Meet Apple's Aces: The All-Stars Behind Apple

Moving forward with Steve Jobs' legacy, these are the Apple executives to watch in 2012.

As the story goes, Jonathan Ive started at Apple in 1992, after an impressive career in the UK design scene. But it wasn't until the return of Steve Jobs in 1997, when Jobs decided design would be a major part of Apple's new strategy, that Ive rose to the top of the ranks. The two were incredibly close friends, even described in Walter Isaacson's new Jobs biography as "soul mates".

The software engineer is acknowledged as one of the masterminds behind the iPod and later iTunes. Now, Robbin is rumored to be heading up the highly-anticipated, top-secret iTV project, according to Bloomberg. The man is so talented that, a few years ago, Jobs wouldn't tell TIME magazine Robbin's last name or job title for fear of the competition would poach him.

Though Joswiak is a marketing guru, he reportedly has a big say in product development at Apple and is respected by the company's engineers. According to CNN Money, Joswaik was the one who convinced a skeptical Steve Jobs to create the 14-inch iBook. He also helps guide the company on setting prices.

Meet the man that handles all things legal for Apple. Coming from Intel in September 2009, Sewell joined the executive ranks at a time when the company's legal battles were ever-mounting. Sewell oversees the day-to-day management of matters in intellectual property, litigation, and government affairs.

Forstall, who came to Apple in 1997, is widely-known as the protege of Jobs. He is one of the original architects behind the Mac OS X and Aqua user interface, and now heads up all the software for iPhone and iPads (which reportedly bring in more than half the company's revenue). At 42-years-old he is the youngest senior VP, but his impressive track record reportedly gives him a lot of clout among Apple's elite.

After more than a decade at Apple, Williams manages the company's notoriously efficient (and equally mysterious) supply chain. He's also largely in charge of making sure the quality of the products meet Apple's uncompromising standards.

While you rarely see this 22-year Apple veteran in public, Cue plays a huge role at the company: Managing all internet services, such as the iCloud service, iTunes store, and the App Store. Interestingly, Cue was also involved in publishing mogul Rupert Murdoch's iPad only newspaper called The Daily.

Managing the image of the world's hottest tech company is no easy task. Basically, if you want press access to any of Apple's execs, including new CEO Tim Cook, you have to go through her. Joining Apple in 2006, Cotton is known as one of the most powerful women in Silicon Valley.

After taking the reigns of the company in August, the former Chief Operating Officer is carefully watched by Apple fans as he fills in the shoes of the late Jobs. So far, Cook hasn't rocked the boat too much, but he has made a few un-Jobs-like decisions, such as reportedly giving employees extra time off on Thanksgiving. Outside of work, Cook, who has been at Apple since 1998, is reportedly a huge fitness enthusiast.

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