Apple’s iPhone design chief jumps ship to work with Jony Ive

Apple’s iPhone and Watch design chief is leaving the company to work with Jony Ive, the man who led Apple’s design decisions until 2019 and who was crucial in creating the look of some of its most iconic products.

Tang Tan, who joined Apple a decade ago, is moving to LoveFrom, the design firm founded by Ive, after leaving the tech giant four years ago, according to Apple tipster and Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman.

Citing people familiar with the matter, Gurman said Tan will lead hardware engineering for a new project founded by Ivey and AI visionary Sam Altman, who co-founded and now heads ChatGPS maker OpenAI.

The Ive/Altman-led venture made headlines in September, when the pair were in talks about creating a product called “the iPhone of artificial intelligence.”

There have been no public announcements about the ambitious-sounding endeavor, but the news of Tan reportedly moving to LoveFrom to help with the venture suggests it’s still very much a work in progress.

According to Gurman, Tan will “shape the look and capabilities of the new products”, but he added that while the first products – apparently for the home – are in the early development stage, the current focus is on building a team that will create concepts.

Gurman noted how Tan’s exit marks the further disintegration of the design team I built at Apple, adding that more than a dozen members have left since Ive left, and only six remain in the position. It is reported that more than 20 employees have transferred from Apple to Ive’s LoveFrom.

With a team in place and me joining Altman, hopefully 2024 will be the year in which the effort delivers some big news about its ambitions, or even unveils its first product. Other companies are already demonstrating phone-replacement devices with AI, so Ive and his crew won’t want to leave it too long before introducing anything themselves.

As for who will replace Tan at Apple, reports suggest that instead of bringing in a replacement, his duties have been divided among existing personnel.

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