Sir Jonathan Ive, the British tech guru who over two decades helped turn Apple into the world’s most valuable company, is leaving to set up his own venture.
Jonathan, designer of the iMac, iPod and iPhone, will leave the company later this year to start a creative firm, LoveFrom, with Apple as its first client.
“This just seems like a natural and gentle time to make this change,” he said.
“While I will not be an Apple employee, I will still be very involved. I hope for many, many years to come” he added.
The departure of the world’s most famous industrial designer and the custodian of the entire Apple aesthetic from its hardware and software to its physical architecture will come as a shock to its investors and customers as many see Sir Jonathan as one of its most crucial assets as it looks beyond the iPhone into a new phase of products and services.
Apple boss, Tim Cook said his “role in Apple’s revival cannot be overstated” pointing to an expanded group of in-house designers that is “the strongest it’s ever been”.
Sir Jonathan, who was knighted by the Queen in 2012, has provided vital continuity for Apple’s strategic vision since the death of its co-founder Steve Jobs in 2011 and is seen by some observers of the company as more important than Tim Cook to its pipeline of future innovations.