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Jony Ive’s Departure Means Big Changes Are Coming to Apple

Shockwaves ran through Apple's universe this week after the company's iconic design guru, Jony Ive, announced his departure.

Ive told the Financial Times on Thursday that he plans to start a new design firm, LoveFrom, after he leaves Apple later this year. He'll run it alongside longtime Apple industrial designer Marc Newson, who is also leaving Apple. Together, they'll tackle product designs for Apple, as well as any other client that comes knocking.

Needless to say, Ive's pending departure is big news. Some industry watchers questioned what Apple's product designs will be like without Ive's leadership and whether they'll be as good as before.

This comes even though Ive had been easing his way out of Apple over the past few years. He started to move out of day-to-day operations a couple years ago, and was only working at Apple's headquarters a couple times a week, according to a Bloomberg report.

But as big as Ive's departure may be, it wasn't the only topic that mattered this week. Apple also confirmed that it bought autonomous car startup Drive.ai while also dominating the smartwatch market. Meanwhile, Apple executive Eddy Cue confirmed that Apple Music now has 60 million users, reflecting strong growth from 50 million users in January.

Read on for more on those and other Apple headlines from the past week:

So Long, Jony Ive

Jony Ive is leaving Apple later this year to start a new design company with fellow Apple industrial designer Marc Newson. Apple will be the firm's first client, though LoveFrom will work with other, unidentified companies. In an interview with the Financial Times, Ives called it a "natural and gentle time to make this change." Apple COO will take on additional responsibilities in design after Ive's departure. It's a major loss for Apple, which has relied on Ive to design everything from the iPhone to the iPad, and several Macs. But could it be an opportunity for other tech companies that could hire Ives for their own projects? If Ive signed a non-compete with Apple, not likely.

Apple Car Lives (Maybe)

Apple confirmed this week that it has acquired autonomous vehicle startup Drive.ai for an undisclosed amount. It was a somewhat surprising acquisition for many industry watchers who thought Apple's self-driving car ambitions had been shelved. Now, it appears those efforts are in full swing and Drive.ai will play a role in Apple's efforts. But considering Drive.ai focused on autonomous van technology, it's unclear what its staff will do at Apple.

The Dominant Apple Watch

Apple Watch shipments rose 22% year-over-year in 2018, helping Apple secure a 37% global market share in smartwatches, Counterpoint Research said this week. Apple's closest competitor, China-based smartwatch maker iMoo, was far behind with a 10% share. Samsung took the third spot with 9%. So, why is Apple so dominant in smartwatches? I explored that question after talking to some analysts this week. You can read about it here.

Mac Pro Moves to China

Apple has moved its new Mac Pro manufacturing to China, The Wall Street Journal reported this week. The previous Mac Pro, which was released in 2013, was manufactured in the U.S., but Apple apparently needs to keep its costs down on the new, $6,000 machine and decided to move its manufacturing to China. The move comes amid trade tensions between the U.S. and China and runs counter to Apple's reported desire to move at least some of its manufacturing out of China.

Improve Privacy with iOS 13 Beta

Apple this week released its iOS 13 beta, allowing users who don't mind some bugs and quirks in their mobile operating systems the opportunity to try it out. You can download the software for free after signing up for the test on the company's website. But before you do, check out my colleague Xavier Harding's look at how iOS 13 beta can improve privacy.

Apple Music Grows

In an interview with French publication Numerama this week, Apple senior vice president of services Eddy Cue said that Apple Music now has 60 million subscribers, up from 50 million in January. That's solid growth, but the service remains behind Spotify's 100 million paid subscribers. Apple Music's individual plans cost $9.99 monthly while family memberships cost $14.99 for up to six people.

A Helping Hand for Japan Display

Apple has agreed to invest $100 million in Japan Display to help the screen manufacturer in its restructuring, according to a report by Japanese news publication Asahi. The news followed reports that Japan Display is having financial troubles and was seeking investment from Apple to stay afloat. In addition to the cash infusion, Apple will move more of its display work from manufacturers in China to Japan Display.

One More Thing

Looking for more insight into the Democratic candidates vying to take on President Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election? Apple News has released a new candidate guide within the Apple News app that provides information about each candidate and the latest news.