The man Steve Jobs once called his "spiritual partner" at Apple is moving up the company ladder again. Jony Ive, the longtime senior VP of design, has been promoted to chief design officer, a position that will have Ive overseeing not only Apple's hardware and software units, but also the design of the company's new Cupertino campus (including its high-end desks and chairs) and retail stores, per 9to5Mac.com. The news, first revealed last week to Stephen Fry at the Telegraph, was confirmed by a memo from Apple CEO Tim Cook obtained by 9to5Mac.com. Ive will start his new role July 1, handing over day-to-day management of the design team to Richard Howarth as VP of industrial design (dubbed the "feared Brit" among Apple workers, per Business Insider) and nine-year veteran Alan Dye as VP of user interface design (or, per BI, the "amiable American").
The guy the Telegraph calls "Wonder Boy" has about 5,000 design and utility patents to his name (the Telegraph notes that's almost 3,000 more than Thomas Edison), and he's been the driving force behind major design efforts including the redesign of iOS 7, the Wall Street Journal reports. Even Jobs couldn't stop gushing about him. "If I had a spiritual partner as Apple, it's Jony," Jobs once told biographer Walter Isaacson, per the Journal. "Jony and I think up most of the products together. … He has more operational power than anyone else at Apple except for me." The reason for Ive ceding day-to-day control of design operations? He agrees with Fry that he wasn't "put on this planet" to do administrative/management work and that he'll better concentrate on the big picture now—or, as Fry puts it, take care of the Apple's "blue sky thinking." (Read more Apple stories.)