Confirming the assumptions from my last post, John Gruber reports that Bob Mansfield is indeed staying in the company, and that his move from an executive position to a more mysterious role is highly likely of his own choice.
After asking around, word on the Cupertino street is that there’s nothing to read between the lines regarding Bob Mansfield no longer being on Apple’s executive team. Apple’s statement means exactly what it says — Mansfield is well-liked at all levels within the company and truly is working on special projects (read: new products).
After talking to a few more people, the impression I’m left with is that Mansfield has been so successful and remains so popular, he can write his own ticket. And this is the ticket he’s written.
Basically, Mansfield does what he wants, and right now he wants to work on "special projects." Maybe that's the iWatch, maybe it's the fabled Apple Television, or maybe it's something else. Whatever it is, Mansfield lending the project his expertise can be nothing but good for consumers.