Apple's Industrial Design Team Loses Three Employees

Apple's famous and close-knit industrial design team that works under Apple design chief Jony Ive is undergoing major changes, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal.

Three longtime industrial design team employees are leaving the team. Rico Zorkendorfer and Daniele De Iuliis both left Apple recently, and another team member, Julian Hönig, is leaving in the next few months. Together, Zorkendorfer and De Iuliis have worked at Apple for a combined 35 years, while Hönig has been on the team for a decade.


Zorkendorfer told The Wall Street Journal that he decided to leave Apple to spend time with his family, while the other two declined to comment.

Apple's industrial design team is made up of approximately two dozen employees and is overseen by Jony Ive directly. These employees are responsible for the look and feel of Apple products, including the iPhone.

According to Above Avalon analyst Neil Cybart, who spoke to The Wall Street Journal, it "makes sense" for the team's composition to shift as Apple adopts new products in areas like augmented reality and autonomous vehicles. The industrial design team is described as "all-powerful" at Apple.

This group is all-powerful in Apple," said Neil Cybart, who runs Above Avalon, a site dedicated to Apple analysis. "Industrial designers have the final say over the user experience found with Apple devices, and they really do work like a family in a way. No one would argue, though, that new blood is a bad thing."

The three industrial design team members are departing the company at a time when ‌iPhone‌ sales have slowed and services are becoming more important than ever to Apple. Apple has announced a multitude of new services, including Apple News+, Apple Arcade, Apple Card, and Apple TV+.

Only a few members of the industrial design team have left during the last decade, but it has seen more frequent departures in recent years. Danny Coster left in 2016 to join GoPro, and Christopher Stringer left in 2017 and launched an audio startup currently in stealth mode.

According to one of the designers who left the team, Zorkendorfer, there are "incredible new designers" at Apple. "What we've been able to do the last few decades will continue," he told The Wall Street Journal.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
18 months ago
No tears are wasted if these 3 happened to work on the butterfly keyboards.
Score: 62 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
18 months ago
Was about to celebrate when I misread that they lost Ive.
Score: 60 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
18 months ago
So they have a design team after all.
Started to doubt it after seeing the recent iPhone’s protruding design rumours

The triple lens protruding camera design looks like a tiny little ceramic top stove for cooking very very tiny little eggs on.

Now if this is not cute, I don’t know what is
Score: 57 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
18 months ago
A good opportunity to employ someone from the "Steve Jobs school of design":

"Design is how it works."

With emphasis on "it works". Also known as "form follows function".

Make the things work properly first, then beauty will follow by itself.
Score: 45 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
18 months ago
wouldnt really say have been designing much lately. more like slight modifications.
Score: 37 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
18 months ago
Must've been an awesome time for them at Apple. Riding the iPhone 6 design for 4 years, good job!
Score: 36 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Here's How You Can Download iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 Around the World [It's Out]

Wednesday September 16, 2020 2:36 am PDT by
Apple's official public release of iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 dropped on Wednesday, September 16, just a day after the company released the Golden Master to third-party developers. Also set to be made available to the general public for the first time are watchOS 7 and tvOS 14. Getting Started With iOS 14 Video Click image to watch iOS 14 Getting Started While that's left a lot of developers...

When Will the iPhone 12 Launch? Here's What We Know

Wednesday September 16, 2020 6:12 am PDT by
Yesterday's "Time Flies" Apple event saw the release of the Apple Watch Series 6, Apple Watch SE, iPad 8, and iPad Air 4, but no new iPhone models. Rumors before the event strongly alleged that it would not see the unveiling of new iPhones, with many reports pointing to an October launch. The lack of new iPhone models yesterday seems to confirm that the iPhone 12 lineup will not appear...

Apple Releases iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 With Home Screen Redesign, App Library, Compact UI, Translate App, Scribble Support, App Clips, and More

Wednesday September 16, 2020 12:48 pm PDT by
Apple has released iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, the newest operating system updates designed for the iPhone and iPad. As with all of Apple's software updates, iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 can be downloaded for free. iOS 14 is available on the iPhone 6s and later, while iPadOS 14 is available on the iPad Air 2 and later. The updates are available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To ...

Apple Updates AirPods 2 and AirPods Pro Firmware to Version 3A283

Monday September 14, 2020 11:24 am PDT by
Apple today released new 3A283 firmware updates for the second-generation AirPods and the AirPods Pro. The second-generation AirPods are being updated from the 2D15 firmware they were previously running, while the AirPods Pros are being updated from the 2D27 firmware they had installed previously. Apple does not provide details on what's included in refreshed firmware so we don't know what's ...

Spotify Says Apple One Bundle Will Cause 'Irreparable Harm to Developer Community'

Tuesday September 15, 2020 12:26 pm PDT by
Apple today announced Apple One, a series of new subscription bundles that provide access to various Apple services at a combined monthly price. In response, Spotify sent out statements (via Peter Kafka) to the press decrying Apple's anti-competitive behavior and calling on "competition authorities" to stop Apple before it is able to cause "irreparable harm" to developers.Once again, Apple...

iOS 14, iPadOS 14, watchOS 7, and tvOS 14 Will Be Released September 16

Tuesday September 15, 2020 11:06 am PDT by
Apple today announced that iOS 14, iPadOS 14, watchOS 7, and tvOS 14 will be officially released on Wednesday, September 16. Apple has seeded the final Golden Master beta versions of each update to developers in advance. ‌iOS 14‌ and iPadOS 14 introduce dozens of new features, including a redesigned Home Screen that supports widgets on the iPhone and iPad for the first time. For more...

New AirPods Pro Firmware Introduces Spatial Audio Support and Automatic Switching

Monday September 14, 2020 12:22 pm PDT by
The new 3A283 firmware that Apple released for the AirPods Pro today appears to introduce support for Spatial Audio, a new feature coming to the higher-end AirPods with iOS 14. Multiple reports on Twitter and the MacRumors forums indicate that the firmware update adds a "Spatial Audio" option to the Control Center, which can be activated to enable the feature. Note that using Spatial Audio...

Apple Releases Safari 14 for Mac Ahead of macOS Big Sur Launch

Wednesday September 16, 2020 1:40 pm PDT by
macOS Big Sur didn't launch alongside iOS 14, iPadOS 14, tvOS 14, and watchOS 7 today, with the update coming later this fall, but Apple did release the Safari 14 update for macOS Catalina and macOS Mojave users. Safari 14 brings improved performance, customizable start pages, a Privacy Report to see which cross-site trackers are being blocked, and a new tab bar design that provides tab...

Full Transcript of Apple's 'Time Flies' Event With Apple Watch and iPad Updates

Tuesday September 15, 2020 8:46 am PDT by
Apple's virtual "Time Flies" event kicks off today at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time, with Apple expected to debut new Apple Watch and iPad models, but it appears we may not see the iPhone 12 until next month. While we're not expecting to see new iPhones today, Apple's software updates for its various platforms are likely nearly ready for launch, so we may be hearing more about them today. Check...

Everything Apple Announced at Today's iPad and Apple Watch Event in Just Seven Minutes

Tuesday September 15, 2020 2:19 pm PDT by
Apple today held its annual September event, but this year was a bit different because no new iPhones were announced. The "Time Flies" event focused on the Apple Watch Series 6 and the iPad Air, and saw the debut of a new Apple One services bundle. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. It took Apple an hour to introduce the new devices, but we've recapped the event in...