The lead designer of the original iPhone is leaving Apple

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The original iPhone was one of the best looking iPhones.
The original iPhone was one of the best-looking iPhones.
Photo: Apple

One of the top Apple product designers of the past two decades is parting ways with the company, according to a new report that reveals there’s been a big shake-up on Jony Ive’s team.

Christopher Stringer was the lead designer of the original iPhone and was one of the top two or three designers on Apple’s industrial design team. Now he has apparently decided to jettison from the company right before Apple moves into its new spaceship.

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.

Richard Howarth and Alan Dye get all the credit for Apple’s iconic brand

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The pair helping to lead Apple into the future.
The pair helping to lead Apple into the future.
Photo: Apple/Adweek

Adweek has released its Creative 100 list, honoring the people it views as the “current masters of the creative idea” across advertising, branded content, technology, products, and pop culture.

While it’s no surprise that Apple would make such a list, what is interesting is that none of the usual suspects appear. There’s no sign of Jony Ive, Angela Ahrendts, or even Tim Cook. Instead, the people Adweek claim are driving Apple’s creativity today are Richard Howarth and Alan Dye.

In case you don’t immediately know the names, this is the pair who now control Apple’s Industrial Design studio and UI departments, after Jony Ive was promoted to chief design officer to do more “blue sky thinking.” Here’s what Adweek has to say about Howarth and Dye:

Jony Ive chooses his successors, this week on The CultCast

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There's no place like home.
There's no place like home.
Photo: Objectified

This week: Jony Ive’s big promotion has him handing over the keys to Apple’s legendary industral design lab, so we have to wonder… is this step one in an Ive succession plan? Plus: the surprising suitability of Ive’s replacement, Richard Howarth; Apple VP Jeff Williams lets some curious Apple car comments slip; why Apple Watch will get a lot faster come fall; Leander reveals his fetish for the weird whispering women of Youtube; and stay tuned till the end for a very romantic Get To Know Ur Cultist!

Our thanks to CultCloth for supporting this episode. If you’re obsessive about keeping your iPhone, iPad, Mac, DSLR, glasses, and other gadgets in sparkling clean condition, you’ll love ‘em. Use code “CultCast” at checkout to score a free 8×8 CleanCloth.

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

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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.”