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Evans Hankey

Vice President of Industrial Design, Apple

When Apple’s longtime design guru Jony Ive left the company last year to start his own design firm, it marked the end of an era. What comes next for Apple will largely be left up to Evans Hankey, who has been tapped to colead the company’s renowned design team.

For Apple, the importance of design stretches far beyond simply boosting product sales. The tech giant has a penchant for shaping the industry with its design decisions. When Apple made the controversial choice to nix the headphone jack from its iPhones starting with the iPhone 7 in 2016, launching smartphones without that dedicated port for plugging in headphones quickly became the norm. That choice also paved the way for AirPods, setting the stage for today’s burgeoning wireless earbud industry and helping to make Apple the top wearables device maker.

Hankey may have been cast into the spotlight more prominently as part of her new position as vice president of industrial design. But she’s been a critical piece in Apple’s design process for years. Her name appears on hundreds of Apple patents covering everything from electronic devices to packing and accessories.

Looking ahead, Hankey’s decisions as the colead of Apple’s design team will be more critical than ever as the company is expected to veer into new territories like augmented-reality headsets and smart glasses. Should they become a reality, Apple’s vision for such products — likely to be led by Hankey — could lay the groundwork for the next wave of personal computing as it did for the smartphone.