When Steve Jobs stepped down as Apple’s CEO in August 2011, people were expecting the end of an era. Now, the departure of Apple’s design chief Jony Ive has been announced, and it is the latest sign of the new Apple.

Ive, who is starting his own agency, drove the design not just for Apple’s products but for the industry as a whole.

For the last few decades, Apple has gone through one of the most dramatic resurgences in corporate  history. Throughout that time, two names have been credited with driving that success: Jobs, who returned to lead Apple again in 1997, and his right-hand man, Ive, whose designs have fueled a generation of sleek, minimalist products like the iPhone.

The departure of Ive, who introduced Apple hardware in countless sizzle reels, is the latest sign of major shifts within Apple. The company grew to become one of the world’s most profitable and highly valued companies, worth nearly $1 trillion, on the back of the iPhone. However, the sales of the device have begun to decline.

It is unclear where Ive stands in the Apple orbit, as he is one-foot-in and one-foot-out. Apple commentator John Gruber noted, “This angle that he’s still going to work with Apple as an independent  design firm seems like pure spin. You’re either at Apple or you’re not. Ive is out.”

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Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives agreed, saying, “Ive is leaving a hole in the company and is clearly irreplaceable as he has been one of the most important figures at Apple throughout the past few decades. His fingerprints are deeply woven within Apple’s core DNA. The major question now going forward is around future product innovation with one of the key visionaries of the Apple brand gone.”