Apple ousts iPhone head amid Antennagate

Apple ousts iPhone head amid Antennagate

Summary: Apple and its Senior Vice President of Devices Hardware Engineering Mark Papermaster have parted ways and some think that he's a casualty of Antennagate.

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In November 2008 Apple hired IBM's Mark Papermaster to be Apple's Senior Vice President of Devices Hardware Engineering replacing Tony Fadell as head of Apple's iPod and iPhone divisions. A court deal later forced Papermaster to wait until April 2009 before starting at Apple.

Sixteen months after being allowed to work for Apple, Papermaster is out.

Speculation abounds that he's the first casualty of the iPhone 4's problematic antenna design, but neither Apple nor Papermaster have given a reason for the departure. One could reasonably assume that he may have been asked to resign for the design flaw in Apple's golden goose -- the iPhone 4.

It's suspect antenna design has been a publicity disaster for Apple -- dubbed "Antennagate" --and has lead to rumors that its successor (the iPhone 5) is being to rushed to market and that it could come as soon as in January 2011 -- six months earlier than the traditional summer time frame for iPhone launches.

MacRumors adds some fuel to the fire noting that Papermaster has been virtually invisible from Apple's promotion of the iPhone 4, curious for the head of the department that designed it.

In retrospect, today's news explains what should have been seen as a curious aspect of Apple's iPhone 4 press conference last month. The Q&A portion of the press conference was conducted by Apple CEO Steve Jobs, Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook, and Mansfield. Papermaster, whose division designed the iPhone 4, was to our knowledge not in attendance at the event.

In fact, even Apple's promotional video for the iPhone 4 released at the device's introduction in early June and featuring a number of Apple executives talking about it does not include Papermaster. Mansfield is, however, featured with the job title of Senior Vice President of Hardware, dropping the "Mac" qualifier that had been part of his official job at that time. According to The New York Times, Mansfield was involved in the design of several aspects of the iPhone 4, including its A4 chip and Retina display.

Apple confirmed the shakeup at Apple's most important devision in a statement to the New York Times stating that Papermaster “is leaving the company." Apple noted that Bob Mansfield, senior vice president of Macintosh hardware engineering -- who recruited Papermaster in the first place -- will be assuming his responsibilities.

Could there be other casualties?

Topics: IBM, Apple, Hardware, Processors

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31 comments
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  • Apple is PISSED!!!

    Still believe the iPhone 4's antenna issues are [b]exactly[/b] the same as everyone else's?

    While I personally find that my iPhone 4's reception is more than adequate, especially with a case on to prevent the touch of death (a phenomenon unique to the iPhone 4), I simply don't understand why it is [b]so[/b] hard for all you Apple zealots to admit that the antenna design isn't a strong point of the iPhone 4. You drone on and on about how you don't believe Apple products are "perfect" yet you spit and scream and froth and jump and kick and yell whenever anyone mentions a flaw.

    The iPhone 4 is flawed. Apple has admitted it with this firing. I can live with that. Why can't you?
    NonZealot
    • RE: Apple ousts iPhone head amid Antennagate

      @NonZealot

      I'm glad to hear that someone who owns the iPhone 4 is admitting to the problem. I tire of all the Apple fanboys who seem unable to admit that the iPhone has a problem.

      Without the antenna issue, the iPhone 4 probably would've been a home run. It had even me convinced my next phone should probably be an iPhone (and that would be the first Apple product I would've bought). But as it stands, it's a good handheld computer, not a great phone. Maybe next time...
      bhartman36
      • The Zealot doesn't own an iPhone 4

        He'd have a brain aneurysm before buying an Apple product. He has no first hand experience with the largely media created issue. If the problem where as bad as the media has portrayed it, people wouldn't be buying them.
        @bhartman36
        GoPower
      • RE: Apple ousts iPhone head amid Antennagate

        @bhartman36
        +1. And I'm not even a serious Apple fan.
        twaynesdomain-22354355019875063839220739305988
    • RE: Apple ousts iPhone head amid Antennagate

      @NonZealot

      Who is saying the the antenna issues are [b]exactly[/b] the same?

