Bye bye Jony Ive
An era is coming to an end. Jony Ive is leaving Apple. He is starting his own company and will keep Apple as a client for exclusive projects. This actually opens up a whole lot of possibilities while keeping a connection with Jony for the things he really excelled at - interesting times ahead.
In the past years there was a lot critique when it came to design - especially functionality following design. And there are a lot examples for this, the two most prominent the trash can iMac and the butterfly keyboard. (Obviously I also have to mention the way you charge the Magic Mouse.)
I have absolutely no insight into the exact inner workings of Apple, so some of the following might not be totally accurate - please let me know if I got something wrong.
One thing I think a lot of people forget is that those decisions were not made by one single individual. Obviously Ive had tons of influence and could likely push his ideas through if he really wanted. For the sake of the whiny crowd we could assume all the bad design choices were exclusively made by Ive.
What can we expect now? Likely no dramatic changes in near future. Product development takes time and Apple surely is not sitting down after releasing a device and start planning its next iteration. I also do not believe all design decisions people love to complain about are going away. Especially because a lot of people actually like them - shocking, right? TouchBar? Butterfly keyboard? All USB-C? It is not as black and white as the whiny crowd wants you to believe. There will not be another 2015 MacBook Pro either, and there should not be.
That being said, I think we will see some change. And I also think it is necessary. There clearly was a trend of „function follows form“, which is a horrible way to design things that primarily should follow a function. It felt like Jobs was needed to keep Ive in check and after he was gone no one really did. Some reorientation to the good, old „form follows function“ would surely be nice. I would not want a full 180° shift though - I would hate to see design innovation fade away.
After all: „form follows function“, but a beautiful form is still very much appreciated.