Apple shuffles hardware execs to make room for a mysterious new project

Former hardware SVP Dan Riccio has a new project, but Apple didn't say what that project is.

Apple chief design officer Jony Ive (L) uses an iPad to have an augmented reality view of the frame of the new Mac Pro as Apple senior VP of hardware engineering Dan Riccio (R) looks on during the 2019 Apple Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) (Justin Sullivan via Getty Images)

Dan Riccio has served as senior VP of engineering overseeing all of Apple’s hardware since 2012, but now he’s stepping back from that role. A press release revealed he’s focusing on a mysterious “new project” at Apple and will still report directly to CEO Tim Cook.

Exactly what that new project is remains unclear, although recent rumors have pointed to Apple’s plans for augmented and virtual reality or building an electric car. Of course, maybe it’s a differently color iPhone or an even-more-expensive pair of noise-cancelling headphones. In the picture above, he’s standing with former design exec Jony Ive as they demonstrate augmented reality on an iPad at WWDC 2019. Riccio previously lead the iPad team before taking over as senior VP, and oversaw projects all the way up to the recently-launched AirPods Max.

Replacing Riccio on Apple’s executive team is John Ternus, who has been the VP of hardware engineering since 2013, and is noted as a key figure in Apple’s rollout of its new M1 CPUs. Meanwhile, Riccio will still hold the title of vice president of engineering and “play an instrumental role in shaping the future of Apple’s products.”

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