Apple is such a strange and secretive company, the news that Jony Ive has been promoted is instead widely interpreted that he’s on his way out.
The Telegraph revealed Monday that Ive has been promoted to Chief Design Officer and freed from the day-to-day running of Apple’s Industrial Design studio.
This was greeted with speculation that Ive is actually stepping back. He’s taking it easy, many theorized, easing into semi-retirement. He’s already halfway out the door, and will soon move back to the United Kingdom, seems to be the consensus among pundits.
I think this is Kremlinology in the extreme. And a little perverse. Apple is often obtuse, and sometimes disingenuous or even dishonest, but I think this news should be taken at face value.
Apple has characterized the move as a promotion, and it is. Ive has been moved up into a rare position that gives him a ton of freedom. He now has the breathing room to be what he really wants to be: a pure designer.
In fact, the promotion allows him to take on an even stronger and more Steve Jobs-like role. We will see more design work from him, not less.