iPhone Hardware Chief Quit/Fired
The Apple executive in charge of iPhone hardware development has left the company following the "Antennagate" debacle. Miguel Helft at the New York Times
wrote that he was able to get Mark Papermaster on his iPhone, but that he "declined to comment" on whether he left voluntarily or was asked to resign. But John Gruber at Daring Fireball
, who has a broad range of sources inside Apple, says they are all telling him it's "clear he was sacked."
Papermaster joined Apple at the end of 2008, heading up the iPod and iPhone development efforts as Senior Vice President of Devices Hardware Engineering, He came from IBM where he was head of their blade server division, and his transition to Cupertino was marked by a contentious court case
that tested the limits of non-compete agreements. Papermaster said the work he'd be doing on mobile devices at Apple was different enough from the work he did at IBM that the nondisclosure agreement he signed with IBM didn't apply. Big Blue disagreed and took Papermaster to court. A judge decided he could stay with Apple, but only if he agreed to testify twice under oath - in July and October of last year - that he wasn't giving away IBM's secrets.
At the time Papermaster came on board, Apple's Devices Hardware Engineering division was still digesting the PA Semi engineers that had been brought on board to design what would become the A4 chip. Later reports, though, indicated that the PA Semi guys weren't able to contribute a lot to the design effort, which was largely done by Apple's own VLSI team and recruits from another Apple acquisition called Intrinsity
. As the division's focus shifted from the successful launch of the iPad to the iPhone 4, Papermaster became known at Apple as "the guy responsible for the antenna." Originally touted as an innovative design, the sleek stainless-steel band around the glass iPhone 4 soon became the focus of controversy as reports of reception problems mounted. One of Gruber's Apple sources
said that the "antenna guys used to have a big chip on their shoulder," adding "No more.”
Papermaster's replacement will be Bob Mansfield, the Apple Senior Vice President of Macintosh Hardware Engineering.
Source: Daring Fireball