The Telegraph describes Ive’s change of position as a ‘promotion’. Ive was already the most influential person at Apple aside from Cook and his personality doesn’t exactly prescribe the need for a better title: Ive doesn’t really seem like a guy wanting an ego boost.
Dropping the PR spin, this is a reorganisation so Ive can back off from daily operations and do whatever he wants, “more travelling” included. Whenever he has a splash of inspiration or a new direction to explore, he can go back to the Cupertino studio. I think the writing is on the wall that he will retire in a few years.
I don’t know much about Dye and Howarth but they can’t be idiots. Dye came across well in the recent Apple Watch interviews and if Apple Watch UI is driven by Dye, then relinquishing Ive from that role a bit can only be a good thing for Apple software. Also note that Howarth’s appointment continues to put Brits at the top of Apple’s industrial design department.