Airbnb taps former Apple design chief Jony Ive for product revamp

Former Apple designer Jony Ive with CEO Tim Cook at an iPhone launch

Home rental company Airbnb has hired former Apple chief design officer Jony Ive and his company to create new products and services under a multi-year deal.

CEO of Airbnb, Brian Chesky, said in a blog post that he hoped the partnership 'spoke to the seriousness' of his company's design-driven approach.

Ive left Apple at the end of 2019 after nearly three decades at the company. In that time he led the design of some of the company's most iconic products, such as iMacs and iPhones. He still counts the tech giant as a client through his new company, LoveFrom, which is a collaboration of designers, artists and musicians.

The partnership with Airbnb is a sort of evolution of a long-standing friendship with Chesky. The pair are said to be close friends and have shared advice and guidance with one another for many years, but this is the first official collaboration.

"I'm thrilled to announce that Jony and his partners at LoveFrom will be engaging in a special collaboration with me and the Airbnb team," said Chesky. "We have made the decision to work together through a multi-year relationship to design the next generation of Airbnb products and services.

"Jony will also help us continue to develop our internal design team, which he believes to be one of the world's best. I know he is particularly excited about a relationship that will evolve to become a deep collaboration with our creative team."

Three senior designers recently left Airbnb, according to The Information, with design chief Alex Schleifer also being told his position will be switched to a part-time role at the company.

The firm was one of the biggest disruptors of the last decade, changing the way people travel and select places to stay. It previously announced plans to build VR and AR-based products, but there aren't any details on the kinds of projects Ive will be working on as yet.

The deal also coincides with Airbnb's upcoming initial public offering which is expected to be one of the largest US stock market listings of 2020.

Bobby Hellard

Bobby Hellard is ITPro's Reviews Editor and has worked on CloudPro and ChannelPro since 2018. In his time at ITPro, Bobby has covered stories for all the major technology companies, such as Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook, and regularly attends industry-leading events such as AWS Re:Invent and Google Cloud Next.

Bobby mainly covers hardware reviews, but you will also recognize him as the face of many of our video reviews of laptops and smartphones.