Rumour: Apple design guru Ive to quit California

British industrial design guru Jonathan Ive is rumoured to be planning a return to the UK, much to the annoyance of the Apple board.

The Cupertino outfit is already being forced to contemplate a future without its messianic front-man Steve Jobs calling all of the shots, but losing the man who has single-handedly pioneered the company's cool designs and simple user interfaces for the last decade or more could really see the company struggling to keep pace.

According to a report in The Times (paywall) Ive is keen to return to Blighty to get his kids into a British school (no doubt where they have less of a chance of getting shot by toddler members of an LA gang).

And Ive will be able to take his pick of the very best of England's public schools as he's reckoned to be worth close to $130 million, including more than $30 million in Apple stock which he snapped up when the toy maker was on its uppers back in 2008.

Apparently the Apple board has told Ive that he can clear his desk if he wants to live in his £4 million Somerset mansion, but canning one of the company's most valuable assets because he wants to work from home is about as stupid the original decision to oust Jobs from the company he created back in 1984.

Ive is Apple's senior vice president of industrial design and is credited with creating the iMac, PowerBook G4, the MacBook, the iPod, the iPad and the iPhone - which is quite a portfolio.