Apple announced that its star design chief Jony Ive was leaving to set up his own firm. He played a key role in the development of the iPhone and other products. Ive will depart later this year “to form an independent design company which will count Apple among its primary clients,” Apple said.

Ive will pursue “personal projects” but also continue to work closely “on a range of projects with Apple,” the California tech company said. “Jony is a singular figure in the design world and his role in Apple’s revival cannot be overstated, from 1998’s groundbreaking iMac to the iPhone and the unprecedented ambition of Apple Park, where recently he has been putting so much of his energy and care,” said chief executive Tim Cook.

“Apple will continue to benefit from Jony’s talents by working directly with him on exclusive projects, and through the ongoing work of the brilliant and passionate design team he has built. “After so many years working closely together, I’m happy that our relationship continues to evolve and I look forward to working with Jony long into the future.” British-born Ive joined Apple in 1992 and designed the iPod, iPhone, iPad and Macbook as well as the iOS software system for Apple devices.

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Ive was a key collaborator of the late Steve Jobs at Apple when the company’s fortunes were revived with the development of the iPod and later the iPhone. In Walter Isaacson’s biography, Jobs praised Ive as being his partner in dreaming up devices. “If I had a spiritual partner at Apple, it’s Jony,” Jobs was quoted as saying.

Besides, Apple is rumored to launch a 16-inch variant of the MacBook Pro alongside 2019 iPhones in September. The Cupertino-based tech major will reportedly unveil the product at September event if “there’s no unexpected development issue.” According to IHS Market industry data (reported by Forbes), Apple is all ready with a new 16-inch MacBook Pro, and it is likely to launch later this year. The all-new 16-inch MacBook Pro reportedly has a target manufacturing date of September 2019. It is expected to ramp up production at a rate of about 250,000 units per month.

As per the report, the resolution of 16-inch MacBook Pro will be 3072×1920 pixels, up from the 2880×1800 panel found in Apple’s 15-inch MacBooks. Referring to the launch of new 16-inch laptop, IHS Markit executive suggested that Apple will release it alongside new iPhones in September. The timeline is targeted if there’s no unexpected development issue.

With inputs from PTI