Apple design wunderkind Sir Jony Ive is leaving the company after 27 years and Apple is scrambling to ensure the public that this is fine, everything is fine.
After Apple announced the chief design officer’s imminent departure to start his own design firm Apple’s market value took a dive before recovering big on Monday. Then, on Sunday the Wall Street Journal reported that Ive’s creative involvement has been waning since Steve Jobs died in 2011 and he found the reign of Tim Cook to be uninspiring. Ive was reportedly disappointed that Tim Cook took over as he had never had much interest in product design, according to the report, which asserts that, “people in the design studio rarely saw Mr. Cook, who they say showed little interest in the product development process—a fact that dispirited Mr. Ive.”
But Cook is displeased with the WSJ reporting, which is based on a year’s worth of interviews with people in Ive’s orbit. On Monday afternoon NBC News media reporter Dylan Byers tweeted out a short email that Cook reportedly sent him, in which the executive called the story “absurd,” asserting that the article’s assertions and reporting “just don’t match with reality.” He also believes the report “distorts relationships, decisions and events to the point that we just don’t recognize the company it claims to describe.”
Cook seems to have written the email in haste because it was sent from his iPhone. We know this because the email sign-off included the default signature method “Sent from my iPhone.”
It also signals a level of authenticity. Like many of us, Tim’s email signature tells the world that he’s using an iPhone. This exchange between Byers and Cook takes on an off-the-cuff quality that’s relatable. It’s just one journalist trying to get the facts, and one uber-rich CEO expressing personal anguish over alleged facts not being actual facts. Which facts are wrong in the Wall Street Journal piece? We’re not sure and no followup questions or specific examples of reporting that the Apple CEO took issue with were included when Byers wrote up the tweet for NBC News.
All we know is that this rare instance of Cook taking it upon himself to personally respond to a story (through a reporter who is unconnected to the outlet that initially ran it) definitely wasn’t a choreographed PR move and most certainly was sent from an iPhone.