spirit—grew frustrated inside a more operations-focused company led by Chief Executive Tim Cook.
Mr. Ive, 52, withdrew from routine management of Apple’s elite design team, leaving it rudderless, increasingly inefficient, and ultimately weakened by a string of departures, people close to the company say…
Apple remains enormously profitable, and far larger than the company Mr. Jobs left behind… Yet [Ive’s] departure from the company cements the triumph of operations over design at Apple.
My take: There’s enough truth in Mickle’s take to make it painful. A must-read.
The opening anecdote—where Ive shows up three hours late to his own design meeting and leaves without making any rulings—is bad enough. Friend-of-the-blog Jerry Doyle suggest that this one is even worse:
Mr. Ive had begun pushing to make a watch. He was intrigued by the potential to further miniaturize the iPhone’s powerful technology into a wearable device.
Some executives pushed back, questioning if a device so small could ever have a killer app that would compel people to buy it.
Doyle: “If the above is true, then Houston, we have a problem if senior executive staffs pushed back on the Watch that Jony was anxious to pursue. The Watch is the one true innovation since Steve’s passing!”
UPDATE: If you’ve got a 2-hour commute, John Gruber and Ben Thompson go pretty deep in Sunday’s The Talk Show: A bit too thin.