Apple CEO Tim Cook characterized a recent report about his relationship with famed designer Jony Ive and the circumstances that led to his pending departure "absurd," adding that "the conclusions just don't match with reality." The strongly worded statement goes on to essentially say that Apple's design team is in a good place, contrary to what was written about the company and the situation.
"At a base level, [the report] shows a lack of understanding about how the design team works and how Apple works. It distorts the relationships, decisions, and events to the point that we just don't recognize the company it claims to describe," Cook told NBC News in an email.
The report Cook references appears in The Wall Street Journal. It describes a growing disconnect between lead designer Ive—and the design team as a whole—with upper-management at Apple. According to the report, Ive had a much stronger relationship with deceased Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.
One of the main problems, according to the report, is that Apple's higher ups are more focused on the operations side of the business, and less on design elements. One example it provided was the Apple Watch—supposedly Ive saw it as more of a fashion accessory, while Apple envisioned it as an extension of the iPhone.
The report also noted that Ive "grew frustrated" with Apple's board becoming increasingly populated with people who have backgrounds in finance and operations. Ive, in contrast, is an industrial design and technology visionary, similar to Jobs.
When we wrote about the report yesterday, we noted that we were not sure how much of it was true versus sensationalized Apple reporting, especially in light of the fact that Ive will continue designing products for the company, just not as an employee—he is starting his own design firm. As far as Cook is concerned, the report misses the mark entirely.
"The design team is phenomenally talented," Cook added "As Jony has said, they’re stronger than ever, and I have complete confidence that they will thrive under Jeff, Evans, and Alan’s leadership. We know the truth, and we know the incredible things they’re capable of doing. The projects they’re working on will blow you away."
On that latter point, time will tell if the products Apple is working on will blow us away.