As far as I'm aware, this is the very first time we've heard anything this explicit about Ive's new role and I find this comment absolutely alarming. it remains to be seen what talents Ive has in software design, but one thing is for certain .. he has absolutely no actual qualifications in that area.
As a former designer myself, I can say that no one in the design field would ever make the assumption that Cook is apparently making here. Skill at 3D design or industrial design simply does not equate to skill in 2D design, production design, or software design. They are completely different things.
Perhaps there is more to it than is apparent from Cook's comments, but if (as seems apparent) he is basically saying, "Well, Jony is great at designing the hardware so we thought we'd put him in charge of the look and feel of the software too." then Apple could easily be making a horrible mistake here.
Taste is not universal. You can be an excellent Industrial designer and still be a wearer of ugly sweaters who likes to watch "Family Guy." Let's hope that against all odds, Jony Ive turns out to be a world leader at something he's never even been trained for. The odds are against it however.
history proves you wrong in so many ways. Some of the most brilliant designers in history were not trained in their specified field, and many went on to do innovative work in other fields of design as well.
Look at Frank Lloyd Wright. Some call him the "Greatest American Architect". He was self taught and designed some of the most innovative and creative work of his breed. He designed buildings, but also 2D art as well, like wall hangings, stained glass, rugs, and various other graphic arts. He also design furniture and even table settings.
Look at the Eames'. Charles was an architect by training, but went on to design some of the most innovative furniture in the 20th century. His group also did film and games and home accessories and Graphic design.
It takes a special type of Eye for design to make a truly great designer, one that can think about design from every genre. I have no doubt Team Ives has that talent. Not to mention 20 years nearly of experience leading and collaborating at Apple. I have no doubt he will be great.