Apple’s Hardware, Software Design Teams Working More Closely Together

Apple made big plans last year to start bringing its teams from different departments together in an effort to open communication and work more closely on projects, and it looks like the design teams have made that transition. 

While Apple’s software design team for iOS has typically sat in the dark on what the industrial design team is doing, the two have started collaborating more as of late — allowing software designers to get an idea of what devices their iOS projects will run on, and also give industrial designers a say in what the software will look like on their hardware.

For instance, Apple’s mobile interface team (the mobile software team), which is led by Greg Christie, is receiving information on device prototypes much earlier. Also, Jonathan Ive, who leads the industrial design team, has been sitting in on the human interface team’s review sessions. 

Ive has offered input for the next iOS design, saying it should be a “flat” design that is more simple.

Last October, Apple experienced a huge executive shakeup. Scott Forstall, the former vice president of iOS software, announced his departure from Apple after working with the company for about 15 years. He headed the launch of Apple’s maps application last year, which turned out to be a nightmare. 

At that same time, John Browett, head of Apple retail, was terminated after only six months with the company. He led a retail hiring formula last year that ended up being a huge mistake. This new formula caused Apple to lay off several new retail hires (some that only recently finished their training) and significantly cut the hours of part-timers back in August 2012. Needless to say, this didn’t make employees very happy, and Apple was forced to admit that it messed up. 

After these two were released, Apple made big changes within the company. Ive took over Human Interface (HI) for the company while Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, took on Siri, Maps, the iTunes Store, the App Store, iCloud and the iBookstore. Further, Bob Mansfield, Apple’s senior vice president of Mac and Devices Hardware Engineering, lead a new group called “Technologies” for all of Apple’s wireless teams while Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Mac Software Engineering, took over iOS and OS X. 

Apple also mentioned bringing different departments together in an effort to tighten software and hardware offerings for devices like the iPhone, iPad and Mac lines.

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