Apple announced Tuesday that its longtime SVP of hardware engineering, Dan Riccio, will depart his current role and assume a new one focused entirely on a “new project.” Riccio had led hardware engineering since 2012. Prior to that role, he led iPad hardware engineering. He will report directly to CEO Tim Cook in his new role.

John Ternus, who has held the title of vice president of hardware engineering since 2001, will step into Riccio’s prior role leading the hardware engineering team. Ternus has appeared in recent Apple product announcements, and he was the lead for the iPhone 12, as well as a key team leader on AirPods, every iPad, and the M1 transition.

As is common with announcements like this, there are statements from key figures at Apple about it. Starting with Cook:

Every innovation Dan has helped Apple bring to life has made us a better and more innovative company, and we’re thrilled that he’ll continue to be part of the team… John’s deep expertise and wide breadth of experience make him a bold and visionary leader of our Hardware Engineering teams. I want to congratulate them both on these exciting new steps, and I’m looking forward to many more innovations they’ll help bring to the world.

And here’s the statement from Riccio himself:

Working at Apple has been the opportunity of a lifetime, spent making the world’s best products with the most talented people you could imagine. After 23 years of leading our Product Design or Hardware Engineering teams—culminating with our biggest and most ambitious product year ever—it’s the right time for a change. 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.

It’s not clear exactly what “something new” Riccio will be working on, as the announcement doesn’t say. The most high-profile and well-supported rumors about entirely new future Apple products are an upcoming augmented reality headset and various versions of the idea of an Apple car.

Riccio’s new focus could be one of those, or it could be an entirely new product of which we are not yet aware.

Listing image by Apple

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