Apple has experienced a significant setback in its executive leadership, with news of the departure of Tang Tan, the company’s chief designer for the iPhone as well as the highly popular wearable, Apple Watch.
Tan is said to have joined LoveFrom, founded by Jony Ive, who has also previously worked at Apple as its senior vice president of industrial design and chief design officer. Tan is also collaborating with OpenAI’s CEO, Sam Altman, on the development of a new AI-focused device. As of now, Apple has not announced a successor to fill Tan’s role.
Citing insider sources familiar with the matter, Bloomberg reports that Tang Tan will be working alongside Jony Ive to oversee the design and aesthetics of this mysterious AI hardware, while Sam Altman will contribute his software expertise.
Details of this AI hardware project remain undisclosed for now, but it is worth mentioning that it has previously been referred to as the “iPhone of AI.” Japanese multinational investment holding company SoftBank, which owns chip designer ARM, will be providing the necessary funds for this endeavor. However, Ive and Altman are primarily focused on talent acquisition and concept creation, rather than immediate hands-on involvement in the project.
In addition to his design role, Tan is reportedly set to lead the hardware engineering division during his tenure at LoveFrom. Notably, the former Apple executive is not anticipated to officially part ways with the California-based tech giant until February. However, it’s worth noting that his responsibilities have already begun to transition this month, suggesting that Apple may have identified a potential successor. The specific reasons for Tan’s departure remain undisclosed.
LoveFrom is reportedly engaging in discussions and brainstorming sessions centered around potential concepts for home-oriented devices. While some parallels to the HomePod have been suggested, specific details regarding these concepts remain undisclosed. Both LoveFrom and Apple have refrained from providing any comments or insights regarding the recent developments and speculations.
The project still appears to be in very early stages, meaning it would most likely take years before “the iPhone of AI” materializes. For all we know, it could turn out to be something completely different, since all reports are unconfirmed at this point.