The British designer of iPhone, Sir Jony Ive, is going to leave Apple to set up his own venture.
Ive has helped Apple for over two decades to turn into the world’s most valuable company.
The designer of the iMac, iPod and iPhone, will be leaving 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.
Apple boss Tim Cook said his “role in Apple’s revival cannot be overstated”.
But the departure comes at a time of wider change at the tech giant. Retail chief Angela Ahrendts left in April and investors have been worried about falling iPhone sales.
Sir Jonathan said in a statement: “After nearly 30 years and countless projects, I am most proud of the lasting work we have done to create a design team, process and culture at Apple that is without peer.”
LoveFrom is said to be based in California. It will be focusing on wearable technology.
The iPhone has been the most profitable product in the history of the company.
He became head of Apple’s design studio in 1996, when the company was in poor financial health and cutting jobs. The turnaround began with Sir Jonathan’s iMac in 1998, and the iPod in 2001. Other landmarks of industrial design followed, including 2004 – iPod Mini, 2007 – iPhone, 2008 – MacBook Air, 2010 – iPad, 2015 – Apple Watch and 2016 – AirPods.
Apple’s founder, the late Steve Jobs, once said of Sir Jonathan: “If I had a spiritual partner at Apple, it’s Jony.”