Tim Cook says Jony Ive is ‘really key’ to iOS redesign coming at WWDC

Apple CEO Tim Cook has confirmed what many have long assumed — that Jony Ive is working on a new version of iOS, and that it will be revealed at WWDC next month. Speaking at the D11 conference, Cook said that Apple “recognized that Jony had contributed significantly to the look and feel of Apple over many many years and could do that for our software as well,” calling the designer “absolutely incredible.”

Apple CEO Tim Cook interview at D11: the liveblog

Apple CEO Tim Cook interview at D11: the liveblog

Ive is the creative force behind many of Apple’s most iconic hardware designs, but washanded an additional role in “human interface” last year following the removal of Scott Forstall as iOS senior VP. Recent weeks have seen rumors that iOS 7 will feature a “flat” UI that removes much of the glossy, realistic sheen currently seen in Apple’s software.

When asked if the new version of iOS is indeed what Ive has been working on, Cook replied in the affirmative, calling him “really key” to the update. The CEO wouldn’t be drawn on specifics, only saying that new versions of both iOS and OS X would be on show at Apple’s developer conference in less than two weeks, and that he will “let you be the judge” as to how significant the changes are.

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Apple in safe hands with bigger role for Jonathan Ive: Analysts

The exit of Apple Inc’s longtime mobile software products chief may be a surprise, but a band of able executives led by Tim Cook and a bigger role for design boss Jonathan Ive meant the company was in good hands, analysts said on Tuesday.

Jonathan Ive Hero

Jonathan Ive Hero

Ive, Apple’s celebrated industrial design chief will now look into both hardware and software designs, following the departure of Scott Forstall after years of friction with other top executives.

“Yesterday’s announcement all but confirmed that Ive will be with the company for the foreseeable future, putting to rest a recurring investor concern of an Apple without Ive,” Piper Jaffray & Co analyst Gene Munster said in a research note.

“This, combined with Tim Cook’s nine years remaining on his contract with Apple, suggests the two most critical management figures will be in place for the longer term.” John Browett, recently hired as Apple’s retail chief, will also leave, the company said on Monday.

Eddy Cue, who runs online products, will lead Apple Maps and its Siri voice search software, while Craig Federighi, who oversees the OSX software that powers the Macintosh computers, will take charge of the iOS software.

“We think that despite the departure of Forstall who ran iOS development, iOS’s future is in good hands,” Munster said.

Forstall – long-time lieutenant of late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs – refused to sign a public apology after the mapping software on the latest iPhone contained embarrassing errors and drew fierce criticism, Reuters reported citing sources.

His departure was years in the making, and came to a head with the Apple Maps incident, sources said.

“Though Scott Forstall’s departure is a surprise, this appears to be part of Tim Cook putting his own stamp on the company, and importantly, he is still surrounded by several key long-time Apple executives and innovators,” Robert W. Baird & Co analyst William Power said.