Apple tightening design and software teams, report says

Apple's executive shuffle last October has already shifted how the company's hardware and software teams work together.

Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
Josh Lowensohn
2 min read
Apple's Jony Ive.
Apple's Jony Ive. Apple

Secrecy at Apple is alive and well, though there's less of it going on between its hardware and software groups, a new report says.

Citing unnamed sources, The Wall Street Journal says Apple's industrial design team now lets the company's software teams in on plans for future devices earlier than ever before, a process that was once made more secret with the use of "stealth software developers."

The change come some four months after a change within Apple's top ranks that more closely tied Apple's hardware and software teams. Jonathan Ive, who was previously just the company's lead designer, took on "leadership and direction" for Apple's Human Interface group, a role that involved software as well. Ive now "sits in on" key review meetings by the software group, The Journal adds.

Much of Apple's success is tied to its development of both hardware and software, a strategy that's led to hits like the Mac, iPod, iPhone and iPad. Microsoft has done the same with the XBOX and some of its hardware peripherals, and is trying it once again with the Surface tablet.

In testimony last July, one of Apple's top designers under Ive described the creation process at Apple like working "together around a kitchen table," adding that "in some ways it feels like a small company." Even so, that process was said to be uniquely separate from Apple's software efforts, something Ive alluded to in an interview with the Guardian early last year before the executive shuffle.

Apple is expected to take the wraps off the next major version of iOS at its annual developers conference, which has not yet been announced, though though typically takes place in early June. OS X (which runs on all of Apple's computers) is now run by the same Apple executive, and might debut at the same time.