Apple VP shuffle has Bob Masfield on Chips, duties split in two

There's word from "sources with knowledge" this afternoon of a bit of a move inside Apple of a few key employees including, first and foremost, Bob Mansfield. It would seem, according to 9to5Mac, that Mansfield's recent move to Special Projects was done for several reasons, one of which was to help with the transition of two replacements for his former role as senior vice president of technologies.

It's said this week that two senior Vice Presidents will be splitting the role once filled by Mansfield alone. One of these fellows is Dan Riccio, this man previously on Hardware chief, now aimed at antenna design for Apple's mobile devices. His duties are also tipped as being, in part, hardware engineering for Wi-Fi components in the whole Apple product ecosystem.

Meanwhile it's stated by this unnamed sources that Operations head Jeff Williams will be assisting in overseeing management for the groups Mansfield was previously in charge of. This is – effectively – Apple's special projects engineering teams, this consisting of projects that are both in the pipeline and completely unannounced as of yet.

Mansfield's new role then, as this source states, will be much more focused on chip development. This official change-over appears to be somewhat of a formality as word from inside Apple – according to the same source – says Mansfield has been "increasingly focused on chips (and some aspects of wireless)" while he's been delegating work elsewhere to other executives over the past "couple of months."

Can we expect a bit more focus on Apple's processor (chip, as they say) engineering in the near future? Could it be that we'd even see a whole new chip line before the end of the year, ready to roll in the iPhone 5S and/or iPad 5 / iPad mini 2? That may just go without saying – and perhaps whether or not this switch was made at all.