In what is a major shakeup to Apple’s iOS team, Greg Christie, the man credited to having invented the slide-to-unlock feature, is set to leave the Cupertino-based company. Though Apple says that the reason behind the departure is an eventual retirement, 9To5Mac’s sources claim that the real reason is the repeated clashes with Apple’s senior vice president of design, Jony Ive.
Since the story came to light, Apple has released an official statement to the Financial Times, which reads:
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.
At Apple, Christie led the software design team, and reported to Craig Federighi. Federighi, if you remember, was the one who was put in charge of both iOS and OS X software after the exit of Scott Forstall following the Apple Maps fiasco. With his departure, the entire software design team along with the industrial design team will now be under Ive’s control. The falling out is said to have started when the designers were tasked to come up with a completely new look for the iOS and Ive and Christie repeatedly clashed over what direction to take. It was Ive’s vision to give iOS a much flatter look and head away from skeuomorphism, which was Christie’s idea. The falling out was so bad that Ive is said to have circumvented Christie during the iOS 7 design process.
Now that Ive is in control, his vision of the flatter iOS is here to stay and with OS X 10.10 set for a design revamp, we can expect to see a lot of design cues borrowed from iOS 7. As 9To5Mac puts it, “OS X will be revamped with a flatter look that loses the textures that Christie utilized to make the iPhone the most popular gadget on the planet.”
Christie has recently been in the news for appearing at the court where he talked about his slide-to-unlock invention, a feature Apple alleged Samsung copied. This is one of the five patents Apple claims inspired Samsung’s UI designs and is seeking more than $2 billion in damages.