      Antenna design, especially mobile antenna design, involves compromise; there is no perfect antenna. If the iPhone 4 antenna is 'flawed' because of that, so are all of the others. They just have a different 'flaw.' What people seemed to be pissed about is that Apple has pointed out that everyone else has made compromises.

      I've found that the iPhone 4 performs better than my iPhone 3G. I've only dropped calls when I've moved into areas with no reception (tunnels and certain areas at work).

      Is the phone 'perfect?' Of course not. No phone is.
      msalzberg
      • RE: Apple ousts iPhone head amid Antennagate

        @msalzberg

        I'ts not the bad antenna design that is the issue, it is the slimeball that is Steve Jobs who tried to blame everyone else but himself, and in fact lied in a press conference stating all phones have this issue (hint, they don't, at least every phone I have owned has NEVER had this problem).

        Those that support and stick up for Apple are simply backing the lies and deception of the most dispicable CEO in our lifetime! Strong statement, yes, but I stand by it!

        Pat
        omdguy
    • RE: Apple ousts iPhone head amid Antennagate

      @NonZealot Don't recall anybody saying that all or even many other phones suffer from the exact same issue. Numerous phone experience a drop in signal when held in a certain manner but don't think anybody has claimed it's exactly the same. The iPhone 4 definitely has an antenna design issue and it can easily be fixed either with a minor manufacturing change or with an aftermarket case such as the bumper pads. Pretty sure we all know that and that nobody is claiming there is no issue with the antenna and don't recall seeing any Apple zealots droning on about how Apple products are perfect and there is no antenna flaw. What you do see is Apple/iPhone fans (not just zealots) that do not sit back and let the haters spread lies about it being so wide spread and that no iPhone 4s can even make a call. Big difference between claim perfection/ignoring a known issue and defending a product against lies.
      non-biased
  • RE: Apple ousts iPhone head amid Antennagate

    That Papermaster has been outed because of the "antennagate" remains to be backed by a solid proof.<br><br>I'm quoting: "In fact, even Apples promotional video for the iPhone 4 released at the devices introduction in early June and featuring a number of Apple executives talking about it does not include Papermaster". He was virtually outed BEFORE the launch of the phone, long before the "antennagate". And as everybody remark that Apple was completely taken offhand by the media around this, I don't know how it can be any proof.<br><br>"Mansfield was involved in the design of several aspects of the iPhone 4, including its A4 chip and Retina display." There is no antenna in this quote.<br><br>People see what they want to see where they want to see it. During this time, Google steal people personal datas, has secret conclaves with Verizon with not very cool implications (FCC did not appreciate at all), they have a very "I won't do anything about it, it's app developers faults, and good by" approach to people voicing concerns about Android phones battery life, and everybody still thinks that all of this is completely normal.
    atari_z
    • I would bet, he drop a few IBM IP docs into an Apple network

      Everybody is talking about antennagete. But this issue smell like ethical violation.

      I would not be surprise if soon we learned that the dude took a bunch of IBM documents and drop them into an Apple network .... causing a possible legal problem for Apple.

      Anybody remembers that high level exec at Boeing who cost the company BILLIONS in contracts when it took a CD full of Lockheed Martin proprietary documents with him when he jump the ship.
      wackoae
    • @atari_z Google doesn't steal your data. If you use any....

      of their software YOUR data is not yours anymore. If you read their license agreement you will find that if you use any of their software any data you have on your computer is theirs, and many people don't think that law should be passed against that type of behavior. This is just one reason I will never use any google software.
      dougogd@...
  • Antenna Problems?

