15 of the most important people at Apple

Angela AhrendtsGetty / Gareth CattermoleAngela Ahrendts oversees Apple’s retail stores.

Tim Cook is the most important person at Apple — everyone knows that.

But he’s not the only important figure. Although Cook is tasked with running the company and making all of Apple’s biggest decisions, tons of talented people have helped Apple become one of the most valuable technology company in the world.

Here are 15 of them.

Steve Zadesky oversees product design for the iPhone and iPod, and he may be running Apple's secret car project too.

Steve Zadesky, Apple's vice president of iPod and iPhone product design, has been at the company for 16 years.

Now, reports from The Wall Street Journal are suggesting Zadesky is in charge of another major undertaking at Apple: Project Titan. This is supposedly the company's secretive car project, and he's reportedly been given permission to assemble a team of 1,000 people to help him with the initiative.

Jony Ive designs all of Apple's hit products.

Jony Ive is Apple's senior vice president of design, and he's responsible for designing gadgets such as the iPhone and the original iMac. He's the genius behind the precision and signature detail that Apple products have come to be known for.

He doesn't really appear on stage at Apple's events, but you may recognise him from some of Apple's most notable product videos, including one of its more recent ones for the Apple Watch.

Jeff Williams is a big part of the reason Apple is able to make millions of iPhones.

Apple had a stellar quarter at the end of 2014, and much of that credit goes to Jeff Williams, the company's senior vice president of operations.

Williams is in charge of Apple's supply chain, which means he is a large part of the reason Apple was even able to produce enough iPhone units to break records. This includes maintaining relationships with suppliers such as Foxconn and negotiating supplier contracts.

Phil Schiller is responsible for telling the stories behind the Mac, iPhone, and other Apple devices.

Phil Schiller is Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, which means he has an incredibly important responsibility. It's his job to shape the public perception of Apple's products. Schiller has been at Apple since 1997 and frequently appears on stage at the company's major product announcements.

Eddy Cue made iTunes the massive hit it is today.

Apple's Eddy Cue

Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president of internet and software services, developed the iTunes platform into what it is today. One big advantage iOS has over the competition is its giant App Store and the fact that most popular apps come to iOS before arriving on other platforms, and Cue has been in charge of growing both iTunes and the App Store since their inception. He's also the man in charge of handling crises relating to iCloud outages and other software-related issues.

Angela Ahrendts oversees how Apple runs its retail stores.

Apple's retail stores are an incredibly important part of the company's image, and it gives Apple a noteworthy advantage over its rivals. From the Genius bar to the way Apple's products are presented throughout the store, it's often the first impression shoppers have of the company and its devices.

Apple had searched for a year to find the right person before it hired former Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts in October 2013. Ahrendts' first big test will be how she handles the launch of the Apple Watch this April.

Jennifer Bailey makes sure Apple's online shopping experience is up to par.

Jennifer Bailey, Apple's vice president of worldwide online stores, has been at the company for 12 years. She's tasked with making sure Apple's online store is just as pristine and easy-to-navigate as its retail experience. Bailey also may have helped with key hires for Apple Pay, according to Re/code.

Craig Federighi is in charge of the software that runs Apple's iPhones, iPads, and Macs.

Craig Federighi oversees how Apple's iOS and OS X are developed, and manages the company's engineering teams to make sure all updates are pushed out on time. Unlike Android, all iPhones are eligible to receive the latest version of iOS at the same time, which means the company has to meet tight deadlines when developing new features and software versions.

But it's really Federighi's stage presence that's made him so well-known among Apple fans. He regularly appears to stage at the company's big product announcements, and some have even likened his charisma and energy to that of Steve Jobs.

Dan Riccio makes sure all of Apple's gadgets are engineered perfectly.

Dan Riccio is Apple's senior vice president of hardware engineering, which means he reports directly to Tim Cook and leads the teams that create all of Apple's Mac, iPhone, iPad, and iPod products. This includes testing products to make sure they function properly before they go to market. He's a big part of the reason Apple's products look, feel, and work the way they do.

Isabel Mahe makes sure the wireless technology in the iPhone and iPad work properly.

Isabel Mahe

You probably haven't heard of Isabel Mahe, but without her your iPhone probably wouldn't work the way it does today.

Mahe is Apple's vice president of wireless technologies, which means she oversees everything from Bluetooth to GPS code.

Steve Dowling is responsible for how most of the world sees Apple.

Steve Dowling has been running Apple's public relations unit for more than a decade after working as a Silicon Valley reporter for CNBC. Apple's relationship with the press is a delicate one - Apple is one of the most widely-covered companies in the world, but it's also very secretive.

Dowling has managed to make sure the press is as informed as possible about Apple, and is generally well-liked by most of the reporters he works with. He also made our list of the 50 best public relations people in the tech industry for 2014.

Eugene Whang is one of the key designers behind Apple's products.

A photo posted by eugene (@eugandeug) on Sep 3, 2014 at 6:35pm PDT

Jony Ive leads Apple's industrial design team, but without his talented group of designers it would be impossible to bring any products to market. Whang (pictured in the photo above, second one in from the left) works alongside Ive in Apple's studio, and he helped design the iPhone among other iconic Apple gadgets. His name appears on dozens of Apple design patents.

Julian Hönig is another high-level industrial designer who works directly with Ive.

Julian Hönig may be responsible for the way Apple's important products look, but his expertise stretches way beyond electronics.

Before he started working for Apple about five years ago he designed Lamborghinis.

Barte André's name is on more design patents than any other Apple employee.

Barte André is part of Ive's elite design team at Apple. He and Ive, along with the rest of the company's industrial design team, share an impeccable attention to detail that drives the design behind most of Apple's products. Andre's name is on more design patents than any other Apple employee, according to The New Yorker.

The magazine also cited an anecdote that shows how Ive and Andrew view design. Ive and André are proud of the fact that they were able to make black and silver versions of the internal components that power Apple's MacBooks. In a competitor's laptop, the motherboard would be green. It's a small design detail that the average MacBook user won't ever even see, but it shows how much the company values detail.

Richard Howarth was deeply involved in the design process for the first iPhone.

Richard Howarth is one of Apple's most well-known designers, and he worked closely with Ive on early iPhone prototypes. Howarth wants to help students get into design, too -- he donated £4,250, or about $US6,548, to winners of the RSA Design this past August. Howarth won the award himself early on in his career, and he used the money from it to help him get his big break with Sony, according to blog Apple Must.

Now, check out why employees are so happy at Apple...

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