Another Key Person Leaves Apple: Returning to Their Former Boss to Assist with the Development of an AI Phone

Another Key Person Leaves Apple: Returning to Their Former Boss to Assist with the Development of an AI Phone

Key Apple Design Executive Departs

Another pivotal figure in Apple’s design team, who has influenced a multitude of design decisions for the Apple Watch and iPhones, is making an exit. Tang Tan, the Vice President who has been overseeing two crucial design teams, will return to work with his original boss starting from February. This boss is none other than Jony Ive, who departed from Apple in 2019 and shortly thereafter established the design firm LoveFrom. In partnership with Sam Altman of OpenAI, LoveFrom is set to help create something akin to the “iPhone of artificial intelligence”.

Loss of a Major Design Influence for Apple

For Apple, this loss is significant as it means replacing someone who was key to all prior design changes in their phones and watches. Tang Tan will discontinue his work with Apple in February, however, according to sources, LoveFrom already has several design proposals and hardware product concepts on hand that could become the next step in evolution. Tan is anticipated to focus primarily on the hardware aspect, while OpenAI will provide all the necessary software tools. Yet, development is still in its early stages, meaning any potential commercial product will take some time to hit the market.

The Future of AI-Integrated Smartphones

What is being developed behind the scenes? There appear to be two possible developmental paths. The first could be the “AI Phone”: a smartphone with built-in artificial intelligence, expected to become the buzzword of the following year. Beyond that is Humane AI, pushing the boundaries of artificial intelligence in a completely new direction, markedly diverging from the current concept of a modern smartphone.

The Ongoing Exodus from Apple

The mass departure of employees from Apple continues as Jony Ive subtly and progressively pulls them under his wing. From the original team that worked under him in 2019, 14 have now left Apple, with only a few remaining loyal to the company. Considering Apple employees more broadly, Ive has attracted over 20 to his side. While Ive served as a consultant for Apple until 2022, this year saw the severance of all ties.

Can Apple’s Alumni Deliver a Truly Unique Product?

Will the defectors from Apple be able to bring a truly unique product to market, or will the global media continue to mention them solely because of their past successes with Apple? After all, one cannot live indefinitely on past achievements…

Source: Bloomberg
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