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Chief iPhone Engineer Leaves Apple


Chief iPhone Engineer Leaves Apple

The man who was in charge of iPhone engineering during the “Antennagate” saga is no longer working for Apple, the New York Times has revealed.

The exact reason for the departure of Mark Papermaster, senior vice-president of devices hardware engineering, is not clear but it’s widely assumed that Papermaster has paid the price for what many consider to be the biggest PR blunder Apple has ever faced.

Papermaster declined to comment to The New York Time on the reasons for his leaving, but Apple confirmed that Bob Mansfield, its current head of Mac hardware, has taken over his role.

At the recent 16 July press conference, at which Papermaster was noted for his absence, Steve Jobs said that the iPhone 4 was Apple’s most successful product ever, and insisted that there was nothing actually wrong the product. This was despite agreeing to give away free cases and bumpers to every iPhone 4 customer, at a cost of millions of dollars.

An incorrectly held iPhone 4, yesterday.

However, while this was Apple’s public stance over the affair, it doesn’t seem unreasonable for it to be less than pleased internally at the way things turned out.

Papermaster’s original hiring at Apple was controversial in itself. Having been at IBM for 25 years, he left the company in late 2008 to go to Apple. IBM sued saying as he was not permitted to join a competitor for a year after his departure but Apple counter-sued, and while the case was eventually resolved Papermaster only joined Apple in April 2009. His departure so soon after this points to an unhappy ending, though whether he was jumped or pushed we might never know.

Link: New York Times

Go to comments


August 9, 2010, 12:47 pm

I remember Jobs calling the antenna design 'cool engineering' in his keynote introducing the 4G, and he is famously 'hands on' in the development of Apple's products especially key ones like the iPhone.

It's also suspicious that the only aftermarket product that Apple has ever made for its iPhone, and is coincidently introduced at the 4G launch, is a very un-Apple like strip of rubber to cover the phone and by the way is a work around the problem - leading us to believe that they knew about the problem before launch.

One could also argue that the way Apple responded to the problem and all the PR gaffes that subsequently followed, made by Jobs himself, and have been more damaging than the actual 'fault' which has been overblown. (When he's not controlling a rehearsed keynote, he doesn't seem to handle himself well at all!)

Seems to me that a certain someone needs to look at themselves and take some responsibility for this sorry episode. After all he's happy enough to take all the plaudits.


August 9, 2010, 2:33 pm


I agree with all your comments. I do think that Jobs needs to really take a look at the way he conducts himself, he can come across as being very arrogant.

I still think the issue was blown out of proportion, I tested an iPhone 4 in the Apple store yesterday and couldn't reproduce the problem, so maybe it just affects certain handsets, or maybe certain skin types!

I still have my iPhone 3GS and still think it's the best thing I've ever owned, although actually that might now be the iPad that I got recently. That's a great device too and is difficult to put down, it has changed the way I consume media and it does have some great productivity tools also.


August 9, 2010, 3:40 pm

@Stewart, @jacko: Maybe Jobs should do what all big cooperates do, not give a sh*t and say nothing. eg. Bill Gates, bluescreen, bluescreen, I scream, response: total silence. works every-time.


August 9, 2010, 4:46 pm

The only 'paper' he's 'mastering' is his pink slip. (Just wanted to say that. I'm sure it's incredibly easy for him to find a job.)


August 9, 2010, 5:13 pm


Who mentioned Micrsoft? This isn't an Apple vs Microsoft thing.

Steve Jobs didn't hold an 'antennagate' press conference because he's a nice guy - he had to do something because the issue was seriously impacting Apple's reputation for quality - one of the things upon which they charge their premium prices, and all previous attempts to deal with the issue were PR disasters.....

1. Hold it another way...

2. There isn't a problem...

3. Here's a firmware fix to the problem....oh and by the way we've been telling you that the strength of the signal on an iPhone was better than it actually was since the 1G but have only just realised ;-) ... and the phone will still drop calls, but that's not unusual - all phones do that.

Jobs was clearly irritated at having to give the press conference, and gave an unsatisfactory performance denying there was a specific problem with the phone and then announcing free 'bumpers' to address the non-problem.

Whichever way you look at it Apple's response to the issue has clearly contributed to their woes over this.

I personally happen to think that the iPhone 4G is an excellent product (although I object to the restrictions Apples closed practices place on it) and that the whole antennae issue is overblown.

However, I do think Jobs is arrogant, hate his hype, and believe he treats his customers with contempt....so it's been fun to watch him get so irritated over this.


August 9, 2010, 5:38 pm

@Stewart: Who mentioned Micrsoft?

Eh let me think!, I did..

My point was, this all came about because he opened his mouth. If he never said anything like most big cooperates, then it all wound't have been blown out of proportion. So my advice to Job's, any issues just ignore them, seems to work for Microsoft/Nokia/Sony etc.etc.etc..


August 9, 2010, 5:58 pm

@Keith; If Jobs can't bring himself to be a little more humble, then maybe he should do what other big cooperates do and say nothing.

You must admit that Job's initial reaction ('Don't hold it that way') was a ridiculous response to a customer and that if he hadn't have said that, the uproar wouldn't have been anywhere near what it was?

You must have read my other posts on TR defending Apple and it's products against all the 'style over substance' comments, so remember that generally, we are on the same side.

But for me Jobs has either got to shut up or change what he says.


August 9, 2010, 6:20 pm

@jacko: But for me Jobs has either got to shut up

Yep, that's what I said.. :)


August 9, 2010, 7:53 pm


A very Job-like response. Don&#8217t focus on Steve&#8217s faults, bring up the performance of his competitors. Kind of reminds me of &#8220it&#8217s not a problem with the iPhone, it&#8217s a problem for all smartphones&#8221.

Or he could have left it for their PR department to deal with and they may have come out with a more suitable response. Jobs has an insatiable need to be seen as the public face of Apple whereas someone like Gates is lets others do their job. Just because the CEO doesn't personally respond it doesn't mean that the company ignores issues. I don't remember Bill publicly apologising for the RROD but the MS response with the extended warranty didn't feel like them ignoring their customers.


August 9, 2010, 8:03 pm

@Keith; I must have inserted my own sarcasm into your post, as it read like you were trying to defend Jobs.

If that's not the case then great. I'm glad you agree that Jobs shouldn't have said the 'Don't hold it that way' gaff, as that was ridiculous.


August 9, 2010, 8:49 pm

@ravmania: A very Job-like response.

No, a very large cooperation response, like I pointed out. And I am focusing on Steve's faults, he should have shut up.

Check forum history to see how the RROD response was handled, check the forum history to see how Sony's YLOD was handled, check forum history to see how Adobe's problems were handled. etc.etc. There are thousands of examples of were large businesses ignore there customers, until there is a loud enough public revolt for them to do anything about it.

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