Apple has characterized the move as a promotion, and it is. Ive has been moved up into a rare position that gives him a ton of freedom. He now has the breathing room to be what he really wants to be: a pure designer.
Ive is now in a position that resembles Steve Jobs’ role before he died. [...]
In the last few years before Jobs died, he delegated most of the day-to-day running of Apple to his lieutenants. He took meetings all morning, but most afternoons he hung out at the design studio doing what he loved best: brainstorming new products with Jony Ive.
Jobs had enough free time to do a bunch of blue-sky thinking, and look where that led.
Ive is now in the same boat.
Having literally written the book on Jony Ive, I'd like to think Leander has some good information on the promotion of Apple's head designer.
Source: Cult of Mac