updated 04:04 pm EDT, Wed April 9, 2014
Could have significant impact on iOS 9 and beyond
Apple's Human Interface VP, Greg Christie, will soon leave the company following a conflict with design lead Jonathan Ive, sources say. Ive assumed control of both hardware and software interface design after iOS head Scott Forstall was forced out. Until this week, however, Christie was more directly responsible for Apple software design, and is credited not only with helping to invent the iOS interface -- including patented concepts like slide-to-unlock -- but influencing the direction of app design via his WWDC presentations.
Christie previously reported to another Apple executive, senior Software Engineering VP Craig Federighi, while Ive simply attended design meetings and offered his own instruction. When it came to iOS 7 though, Ive and Christie are said to fundamentally clashed over design principles, leading to Ive circumventing Christie's role. In Christie's absence, all software designers will allegedly answer directly to Ive. Both Apple PR and Christie have so far ignored media inquiries about the situation.
The departure of Christie, if confirmed, could potentially have radical effects on the future of iOS. Although most of the essentials of iOS 8 are likely being finalized, iOS 9 could go in a completely different direction, since Ive has unrestrained influence apart from other top-level executives like CEO Tim Cook.