Apple’s design team just lost three of its biggest stars


Designers who helped make all these products a reality are leaving Apple.
Designers who helped make all these products a reality are leaving Apple.
Photo: Apple

Several highly experienced designers who created Apple’s best-selling products are leaving after working decades for the company.

The departure of these senior designers comes as Apple is shifting some of its focus from computers to services. And even cars.

A lot of experience

The three members of the Apple Industrial Design (ID) group who’ve decided to leave are Daniele De Iuliis, Rico Zorkendorfer and Julian Hönig, according to The Wall Street Journal.

De Iuliis came to work at Apple in 1991, so long ago that his project list includes the Mac Color Classic.

Zorkendorfer joined Apple in 2003. His LinkedIn profile says:

“At Apple Rico has been part of a small and intimate team that is in charge of conceiving and designing all Apple products, packaging and aspects of the retail experience.

“Working in close collaboration with the engineering and manufacturing teams Apple’s ID team also closely works together with the user interface, graphics and retail teams to support Apple’s unique product experience.”

Hönig was hired onto the Apple design team in 2010. Before then, he was a senior designer at Automobili Lamborghini and Audi. He also designed surfboards.

Zorkendorfer told the Wall Street Journal he left Apple because he wanted to spend more time with his family. It’s not known why the other two are making this change.

They were part of team of 20 to 25 designers known inside the company as the ID team. They are led by Jony Ive, Apple’s senior vice president of industrial design, who reports directly to CEO Tim Cook.

The times they are a-changin’

Apple recently held its first press conference devoted entirely to services, with no mention of hardware. This included announcing Apple TV+, Apple News+, the Apple Arcade gaming service and a consumer-friendly Apple credit card.

At the same time, the company is suffering a slowdown in demand for its most recent iPhone models, though its other products are reportedly performing well.

Whether a slightly shifting focus from hardware to services had anything to do with the departures of De Iuliis, Zorkendorfer or Hönig remains unknown.

More on Apple industrial design team shakeup

Find out more about the shakeup inside the vaunted Apple industrial design team on this week’s episode of The CultCast. On the free podcast, Cult of Mac publisher Leander Kahney talks a lot about how the ID team works and what these changes could mean for Apple.


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