Apple’s Jonny Ive tipped to succeed Jobs - Wikimedia Commons: Jonathan Ive

The wizard designer of Apple gizmos may leave the company when he receives an £18 million share bonus and that’s causing board members to quiver, particularly given the parlous state of Steve Jobs’ health.

The Sunday Times (subscription required) reports the board of Apple is not at all happy with the prospect of Jonny Ive spending more time with his family in his birthplace, Britain.

The report said that Ive and his wive Heather want to educate their children in England, wants to stay at Apple but work from here rather than in Cupertino, California.

It quotes a “friend of the family” as saying that the board at Apple doesn’t want this to happen and that he might be needed at the company as a successor to CEO Steve Jobs.

Apple, in a comment to the Sunday Times, described the report as “speculation”.  But a “friend of the family” is English journalese for someone very close to Jonny Ive – and the report may even come from him.

Ive is credited with bringing nice designs to Apple gadgets – Apple is tipped to release the iPad 2 this week.  So don’t go buying the old lamps until you’ve seen the new ones...