Why Jony Ive’s promotion means more design, not less

Jony Ive and Steve Jobs talk during the first public FaceTime demo, which took place at WWDC 2010 in San Francisco.
Jony Ive and Steve Jobs talk during the first public FaceTime demo, which took place at WWDC 2010 in San Francisco.
Photo: Mathieu Thouvenin/Flickr CC

Apple is such a strange and secretive company, the news that Jony Ive has been promoted is instead widely interpreted that he’s on his way out.

The Telegraph revealed Monday that Ive has been promoted to Chief Design Officer and freed from the day-to-day running of Apple’s Industrial Design studio.

This was greeted with speculation that Ive is actually stepping back. He’s taking it easy, many theorized, easing into semi-retirement. He’s already halfway out the door, and will soon move back to the United Kingdom, seems to be the consensus among pundits.

I think this is Kremlinology in the extreme. And a little perverse. Apple is often obtuse, and sometimes disingenuous or even dishonest, but I think this news should be taken at face value.

Apple has characterized the move as a promotion, and it is. Ive has been moved up into a rare position that gives him a ton of freedom. He now has the breathing room to be what he really wants to be: a pure designer.

In fact, the promotion allows him to take on an even stronger and more Steve Jobs-like role. We will see more design work from him, not less.

Everything we know about Richard Howarth, Apple’s new ‘badass’ head of industrial design

Richard Howarth is the new head of Apple's legendary Industrial Design studio.
Richard Howarth is the new head of Apple's legendary Industrial Design studio.
Photo: Facebook

This is Richard Howarth, Apple’s newly appointed vice president of industrial design, and the man who has to fill Jony Ive’s (calf-leather) shoes.

Ive has been promoted to chief design officer to do more “blue sky thinking,” leaving Howarth to run the legendary Industrial Design studio that has been Apple’s ideas factory and product foundry for more than two decades.

Howarth is no stranger to the studio. He’s worked there for 20 years, heading up the design of the iPod, iPhone and a string of MacBooks, among many other products. He’s African-born, London-educated and has been Ive’s second-in-command for some time, earning a reputation among colleagues as a “badass.”

Headaches await if you break your Apple Watch

Good luck trying to get a broken Apple Watch repaired. Replacements are as scarce as brand new ones.
Good luck trying to get a broken Apple Watch repaired. Replacements are as scarce as brand new ones.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

What happens when you try to get a broken Apple Watch repaired? Not much of anything!

I know this because my Apple Watch broke last week and I have a repair order pending.

Luckily, the watch is covered by Apple’s AppleCare+ extended warranty, which covers accidental damage. It also offers two-day express replacement. No downtime without your new precious.

This would be great, but Apple doesn’t have any watches to replace it with. Apple’s watches are in such short supply, it might be Christmas before a replacement is available.

On eBay and Craigslist, every Apple Watch is pure gold

Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
The Apple Watch is a hot ticket on eBay and Craigslist as owners cash in on long wait times. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
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With shipping dates for new Apple Watch orders slipping to July and beyond, some owners are selling their devices in hopes of turning a quick profit.

It seems to be working. There’s a brisk trade of Apple Watches on eBay and Craigslist, with some used devices fetching up to twice their retail value.

“I am wearing the watch as we speak,” said one seller, who identified himself as Ben and has a stainless steel Apple Watch on Craigslist for more than $200 over the list price.

“I’ve been wearing the Watch since I posted that hoping to get a small profit,” he said. “Part of me hoped nobody would offer me the extra few hundred because I really wanted to wear this gorgeous first-gen product! I haven’t worn a watch in 10 years.”

Meet the Stromer ST2, the best electric bike on the road

Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
The ST2 electric bike from Stromer will put a big smile on your face. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
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Oh. My. Gosh. The Stromer ST2 electric bike is so much fun, it should not be street legal.

Two weeks ago I had zero interest in electric bikes. I’ve ridden traditional bicycles my entire life and I love them. The very idea of an electric bike was repellent — even in a hilly city like San Francisco. Hills and exercise are the entire point.

Then I test-rode the Stromer ST2.

Three seconds in, I’m laughing like a madman as the ST2 takes off like a rocket. I spend the next 30 minutes flying up and over the hill where I live, laughing like a loon and having the time of my life.

Now I’m a convert. The ST2 is the best electric bike on the market. It performs like a champ, has a ton of high-tech features (including an iOS app), and actually looks cool and not ridiculous.

Best of all, it’s a screaming blast to ride.