Originally reported by 9to5Mac, Apple today confirmed that longtime software engineer Greg Christie will be leaving the company. At Apple, Christie served as the Director of Human Interface.
In a statement provided to Tim Bradshaw of the Financial Times, Apple said:
Greg has been planning to retire later this year after nearly 20 years at Apple. He has made vital contributions to Apple products across the board, and built a world-class Human Interface team which has worked closely with Jony for many years.
For nearly two decades, Christie has been a key Apple employee ho has largely remained outside of the spotlight. Recently, though, Christie made headlines when he granted an interview to the Wall Street Journal wherein he described the arduous process involved in getting the iPhone to market.
Mr. Christie's team pored over details like the perfect speed for scrolling lists on the phone and the natural feel of bouncing back when arriving at the end of a list. He said his team "banged their head against the wall" over how to change text messages from a chronological list of individual messages to a series of separate ongoing conversations similar to instant messaging on a computer.
Speaking to Christie's talents, he was one of the few people Scott Forstall originally asked to join the iPhone team when the project was just getting off the ground. Also of note is that Christie has a number of GUI patents to his name, including the "slide to unlock" feature that is now being argued over as part of Apple's second California trial with Samsung.
With Christie on his way out, the Wall Street Journal has since added that Christie's "human interface" team will now report directly to Jony Ive. Interestingly, 9to5Mac claims that Christie's impending departure was the result of creative differences with Ive, an assertion that Apple's statement on the matter understandably didn't directly address. Other reporting (including Matthew Panzarino at our sister site TechCrunch) dismisses the notion that any tensions between Christie and Ive were at play in Christie's decision to retire.