Although nowhere near as surprising as when Jony Ive left in 2019, Apple announced a big change in its management team on Monday. No one leaves the company, but one of the main players in the Equipment, Senior Vice President Dan Riccio, moves on to a secret project.
Riccio, who has been with Apple since 1998, isn’t as well-known as Tim Cook or Phil Schiller, but he’s been an integral part of almost every great Apple product of this century.
Riccio took on the role of senior vice president of hardware engineering when Bob Mansfield retired in 2012. At the time, Riccio was vice president of hardware engineering for iPad, a position he held in 2010 when the original iPad came out.
Although he only held this position for two years, they were extremely important to the iPad. The second generation was significantly thinner and lighter than the original iPad without sacrificing battery life, while the third generation introduced the Retina display and 4G LTE network.
As Senior Vice President, he was instrumental in bringing in several products including last year’s 5G line of iPhones, Macs with M1, and AirPods Max.
Now Riccio will take a somewhat secretive position within the company. In the press release, Apple simply said that Riccio “will transition to a new role focusing on a new project and report directly to CEO Tim Cook.” Thus, he will replace John Ternus, who has been with the company since 2001 and recently appeared in the Mac launch video with M1.
While it’s natural to think Riccio will be working on the Apple Car or Apple Glass, it’s likely that these teams already have everything on the right track and Riccio actually helped them build them. On the other hand, I think Riccio’s new project is much closer to what he is good at: screens.
Besides the iPad, Riccio has played an important role in the evolution of the Mac screen. During one of his rare public appearances, Riccio had this to say about the 27-inch 5K iMac that arrived in 2014: “The Mac lets people do amazing things and, for many, it’s the tool. most important creative they use. And what we like is to improve it ”.
And I think that’s exactly what he’s going to do in his new role at Apple. Now that the Mac transition is underway and will likely be almost complete by the end of 2021, Apple could look to the next thing: a touchscreen Mac.
A MacBook as thin as an iPad but as powerful as a MacBook Air with M1 would be a game-changer for both product lines and could lead to an additional 10 years of relevance. It wouldn’t just be a touchscreen MacBook, but something completely new.
Apple has long denied the arrival of a touchscreen Mac, but the M1 processor changes everything. The Apple processor opens the Mac to a new world of development that wasn’t possible with Intel chips.
Adding a touchscreen to the Mac isn’t the end for Apple – it’s building a whole new device that is transforming the way we use computers and changing the horizon forever.
This is where Riccio’s prowess comes in. Like the Microsoft Surface, a Mac with a touchscreen would be a part. Tablet, portable part: two products that Riccio knows perfectly well.
But more importantly: everything would revolve around the screen, an area in which Riccio has a lot of experience. If Apple is serious about creating a touchscreen Mac, Cook will want Riccio to spend all his time on it.
And it looks like that’s exactly what he’s going to do. While other senior vice presidents who have changed direction have been somewhat abstract when talking about their next steps, Riccio is clear: “Now I really want to do what I love: focus all my time and energy. on Apple to create something new. And how wonderful I couldn’t be more excited ”.
It may take several years, but there are enough clues and rumors to suggest that Apple is considering the next evolution of the Mac that finally combines the power of the PC with the versatility of an iPad. And with Riccio at the helm, it could be a lot more exciting than an Apple Car.
Original article published in igamesnews US.