    AUSTRALIA:<br><br>Daily Telegraph:<br>"I knew it would be impossible to review Apple's new iPhone 4 without first discussing the antenna "issue".<br><br>Before I received the iPhone 4 I'd already heard the reports of the "death grip".<br>"I've been using the iPhone 4 for nearly a week to make calls, send and receive emails and surf the web from various places around the city and suburbs.<br><br>Is the antenna an issue? No it's not. Have I dropped calls? No, I have not.<br> <br>Have I noticed an impact on the device's performance? No."<br>"Unlike the US with AT&T as its solitary iPhone 4 carrier, Australia has the luxury of four networks to choose from.<br><br>I have tested the Australian version of the iPhone 4, without a case, with micro-sims supplied by Telstra, Optus, Vodafone and 3 in various parts of Sydney in varying signal strengths.<br><br>I tried the death grip'' on the bottom left while making test calls in areas I knew to have weaker reception and the times I did manage to reduce the signal bars but my calls were still not affected."<br>"If anything, call quality was improved due mainly to the small noise-cancelling microphone next to the 3.5mm headphone jack at the top of the device.<br><br>It filters out ambient noise to the point where people thought I was in my office even when was talking on the iPhone 4 in a busy street.<br><br>Is the iPhone 4 an improvement over the iPhone 3GS? Absolutely."<br><br>TELESTRA (Australia)<br>IPhone awarded "Blue Tick" for SUPERIOR reception:<br><br>"Australian mobile provider Telstra has awarded iPhone 4, when used with a case, a special "Blue Tick" approval for use in rural areas of poorer service coverage, due to the phone's antenna performance. "<br>""The great news for our regional and rural customers," Telstra says, "is that an approved rubberised bumper or case can help to maximise the coverage performance of the iPhone 4. In fact, the handheld coverage performance is improved so that it is equivalent to one of our Telstra Blue Tick devices."<br><br>NORWAY:<br>IPhone tested against other phones in rural area only iPhone 4 holds stable connection.<br><br>Translated from Norwegian:<br>"We have taken us an iPhone 4 and three other phones in stmarka, until the outskirts of Telenor's mobile coverage, for a proper stress test. We will see if we found some significant differences in the antennas had to work in high gear. It did not. <br><br>The problem that has caused trouble for Apple in the U.S. is that the coverage decreases if one holds the phone with a firm grip. <br>....<br>(Comparing with Nokia E71 and HTC Wild Fire) "When we took the phones in the row, was to return the iPhone 4 the only one who was close to having a stable connection. Where we came a little way to download VG Mobil's front page, while the other three phones said "no service". <br><br>May be due to cellular <br><br>Poor mobile networks may be the cause of iPhone 4s antenna problems in the U.S.. "<br><br>---<br>HA.
    Davewrite
    • RE: Apple ousts iPhone head amid Antennagate

      @Davewrite

      Wow, one person reports that he hasn't had a problem, that evidence is all that is required to completely, totally and utterly refute the contention that the product is flawed, the opinion of one person.

      In the same way, I have been using Windows Vista for almost 4 years now, and I have never had a problem.

      I have thereby, by your logic, completely refuted the contention that Vista is flawed.

      After all, we don't need science, we don't need research, we don't need studies, we just need the opinion of one person. And that permanently settles the question, now and forever.

      Let's get this straight: in order to prove that the iPhone 4 is flawed, it is not necessary to prove that each individual unit experiences the problem or that each and every user experiences the problem.

      All one needs to prove is that a statistically significant minority has had the problem, and that the problem occurs more frequently with iPhone 4 than with other phones.

      The argument that unless 100% of units have a problem then the problem does not exist is logically fallacious.
      Doctor Demento
      • one person? maybe, but those are REVIEWS I'm quoting

        @Doctor Demento <br><br>where the tech reviewers are comparing them to other phones etc.<br>But hey when tech reviewers say it's ok it's 'one person's account' while U.S reviewers lambast it "it's gospel truth"<br><br>FACT is the iPhone 4 in spite of the bad press has a return rate of 1.7% and a 0.55 rate of Apple care users QUESTIONING about the the antenna. Those are the numbers. The return rate for the Palm Pre estimated from 10-40%, the Blackerry Tour at 50%. Since you like saying things like "statistically significant" Maybe you'll like to show me phones will LOWER than 1.7% return rate?
        Davewrite
      • Just the stats

        Vista sold like crap, most businesses wisely avoided it, and the iPhone sells so well Apple and AT&T have trouble keeping them in stock. If the antenna issue where as big as the media has made it out to be the phone wouldn't be selling.

