Is Jony Ive no longer involved with Apple’s iPhone and Mac design departments? This is the question long-time Apple journalists Jason Snell and John Gruber answered this week after learning about what the Cupertino giant’s chief design officer is up to lately. 

Ive has always been at the forefront of the design aspects of Apple’s iPhones and Mac devices, but as of late Gruber believes that he is only involved with the continuous developing projects for the two product lines in spirit. Gruber even said Ive “may only be spiritual leadership at this point.”

Unearthing what could probably be the reason or reasons for Ive to ditch his duties with the teams working on the iPhone and Mac lines, Snell and Gruber derived with a speculation that Ive is more invested in Apple’s “Spaceship” campus and store design lately. "I've heard that he has lately been checked out or not as directly involved with product design and that he's been largely focused on architecture," Gruber said on his “The Talk Show” podcast on Nov. 18. "And that maybe the other top-level executive who's been working the most with Ive is Angela Ahrendts."

Gruber and Snell also claimed that it’s possible that Ive may have already assumed a “Jobs-like role” in the Cupertino tech giant, and he could be the one behind the ambitious Apple car project that was unfortunately scaled back. Both journalists also speculated that Apple’s $300 “Designed by Apple in California” photo book could have been “decreed” by Ive in order for him to showcase his contributions to the company. 

AppAdvice reports that the expensive picture book that documents Apple’s products for the last 20 years is seen by many as Ive’s overt effort amid his slow retirement from the tech giant. For some time now, many are speculating that Ive is already considering retiring from Apple, but the 49-year-old chief design officer has never confirmed this. 

AppleInsider also claims the coffee-table book is Ive’s swan-song because of his imminent departure from the company. However, when Ive introduced the photo book, he clearly pointed out the purpose behind its creation when he said, "This archive is intended to be a gentle gathering of many of the products the team has designed over the years. We hope it brings some understanding to how and why they exist, while serving as a resource for students of all design disciplines."

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