Apple's iPhone designer set to join Jony Ive and Sam Altman to design AI hardware

Apple’s iPhone designer set to join Jony Ive and Sam Altman to design AI hardware

Apple’s brain drain continues as Tang Tan, head of product design, announces his departure to join former chief design officer Jony Ive’s new venture, LoveFrom. Tan will lead hardware design for an ambitious AI project backed by OpenAI’s Sam Altman, reports Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman.

The collaboration aims to build consumer devices powered by advanced deep learning to potentially reinvent everyday household gadgets. While still in early conceptual stages, Tan’s design brilliance combined with Altman’s AI acumen signal big aspirations.

Tan carved an influential path at Apple over the last decade, directing aesthetics for epoch-defining products like iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPods. His exit now raises questions internally about filling the creative void. It also caps a steady talent exodus – the latest being Jony Ive’s successor Evans Hankey last year. Of Ive’s old team, barely half a dozen remain.

But for LoveFrom, Tan’s move further bolsters their Apple diaspora. Over 20 former employees now grace LoveFrom’s ranks, originally founded by legendary tastemaker Ive after his 2019 departure. The firm’s focus has centered on luxury brand consulting, but the sudden alliance with OpenAI and SoftBank backing jolts it into new terrain.

While public-facing AI devices seem years away, the trifecta of design, engineering and investment firepower ensures Project Hazel will bear close watching in months ahead. Apple must now look inward to steady its own ship in the perpetual technology arms race.