Another Apple industrial designer is leaving the company

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Airbnb logo 1
Miklu Silvanto, who joined Apple in October 2011, is leaving the company to join Airbnb.
Photo: Airbnb

Another Apple industrial designer is leaving Jony Ive’s iconic design team. Miklu Silvanto, who joined Apple in October 2011, is joining Airbnb’s new offshoot design studio Samara.

In his new role, Silvanto will help design future house prototypes. Samara has hired a number of experts in disciplines ranging from industrial design to roboticists and urban planners.

Breaking down Apple’s latest design studio video

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Apple Infinite Loop II
Apple's secretive Industrial Design Studio is on the ground floor of Infinite Loop II, one of the main buildings of Apple's Cupertino campus.

To promote his new design book, Jony Ive has made a video giving a very rare peek inside Apple’s ultra-secretive design studio.

The video is only the second one that I know of that shows the inside of the “studio behind the Iron Curtain” — so called because it’s so sealed off from the outside world. (The other was last year’s 60 Minutes episode).

While watching it, I recognized a lot of details that I mention in my book about Jony Ive but I don’t think are generally well-known. So I screenshot the video and made a few notes. Warning: This one’s for the design nerds.

Jony Ive’s design book is much more than an ego trip

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Designed by Apple in California book
Apple's Industrial Design team has published a book of its work over two decades: Designed by Apple in California.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Increasingly, some Apple fans think Jony Ive has lost it.

He’s killing ports and headphone jacks left and right. The latest MacBooks value form over function. He’s designing gold watches for the 1 percent.

And now his glossy new photo book, Designed by Apple in California, looks like a $300, linen-bound ego trip.

Jony Ive goes inside Apple’s design lab in new video

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macbook pro
Not a single detail goes unnoticed at Apple.
Photo: Apple

Going inside Apple’s design lab is a rare privilege some Apple execs don’t even get, but Jony Ive is giving the world a glimpse inside his lab to celebrate the company’s new book.

In Apple’s latest video, Jony Ive’s disembodied voice floats through his Industrial Design Studio while describing the processes for making the company’s iconic gadgets. Shots of Apple’s prototyping machines can be seen, as well as the product benches where every single detail of a product is analyzed and reconsidered.

Take a look:

Why Jony Ive rides in a chauffeured Bentley

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This is the luxurious interior of the Bentley Mulsanne, Jony Ive's chauffeur-driven car.
This is the luxurious interior of the Bentley Mulsanne, Jony Ive's chauffeur-driven car.
Photo: Bentley Motors

The striking thing about Motor Trend‘s piece on the rumored Apple car is all the talk of the “user experience.”

The various auto designers and experts interviewed by Motor Trend speculate that Apple will try to redefine the car “experience.” They talk about stuff like acoustics, and look and feel, rather than specs like miles per gallon or engine torque.

They predict that Apple will bring a better “user experience” to the car of the future, not just a better physical product.

This reminded me of interviewing Apple’s designers for my Jony Ive book. They explained that the design group takes exactly this approach when thinking about new Apple products. Instead of starting with chip speeds or screen resolutions, they begin by asking each other how the new product should make the user feel.

And thinking about this made me realize why Jony Ive has a chauffeur. It’s not because he’s a one percenter. It’s about Project Titan, Apple’s future car.

Why the departure of Apple designer Daniel Coster matters

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Daniel Coster, fourth from left, is leaving Apple's vaunted industrial design team.
Daniel Coster, fourth from left, is leaving Apple's vaunted industrial design team.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

The departure of veteran Apple industrial designer Daniel Coster is significant because, like the Mafia, no one ever leaves Jony Ive’s design studio.

Coster, a core member of Apple’s design team for more than 20 years, is perhaps only the third member of Ive’s tight-knit industrial design group to leave in almost two decades. And one of the others died.