        Simple stats.
        @Doctor Demento
        GoPower
    • Got a laugh at some tweets that WMPowerUser is retweeting

      http://twitter.com/zpower
      [i]just got a failed call on my iphone at an absolutely awful time. wow, that sucked.
      ...
      okay, can't make any calls longer than about five minutes without getting a "call failed" on my iphone 4 connected to a microcell. useless.
      ...
      need to yell at united airlines agents, but at&t won't let me carry a call for more than 5 minutes. the perfect vortex of suck.[/i]

      :)
      NonZealot
      • RE: Apple ousts iPhone head amid Antennagate

        @NonZealot
        I don't think the iPhone is the problem I think it's the Micro Cell I've been working with AT&T Customer Support and Engineering about those same problem plus a Voice Warbling when connecting to the MicroCell. Customer Support says I must power sequence my iPhone every time I enter my house to get proper cell reception from my MicroCell
        kennmsr
      • IMHO

        @NonZealot If the antenna had not been singled out as a significant improvement over other phones in the promos, I doubt there would be such a stink. It looks to me that the antenna has a marginally improved gain factor. Gain antennas work much better in a clear field. A finger across the feedpoint, which is external in the ip4, will certainly degrade performance, but by how much will determined by many factors, largely how much moisture is in the finger.<br>
        A higher gain antenna is, by definition, is more directional than the "lesser" antennas. This makes several external factors more critical to its efficiency than would be to a "perfect" isotropic antenna. And they don't exist. The loop-node distribution will be easily calculated and the radiation pattern can be predicted as well - for an antenna in free space. An antenna which must be designed to form a frame for the device as well as consistently match the output stages while having fluctuating near-field interference will have a radiation pattern that resembles a Hydra. The same applies to the reception pattern. Apple should've kept it simple, it would work at least as well in "real life" and development costs would have been much lower. BUT, that being said, at least Apple tried to break out of the pack with this design. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Designing smartphones has to be an extremely risky business.
        Papa_Bill
    • ROTFL! You don't fire the head of the division

      for problems related to the carrier, and not the phone.

      Maybe in your world you fire the radio station manager because the radio Apple makes doesn't pick up radio signals, but the proff here is in the firing.

      Undeniablly Apple's fault, all the way, no excuses, no passing the blame.
      John Zern
      • do you KNOW for SURE he got FIRED and was it due to the Antenna?

        @John Zern <br><br>From all the articles I've read so far no one is for certain he got fired for the antenna, Apple hasn't said a word neither has Papermaster. Maybe he resigned for other reasons. <br><br>DO YOU HAVE some sort of INSIDE info? Do you have DRINKS with Steve Jobs?<br><br><br>NOTE The article says Papermaster did not appear in the IP4 ad but NOTE the ad appeared before the antenna (exaggerated) flap and the ad was made LONG BEFORE antennagate. That sort of indicates there were issues BEFORE antennagate.<br><br>Maybe he did get fired for the antenna but saying ROTFL when you don't have PROOF is just silly.<br>Reinforces my belief that this antennagate issue is just blown up by apple haters fantasizing and basing theories BEFORE they get the facts.
        Davewrite
      • Davewrite, I would surmise

        That John Zern, and others may well be onto something in their assumptions:

        Using logic, and based on statements from people like youself and others, that Apple does not release a product without rigorous testing to ensure that there are no issues associated with their product. If any is found, they are corrected, and a perfect, flawless product is then sold to the general population.

        It fits within the theory provided by many here that since their is a problem, and their testing is as such as to uncover any issue, then logic would indicate that Apple released a product with a known defect.

        And since it was discovered in testing, then Mr. Papermaster's departure from the company would have been decided long before the iPhone 4 was released.
        Tim Cook