Briton Sir Jonathan Ive has inched a step closer to the top job at Apple, after being promoted to chief design officer at the tech giant.
The man behind the iconic designs of the iPod, iPhone and iPad revealed his new position in an interview with Stephen Fry in the Daily Telegraph.
The designer, from Chingford in north-east London, has led Apple's design team since the mid-1990s and, alongside former chief executive Steve Jobs, helped bring the firm back from the brink of financial ruin.
Sir Jonathan was made a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) in 2012 for services to design and enterprise.
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Sales of iPhones are at a record high as the company announced what is believed to be the biggest ever profit by a public company.
In the final three months of 2014 Apple sold 74.5 million iPhones, which was boosted by the latest generation of iPhone - the 6 and 6 Plus.
International sales accounted for 65% of the quarter's revenue.
Apple does not give iPhone sales by country but a report published by research firm Canalys estimated the firm sold more smartphones in China than any other maker.
We'd like to thank our customers for an incredible quarter, which saw demand for Apple products soar to an all-time high.
Our revenue grew 30% over last year to 74.6 billion dollars, and the execution by our teams to achieve these results was simply phenomenal.
Apple has reported a quarterly profit of $18 billion in what is believed to be the biggest ever made by a public company.
The technology giant said the sales of 74.5 million iPhones in the quarter ending 27th December, and a 70% rise in China sales had helped exceed expectations.
The profit of $18 billion was the biggest ever reported by a public company, worldwide, according to S&P analyst Howard Silverblatt.
Revenue increased from $57.6 billion in the same period last year to $74.6 billion.
Apple shares rose around 5% in after-hours trading following the announcement.
Apple has hit back at "deeply offensive" claims made by BBC's Panorama that workers were mistreated in Chinese factories.
Undercover reporters allege staff were denied days off, made to work 18 days straight and some were so tired they fell asleep during their 12 hour shifts.
An email sent out by Apple's senior vice president of operations Jeff Williams said: "Nothing could be further from the truth".
It added: "We know of no other company doing as much as Apple to ensure fair and safe working conditions, to discover and investigate problems, to fix and follow through when issues arise, and to provide transparency into the operations of our suppliers."
The factory said it would carefully investigate the BBC's claims before "all necessary actions" were taken.
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A new type of malware - or malicious software - is infecting iPhones and Mac computers mainly in China, according to research firm Palo Alto Networks.
The so-called WireLurker software lives in apps that are downloaded from third-party providers. Once it is inside an Apple device it can steal information and spread to other devices via USB cable.
Researchers say the motive behind the malware is not clear. Ryan Olson, an intelligence director at the firm, said there is no evidence that any sensitive information has been taken but that it ought to be possible to steal users' Apple IDs.
Once WireLurker gets on an iPhone, it can go on to infect existing apps on the device similar to traditional computer viruses.
Apple has not commented on the malware so far.