The departure of Apple’s product design chief Tang Tan marks another key figure leaving the company. Tan is set to join Jony Ive’s design firm, LoveFrom, and will reportedly take on the role of hardware design lead for a new artificial intelligence project. This venture, supported by OpenAI’s Sam Altman, aims to develop cutting-edge devices utilizing the latest advancements in deep learning technology.
Previously overseeing the design of Apple’s flagship products such as the iPhone, Watch, and AirPods, Tan’s exit creates a significant void. Within LoveFrom, he will collaborate with Altman, who is responsible for the underlying software of the AI project. Although details remain scarce, the focus is said to be on conceptualizing devices for home use. As of now, neither OpenAI, LoveFrom, nor Apple has officially commented on this development.
While Tan’s departure was anticipated, his destination had not been disclosed until now. This follows the departure of Evans Hankey, Jony Ive’s successor, earlier in the year. Since 2019, approximately 14 members from Ive’s former team have left Apple, leaving a diminishing group behind. Ive, who served as a consultant for Apple until 2022, has attracted over 20 former Apple employees to join him at LoveFrom.
The context also includes Altman’s recent employment situation at OpenAI, where he was initially fired and later rehired. This was linked, in part, to his efforts to raise funds for various ventures, including the collaboration with Ive to develop AI hardware supported by Softbank, as reported by Bloomberg.