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Apple confirms iOS leader Christie leaving, but denies rift

updated 12:36 am EDT, Thu April 10, 2014

Multiple sources confirm retirement was announced internally weeks ago

Earlier reports that senior iOS engineer and leader of Apple's Human Interface Group Greg Christie was leaving the company over tension with software and hardware design chief Sir Jonathan Ive appear to have been half-correct. Multiple sources have come forward to note that Christie is retiring, but had announced the move weeks ago internally.

Apple took the unusual step of providing statements to various news outlets that "Greg has been planning to retire later this year after nearly 20 years at Apple. He has made vital contributions to Apple products across the board, and built a world-class Human Interface team which has worked closely with Jony for many years." Christie came to Apple in 1996 along with the return of Steve Jobs as CEO of the company.

Christie will be staying on with Apple for an unspecified time longer (some report until the end of the year), and just testified on behalf of the company during its second patent trial against Samsung. None of the confirmations rule out the possibility that Christie and Ive have had a falling out, but TechCrunch reported that Christie's retirement was announced to engineers and executives early so that the company could effect a smooth transition as the Human Interface group begins reporting to Ive rather than Craig Federighi as it does now.

Pundit John Gruber of Daring Fireball has said that his sources acknowledge that Christie and Ive have disagreed on various issues, but that this has nothing to do with the retirement. Christie, as one of the team that created the initial OS X-based "iPhone OS" (now known as iOS) came to Apple along with Jobs when he returned to the company in the late 90s. He was also part of the team that created the iOS 7 update, and was in charge of briefing developers on the change at last year's Worldwide Developer's Conference.

"The basic gist I've heard is that Christie is a guy who's been in a high-pressure, high-profile job for 18 years, most of it reporting to Steve Jobs," Gruber wrote. "He's made a lot of money and is ready to enjoy it." While it is possible that the various sources are simply bolstering the company PR line, it can be said that Christie's decision not to leave immediately does suggest that the early reports may have been exaggerated.




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. pairof9s

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: 01-03-08

    Did you actually think they'd confirm that it was due to an internal rift?

  1. sammaffei

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 09-04-04

    Ive is how we got this new hodgepodge, "flata" interface. Hardware designers should remain hardware designers and not straddle software design. The fact Apple abandoned skeuomorphic because the industry was going that way, says it all (and the fact that Ive wished to burn the last remnants of Scott Forstall because of inner company political strife).

    Apple was at it's best when it didn't tow the line of the industry and went it's own way. And, Apple was at it's worst when it was trying to compete directly with or copy it's rivals. Remember the Performa line and the Windows 95 lawsuits. Sounds awfully similar to 7" tablets, 5" iPhones , and the Samsung lawsuits. We're going back to the late 80s / early 90s with the current Apple mindset. I give them 5 years and we'll be revisiting 1997 again.

  1. sammaffei

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 09-04-04

    Sorry, I meant to say "Windows 3.1" not "Windows 95".

  1. Grendelmon

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 12-26-07

    Originally Posted by sammaffeiView Post

    Ive is how we got this new hodgepodge, "flata" interface. Hardware designers should remain hardware designers and not straddle software design. The fact Apple abandoned skeuomorphic because the industry was going that way, says it all (and the fact that Ive wished to burn the last remnants of Scott Forstall because of inner company political strife).

    Apple was at it's best when it didn't tow the line of the industry and went it's own way. And, Apple was at it's worst when it was trying to compete directly with or copy it's rivals. Remember the Performa line and the Windows 95 lawsuits. Sounds awfully similar to 7" tablets, 5" iPhones , and the Samsung lawsuits. We're going back to the late 80s / early 90s with the current Apple mindset. I give them 5 years and we'll be revisiting 1997 again.




    sammaffei, I couldn't agree with you more.

    www.ubergizmo.com/2014/04/leaked-apple-slides-shows-their-concern-over-the-competition/?

  1. Grendelmon

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 12-26-07

    http://9to5mac.com/2014/04/09/jony-ive-shakes-up-apples-software-design-group-iphone-interface-creator-greg-christie-departing/

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