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Apple Faces Design Exodus: VP of Product Design for iPhone and Apple Watch to Depart

by Barbara

Critical Departure Raises Concerns About Apple’s Design Leadership

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In another blow to Apple’s design team, the company is set to lose its Vice President of Product Design, Tang Tan, who oversees crucial hardware development for the iPhone and Apple Watch. The departure, scheduled for February, adds to a series of significant exits that have raised questions about the design-centric approach that once defined Apple.

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Mark Gurman, reporting for Bloomberg, broke the news, highlighting Tan’s pivotal role in shaping the hardware design of Apple’s flagship products. As a mechanical engineer, Tan not only contributed to the iPhone and Apple Watch design but also led the acoustics team responsible for innovations like AirPods. Despite being positioned a few tiers below design luminaries like Jony Ive and Evans Hankey, Tan played a substantial role in the development of products that drive roughly half of Apple’s revenue.

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This departure follows a trend of key figures leaving Apple’s hardware division over the past year, raising concerns about the company’s ability to sustain its reputation for meticulously crafted products. While Apple continues to deliver industry-leading devices, the departure of longstanding talent signals potential challenges ahead.

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Insiders have previously noted a shift away from Apple as a “design-led company,” with the departure of design icons Ive and Hankey. Tan’s exit further underscores concerns about the company’s design leadership, prompting speculation about the impact on future innovations.

Apple’s dominance over decades has been closely tied to its tenured talent, making recent departures a point of discussion within the tech community. The company’s leadership faces the challenge of maintaining its innovative edge amid a changing design landscape and increased departures from its design ranks.

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