Sir Jony Ive, the Briton who over two decades helped turn Apple into the world’s most valuable company, is leaving to set up his own venture.

iPhone designer Jony Ive

Sir Jonathan, designer of the iMac, iPod and iPhone, leaves 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 Jony Ive, the Briton who over two decades helped turn Apple into the world’s most valuable company, is leaving to set up his own venture.

Sir Jonathan, designer of the iMac, iPod and iPhone, leaves 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.

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.

Apple’s founder, the late Steve Jobs, once said of Sir Jonathan: “If I had a spiritual partner at Apple, it’s Jony.”

One of Sir Jonathan’s most recent projects was finishing Apple’s new corporate headquarters, Apple Park, an ultra-modern complex designed in partnership with British architects Foster + Partners.

End of an era

The departure of the “thoughtful” Sir Jonathan for his own company will be a loss for Apple, which is already facing challenges.

From the “ground-breaking” iMac to Apple’s ambitious new Apple Park campus, he has helped to shape one of the world’s most successful companies.

“Jony is a singular figure in the design world and his role in Apple’s revival cannot be overstated,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive.

In recent years, it has been harder to detect the Ive magic – while the Airpods look set to become another classic, the $999 stand for a Mac Pro monitor stand seemed to symbolise a company taking its fans for granted.

But the man who started his career by designing toilets and toothbrushes and ended up giving us the most profitable product in history, the iPhone, is assured of his place in history.

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