Apple’s very identity is wrapped up in softly spoken, British design guru Jony Ive.
Not only is he responsible for all of the company’s current bestselling products. Without him, Apple could well have been a footnote in tech history.
His classic iMac redefined PCs and saved Steve Jobs’ company from oblivion.
His original iPod changed the music industry completely. And his first iPhone shifted the smartphone game so drastically that you could argue it was he, and he alone, who brought the likes of Nokia and BlackBerry to their knees.
In short, Jony Ive is a big deal. Which is why he’s been promoted to a newly created role of Chief Design Officer at Apple.
Ive has spent the past couple of years working as Apple’s Senior Vice President of Design.
This job saw him take responsibility for the creation of iOS 7, alongside his job looking after every aspect of industrial design at Apple.
Revealing his promotion to Stephen Fry in an interview with the Telegraph, Ive said he was looking forward to doing less managing and more thinking about design.
He’s going to help out with new Apple stores and even advise on the company’s new California campus.
But what does this all mean for Apple products?
Software is being looked after by Alan Dye, who worked on the Apple Watch’s UI and has played a key part in the rebirth of iOS 7.
Richard Howarth, another British designer, will look after hardware. Howarth helped design the original iPhone.
These guys clearly have what it takes to create new kit.
But that’s not to say that things aren’t about to change. Ive says he’s going to travel more, which suggests he’ll be leaving it up to his new team to pick up the slack.
That could mean changes to the original vision of the iPhone and new thoughts on how everything from iPads to chargers look in an Apple–tinted universe.
Reading between the lines, it appears that Ive doesn’t really want to be in charge of a team of designers.
Rather, he wants to help out with ideas when he can and become an overarching design guru for Apple.
That might be all well and good internally, but it’s hard to shake the feeling that the man who did so much to shape Apple’s present, possibly second only to Steve Jobs, is going to be more in the background.
Only time will tell. Ive’s imprint and influence aren’t going anywhere.
But a new generation of designers look set to create the next wave of Apple products. The question is, can they match up the classics we’ve got so used to?