Apple’s Head of Software Design Leaves After Clashing with Jony Ive

Following the company’s exec shakeup in 2012, it’s time for some more changes for Apple’s hardware and software team: Human Interface Vice President Greg Christie will soon leave Apple, sources familiar with the matter tell 9to5Mac.

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The departure is the result of a clash between Christie and Apple Senior Vice President Jony Ive, sources say. After the exec shakeup in 2012, Ive took control away from long-time Human Interface design head Christie.

Previous to this shakeup, all Apple software design has been led by Christie, who has reported to Craig Federighi, and Ive has been attending interface design meetings and providing instruction…

The design shakeup at Apple will result in Christie soon leaving the company, with all software designers now working directly under Ive with the rest of his industrial design team instead of within Federighi’s engineering group. Sources say that Christie’s upcoming departure is significant and stems from a falling out with Ive.

Christie and Ive reportedly clashed over design direction when the latter tasked Apple’s Human Interface team with redesigning iOS 7. As a result, Ive reportedly circumvented Christie’s leadership of the team.

Greg Christie’s departure means a huge loss for Apple, as he played a key role in Apple’s design aesthetic; he has hundreds of patents in his name, like the iconic “Slide to Unlock” patent. While he mostly worked in the background, he recently was in the spotlight as the second round of the Apple vs. Samsung patent litigation kicked off.

The original iPhone designer exits the company at a time when Apple has made its most significant change since the launch of the iPhone in 2007, with iOS 7’s flat design, and would like to continue in this direction. iOS 8 is said to retain the same design but bring welcome performance improvements. Also, the company seems to be working on flattening the design of Mac OS X as well with OS X 10.10.

With Ive being the key figure in product design decisions, the latest software design group shakeup will likely bring other benefits such as better hardware and software integration.