Apple seeking engineers with the right touch

A sign that multi-touch input could be moving across Apple's product lines are its many job postings for touch engineers and managers.

Apple seeking engineers with the right touch
A sign that multi-touch input could be moving across Apple's product lines are its many job postings for touch engineers and managers.

From my search of Apple's Job Opportunities site, I could see a growing team to handle the company's touch technology. There were postings for hardware engineers, instrumentation engineers, senior hardware engineers and a hardware engineering manager for touch technology.

The touch technology team features a collaborative environment with creative, smart people, world-class products and cutting edge technologies. The team features opportunities for individuals to contribute across a wide spectrum of disciplines. Best in class engineering excellence and thoroughness is expected and encouraged. Learning and building of skill-sets is highly encouraged. Invention, IP and patent creation is expected and supported. Pushing the envelope to design and ship innovative products (like the iPhone) with best-in-class technologies and user experiences is the main goal of the touch technology team at Apple.

The company appears to mean that last cliche about "pushing the envelope."

I recall reading about a March presentation by Apple senior engineering manager Michael Lopp at the South By Southwest conference. The talk was about Apple's engineering process. Here's a bit from Helen Walters' report on BusinessWeek:

Every week, the teams have two meetings. One in which to brainstorm, to forget about constraints and think freely. As Lopp put it: to "go crazy". Then they also hold a production meeting, an entirely separate but equally regular meeting which is the other's antithesis. Here, the designers and engineers are required to nail everything down, to work out how this crazy idea might actually work. This process and organization continues throughout the development of any app, though of course the balance shifts as the app progresses. But keeping an option for creative thought even at a late stage is really smart.

Of course, none of the job responsibilities mention that you may have some face-to-face time with Steve Jobs, an activity that would put fear into even the most brave (egotistical) engineer.

Ages ago, I was told a story by one of the engineering team for the 1987 Mac II computer. It seems that Steve Jobs wasn't satisfied and he sent one of the logic-board revisions back to the drawing board. Why? Because he didn't like the color of a resistor. Not its functioning, reliability rating or cost. Its color.

No pressure on multitouch guys.

(In the nostalgia dept., here's a funny photo of a couch made from a bunch of Mac IIs. )