A widely quoted Bloomberg report, quoting unnamed “people familiar with Apple’s inner workings,” says the “Mac team has lost clout with the famed industrial design group led by Jony Ive and the company's software team.” I don’t know if this is true or not. For all I know, Apple’s design guru may spend 25 hours a day thinking of ways to make better Macs.
However, if Bloomberg is correct, why not give someone else free reign to do something revolutionary with the Mac? What about Richard Howarth, Apple’svice president of Industrial Design?
He joined Apple in 1996 and has been involved in the design of nearly every Apple product since the original iMac. Howarth — who has a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Design from Ravensbourne — led the design of each generation of iPhone and, most recently, the Apple Watch.
As head of the Industrial Design group, he leads a multinational team of designers, CAD sculptors and model makers “responsible for creating and imagining the future of Apple products,” according to his official Apple bio. A US Patent and Trademark Office search reveals 806 patents naming Howarth as a co-inventor.
Obviously, the man knows his job. What if Apple gave him — and any other members of the Apple industrial design team still passionate about the Mac — free reign to come up with some revolutionary designs. And by revolutionary, I don’t mean just skinnier. That seems to be Ive’s obsession, and the continual push for ever slimmer products makes more sense with iOS devices than macOS devices.
Let Howarth and his team could focus on professional Macs that appeal to the creative community and “non-pro” Macs designed for the rest of us.
Curved screen iMacs? Mac laptops with LTE support? Macs with support for external GPUs? Who knows what an industrial design team with passion for Apple’s desktops and laptops could come up with. I’d love to find out.
In a post to an employee message board obtained by TechCrunch, Apple CEO Tim Cook had this to say: “Some folks in the media have raised the question about whether we’re committed to desktops. If there’s any doubt about that with our teams, let me be very clear: we have great desktops in our roadmap. Nobody should worry about that.”
That’s a great soundbite. Now it’s time for Apple to put its money where its mouth is when it comes to the Mac.