Bob Mansfield's new position among the Apple ranks was a personal choice rather than an executive performance reshuffling. Sources close to Apple claim Mansfield requested to work on special projects because of a desire to focus on chipset design in addition to mysterious new products. By distancing himself from executive duties, Mansfield, who retired and just as quickly came out of retirement last year, can work more as a common engineer and not someone so visible among Apple's illustrious hierarchy.
Going forward, Mansfield's previous duties will be split between Senior VPs Dan Riccio and Jeff Williams. According to sources, Riccio will begin overseeing antenna designs for upcoming handsets, while Williams will assume management duties for Apple's special projects engineering teams. In Mansfield's new role, he'll actually be able to delegate between both Riccio and Williams. Meanwhile, production will be consolidated under one umbrella, possibly leading to a more seamless engineering process, 9to5Mac notes.
It's unclear what influence Mansfield will have on chips going forward, especially with Apple so desperately and visibly wanting to distance itself from relying on Samsung. With his time now freed up, and a focus on special projects, there's potential for great things. An iWatch perhaps? Hopefully something even better.