Apple’s iPhone designer is leaving to work with Jony Ive and Sam Altman on AI hardware

    Apple’s designer exodus continues as product design chief Tang Tan is leaving the company and joining Jony Ive’s design firm LoveFrom, according to Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman. There, he’ll reportedly work on a new artificial intelligence hardware project backed by OpenAI’s Sam Altman with aim of creating devices deploying the latest deep learning technology.

    Tan was in charge of design for Apple’s main products including the iPhone, Watch and AirPods, so his departure leaves a sizable hole. As part of LoveFrom, Tan will act as hardware design lead for the new AI project, with Altman providing the software running underneath. All products are supposedly in the early concept phases, with a focus on devices for the home. None of the parties (OpenAI, LoveFrom or Apple) have commented on the news.

    It was already known that Tan would be likely be leaving Apple, but it hadn’t yet been revealed where he’d go. Earlier this year, Jony Ive’s successor Evans Hankey left the company after just a few years in the product design chief role. In all, about 14 members of Ive’s former team have left Apple since 2019, with only a half dozen or so remaining. Ive worked as a consultant for Apple until 2022, and more than 20 former Apple employees have joined Ive under LoveFrom.

    Altman was recently fired (and then rehired) by OpenAI, in part because he was raising funds for other endeavors. One of those was the team-up with Ive to create AI hardware backed by Softbank, according to a previous Bloomberg report.

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