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Something is rotten in Cupertino. After more than 20 years with Apple, Greg Christie, who played a key role in the development of the original iPhone and other major Apple products, is allegedly leaving the company due to "friction" (to use 9to5Mac's word) with design chief Jony Ive. As a result, Ive will have even more direct control over the design of Apple's software.
Christie's involvement with the iPhone runs deep: he is, for instance, the man responsible for the signature "slide to unlock" design of the iPhone's home screen, along with around 100 other patents associated with Apple.
Lately Christie has been working on software under the leadership of Craig Federighi, but 9to5Mac reports that this will end because Ive and Christie haven't been getting along. According to the report, all of the software designers formerly under Christie will now work directly for Ive on the latter's industrial design team rather than on Federighi's engineering team.
If you disliked the changes made with iOS 7, Christie's apparently with you. This radical overhaul of iOS was allegedly the main cause of all the headbutting, although the exact details of what caused the split currently aren't known. It's hard to see this as good news for Apple on any level, as Christie has been on the Apple team since 1996 — way back in the days when the Newton came out.
Apple released a statement to the Financial Times this afternoon acknowledging the split in neutral language. "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."
Follow this article's writer, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.