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Jony Ive is leaving Apple so he can contract for Apple

Today, Apple announced that Jony Ive is leaving the company. Currently in the role of chief design officer, Ive has been with Apple for over 26 years, starting with the company in 1992. He was a key part of the firm's revival following Steve Jobs' return to Apple in 1996.

Ive will be starting his own design company, and Apple still plans on being one of its main clients. In other words, Jony Ive is still working for Apple, but he's not an employee anymore. This also gives him the freedom to take on outside projects.

"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. Today it is stronger, more vibrant and more talented than at any point in Apple’s history," said Ive. "The team will certainly thrive under the excellent leadership of Evans, Alan and Jeff, who have been among my closest collaborators. I have the utmost confidence in my designer colleagues at Apple, who remain my closest friends, and I look forward to working with them for many years to come."

As for Apple's internal design division, VP of Industrial Design Evans Hankey and VP of Human Interface Design Alan Dye will report to the company's COO, Jeff Williams. Apple says that both of them have been key players on Apple's design team over the years, and Williams led the development of the Apple Watch.

Ive's resume is seemingly endless, with a number of patents and awards to his name. According to Apple's page on Jony Ive, he has over 5,000 patents. He's been appointed as a Royal Designer for Industry, a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire, and more.

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