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Apple TV Designer Ben Keighran Is Leaving

He sold his search startup to Apple four years ago and spent three years working on the new box. Next up: Starting a new company.

Ben Keighran
Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

A designer who played a key role in the development of Apple’s newest TV box is leaving the company.

Ben Keighran, who joined Apple four years ago when it bought a startup he co-founded, says he is leaving soon and eventually intends to start something new. “I want to create not just a killer product, but my own iconic company,” he said.

Keighran said he spent the last three years overseeing the look and feel of the software on the new Apple TV — a $149 box that lets users watch Web video on their TV. He said that software also incorporates part of Chomp, the search startup he co-founded and sold to Apple in 2012. Cathy Edwards, Keighran’s co-founder at Chomp, left Apple two years ago.

Keighran reported to Bill Bachman, the Apple executive who oversees all of the company’s media apps and who in return reports to Robert Kondrk, VP for iTunes content. He answers to SVP Eddy Cue, who is in charge of Apple’s overall media strategy.

Apple’s plans to build TV-related services and hardware have generated enormous speculation over the past few years, and Apple itself has changed its mind several times about where it wanted to go. In early 2015, for instance, it was planning on introducing a subscription video service that would offer live TV from some broadcast and cable TV programmers; that effort has been shelved, at least for now.

Keighran wouldn’t comment on Apple projects that haven’t seen the light of day, beyond acknowledging that “we looked at many different ways of delivering an awesome TV experience.” He said the decision to leave Apple was “really difficult. I’ve totally fallen in love with the people, the culture, the product.”

An Apple rep declined to comment.

Correction: An earlier version of this story said Bachman reported directly to Cue.

This article originally appeared on

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