Dan Riccio has served as senior VP of engineering overseeing all of Apple's hardware since 2012, but now he's stepping back from that role.
He’ll be replaced as Apple’s head hardware engineer by John Ternus, who led the hardware team designing the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro, in addition to working on Apple’s M1 chips. Ternus has been vice president of hardware engineering at Apple since 2013.
The role of senior vice president of hardware engineering at Apple is a key one: the position reports directly to CEO Tim Cook and is responsible for leading the Mac, iPhone, iPad, and iPod engineering teams. Ternus’ new role will put him in charge of the company’s hardware efforts, much in the same way that Craig Federighi — Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering — runs the development of iOS and macOS.
Now what about Riccio? Normally the management euphamism is "going to work on special projects reporting to the the CEO" and a few months later you discover his office is in the lift. But the Apple announcement mentioned the world "new project" which seems to have blindsided everyone.
Yes, the "new project” for the company is in a role directly reporting to Cook, but he does not seem upset.
“Next up, I’m looking forward to doing what I love most — focusing all my time and energy at Apple on creating something new and wonderful that I couldn’t be more excited about”, explains Riccio in Apple’s announcement.
Exactly what that new project is remains unclear, although recent rumors have pointed to Apple's plans for augmented and virtual reality or building an electric car. However the way that this is all structured gives the Tame Apple Press endless room to speculate.
Replacing Riccio on Apple's executive team is John Ternus, who has been the VP of hardware engineering since 2013, and is noted as a key figure in Apple's rollout of its new M1 CPUs. Meanwhile, Riccio will still hold the title of vice president of engineering and "play an instrumental role in shaping the future of Apple's products" although that might be a way of keeping the lift doors open.