"Jony is a singular figure in the design world and his role in Apple's revival cannot be overstated, from 1998's groundbreaking iMac to the iPhone and the unprecedented ambition of Apple Park, where recently he has been putting so much of his energy and care," said Apple CEO Tim Cook.
Ive's new company will be working closely with Apple on a range of products.
"Apple will continue to benefit from Jony's talents by working directly with him on exclusive projects, and through the ongoing work of the brilliant and passionate design team he has built. After so many years working closely together, I'm happy that our relationship continues to evolve and I look forward to working with Jony long into the future," added Cook.
Ive was knighted in 2012 for services to design and enterprise.
Ive's pending departure from Apple is triggering a small but potentially significant organisational change at the top of company.
Where he was responsible for both industrial and human interface design and reported directly to Cook, the design supremo role is being junked.
Vice president of industrial design Evans Hankey and vice president of human interface design Alan Dye will report to Apple COO Jeff Williams.
Hankey will be the first woman to lead Apple's industrial design team.
Some parts of the Apple user community hold Ive responsible for what they see as falling standards in human interface design, such as the use of grey-on-grey text and hidden functionality (eg, areas on the screen that are buttons but with no visual clues that they are controls).
And while there have been many attractive hardware designs under Ive's watch (eg, the original iMac may now seem dated, but it was an important breakaway from the 'beige box' era), the seemingly endless quest for thinness has resulted in computers that are much harder to upgrade and service.
For example, the current iMac has to be almost completely disassembled in order to gain access to the RAM slots. It's an even bigger job than replacing the hard drive, which involves ungluing the screen from the case.
"After nearly 30 years and countless projects, I am most proud of the lasting work we have done to create a design team, process and culture at Apple that is without peer. Today it is stronger, more vibrant and more talented than at any point in Apple's history," said Ive.
"The team will certainly thrive under the excellent leadership of Evans, Alan and Jeff, who have been among my closest collaborators. I have the utmost confidence in my designer colleagues at Apple, who remain my closest friends, and I look forward to working with them for many years to come."
In other staffing news, Apple has promoted operations and supply chain specialist Sabih Khan to the role of senior vice president of operations. He continues to report to COO Jeff Williams.
The company recently hired Mike Filippo, former lead CPU architect at Arm, fanning suspicions that Apple is preparing to switch from Intel to Arm CPUs in future Macs. Arm chips are already used in the iPhone and iPad. Filippo previously worked as a CPU/system architect at Intel, and as a CPU designer at AMD.