There's no question that Jony Ive is more important than ever to Apple's design process given his heavy influence on everything from the look of iOS to the philosophy behind the Apple Watch, and the Cupertino crew just gave him a promotion to reflect that fact. The Telegraph has revealed that Ive was recently promoted from Senior VP to become Apple's first-ever Chief Design Officer. He'll still oversee the company's broader design efforts, but there will be leaders dedicated to user interfaces (Alan Dye) and industrial design (Richard Howarth) as of July 1st.
As Ive explains, the move "frees [him] up" from the drudgery of management and lets him focus on... well, design. It's not entirely shocking, though, given the workload the exec has had as of late. He's had a hand in most of what Apple sells, and even helped shape the company's upcoming "spaceship" campus. The CDO role is arguably as much about giving Ive room to breathe as anything else -- he doesn't have to worry so much about splitting his attention in several different directions.
This won't necessarily lead to a big shift in how Apple crafts its products. Dye helped Ive build the interface team that came after Scott Forstall's forced exit from the company, while Howarth has been instrumental to designing the iPhone and numerous other pieces of hardware. The big difference is that these newly minted executives have considerably more sway, and Ive might not be as directly involved with their work as he used to be.
[Image credit: Kimberly White/Getty Images for Vanity Fair]