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PHOTO: Jon Nicholls

Jony Ive, the designer of the Mac, iPod and iPhone has left the building. Ive, who worked for Apple since 1992, was Apple's chief design officer and is leaving to form an independent design company.

“Jony is a singular figure in the design world and his role in Apple’s revival cannot be overstated, from 1998’s groundbreaking iMac to the iPhone and the unprecedented ambition of Apple Park, where recently he has been putting so much of his energy and care,” Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, said in a press release. “Apple will continue to benefit from Jony’s talents by working directly with him on exclusive projects, and through the ongoing work of the brilliant and passionate design team he has built."

Design team leaders Evans Hankey, vice president of industrial design, and Alan Dye, vice president of human interface design, will report to Jeff Williams, Apple’s COO. Ive said that he's most proud of the lasting work Apple did to create a design team, process and culture "that is without peer." 

Ive's new company will be called LoveFrom, with Apple as its first client. The transition will begin later this year, with LoveFrom launching fully in 2020. 

In other news from the customer experience world ....

Amperity Launches CDP Update

Amperity, a customer data management platform, announced the next iteration of its solution. The Amperity platform leverages artificial intelligence (AI) to deliver a Customer 360 database that includes identities, attributes and insights. Enhancements to the new Amperity platform include an intelligent data unification engine, greater control within the segmentation experience, new ways to ingest data downstream and greater transparency and insights.

HubSpot Partners with WP Engine

Marketing automation provider HubSpot and WP Engine, a WordPress digital experience platform, announced that the newly updated HubSpot plugin for WordPress will be integrated with all of WP Engine’s StudioPress themes. Users can now use HubSpot’s CRM and marketing software without leaving WordPress. The plugin was initially launched in 2015. It includes forms and pop-up forms, live chat to interact with website visitors in real time and bots to provide an automated response after-hours, automatic syncs with HubSpot CRM, email automation to engage with leads after each form submission and the ability to enable visitor tracking and lead intelligence.

Yotpo Updates SAP Commerce Cloud 

Yotpo, which provides commerce marketing, announced the release of integration enhancements to SAP Commerce Cloud. The integration is powered by smart algorithms that help ecommerce merchants collect customer reviews and photos. Users can collect more reviews, customer photos and Q&A content using in-mail technology and machine learning for personalized send-times. They can also auto-moderate and publish reviews based on custom parameters like a profanity filter and sentiment analysis, display customer reviews, photos and social content at conversion points onsite with customizable on-brand displays and galleries.

LinkedIn Announces New Features for Pages

LinkedIn announced new features for LinkedIn Pages, which company officials claim will make it easier for brands to engage communities. The new features include custom call to action buttons and related analytics, communities hashtags and mobile admin editing.

The communities hashtags feature allows users to associate their pages with relevant hashtags and join conversations that members and organizations are having on those topics, for example #AdvertisingWeek or #Blockchain.

UzerZoom Acquires Validately

UserZoom, a UX Insights company, acquired Validately, a user research technology company. Validately specializes in a Lean approach to user experience (UX) research with an emphasis on collaboration, for both desktop and mobile app testing. The amount of the deal was not disclosed. UserZoom's platform provides qualitative and quantitative UX insights. UserZoom customers will benefit from additional ways to collaborate across teams with the acquisition.