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iPhone Designer Wants to Quit Cupertino

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Of a certain hotel in California, a wise man once observed, “you can checkout any time you like, but you can never leave.” A not-so-dissimilar event is unfolding in Cupertino, California, where Apple’s genius industrial designer Jonathan Ive is reportedly ready to sail back across the pond to his native UK.

The Telegraph reports that Ive, who designed some of Apple’s most recognizable gadgets like the iPod, iPhone, and iPad, is “at loggerheads” with the company’s board over his desire to move back to Somerset. Three years ago, Ive signed a “golden handcuffs” deal with Apple that would keep him in California.

The Telegraph reports that “an unnamed friend of Mr. Ive told the newspaper: ‘Unfortunately he is just too valuable to Apple and they told him in no uncertain terms that if he headed back to England he would not be able to sustain his position with them.’ ”

Ive reportedly wants to relocate so his sons can attend school in the UK, and expressed interest in splitting his time between Britain and Silicon Valley. Apple’s board is insisting that he stay in the US.

If Ive were to leave Apple, the company would be forced to find some pretty big feet to fill his shoes. One potential replacement? Dieter Rams, the world-renowned industrial designer to whom Ive’s style is highly indebted. Sure, Rams is pushing 80, lives in Germany, and is retired, but this was the guy who was making iPod-like designs back in the '60’s, man... the '60s!

Here’s some of Rams' work, and as you can surely see, it’s right up Apple’s alley.

POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.