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Jonathan Ive rumoured to be returning to UK, potentially leaving Apple

Jonathan Ive, the Apple designer behind such triumphs as the iPod, iPhone and MacBook Pro is rumoured to be planning a move back to the UK, much to his company's displeasure.

Jonathan Ive, the Apple designer behind the iPod, iPhone, iPad and MacBook Pro, is rumoured to be planning a return to his native land of the UK. The Sunday Times reports (paywall link) that Ive is yearning for the green, green grass of home, but that he's at "loggerheads" with the Apple board, who don't want him to leave.

The rumour comes via a family friend of the Ives, who told the paper, "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."

Apple won't want to lose Ive, whose iconic designs are a major factor in Apple's success, but apparently Ive is keen to educate his kids in England, and wants to commute from Blighty to Apple's Cupertino base. That would make our daily horror on the Jubilee line look like working from bed.

Apple refused to comment to The Sunday Times and (correctly) said that it was "speculation" to say Ive wanted to live in England.

The paper also reports Ive is about to benefit from a three-year "golden-handcuffs" deal that means he'll shortly be able to cash in about £25m in shares. That's oodles of boodle, but from Apple's point of view Ive's profile, reputation and iconic status is where his real value lies.

We're only a few days away from the launch of the iPad 2 -- a tablet so hotly anticipated it burns our tongues every time we speak of it. Stay tuned.