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Chip Guru Papermaster Loses Signal At Apple

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the heads-gotta-roll dept.

Businesses 374

ColdWetDog writes "Computerworld reports that Mark Papermaster has left his job as Apple's Senior Vice President of Devices Hardware Engineering. He was the senior executive in charge of engineering for the iPhone 4 and thus responsible in some unknown fashion for 'antennagate.' His name may ring bells from previous coverage of his jump from IBM to Apple. From a brief blurb on Daring Fireball: 'From what I've heard, it's clear he was canned. Papermaster was a conspicuous absence at the Antennagate press conference. Inside Apple, he's "the guy responsible for the antenna" — that's a quote from a source back on July 23. (Another quote from the same source: "Apparently the antenna guys used to have a big chip on their shoulder. No more.")'" Update: 08/08 03:01 GMT by KD : Swapped out a registration-required NY Times link for a Computerworld one; corrected the direction of Papermaster's career move.

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kdawson was one of the first Mac adopters (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33177612)

This was back when Jobs would personally accept rimjobs from new initiates into the Cult of Apple.

This is the difference between Apple and MS (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33177616)

At one company, quality kind of matters when you drop something off at the consumer's front door.

Re:This is the difference between Apple and MS (3, Insightful)

xs650 (741277) | more than 4 years ago | (#33177670)

"At one company, quality kind of matters when you drop something off at the consumer's front door"

Obviously not Apple or MS? What company are you talking about.

Re:This is the difference between Apple and MS (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 4 years ago | (#33178168)

What is wrong with the quality of Windows 7?

Re:This is the difference between Apple and MS (-1, Offtopic)

Moridineas (213502) | more than 4 years ago | (#33178270)

General quality? Maybe nothing.. I like Windows7. I have two fairly annoying nits..

1) Can't put a shortcut/icon to something that lives on a network drive on the win7 dock.
1a) Can't put a short to a folder on the dock without some acrobatics

2) No way I could figure out of easily upgrading a 2k/xp/2k3 style roaming profile to a vista/w7 style roaming profile (possibly missing something due to samba server here)

Re:This is the difference between Apple and MS (0, Offtopic)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#33178390)

Windows 7 is not the point, all it takes is one really shitty product, like Vista, to turn people off for good when they're straddling the fence and considering alternatives*.

That's like (hypothetically) touting the iPhone 5 even after half of Apple users replaced their iPhone 4's with 'Droid phones and never looked back.

* You could try to make the case that people still used Windows after WinMe, but Mac and Linux were not serious competitors for home-use marketshare back in the WinMe days.

Re:This is the difference between Apple and MS (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33177726)

Are you claiming that the firing of a sacrificial lamb is somehow evidence of Apple's competence?

Re:This is the difference between Apple and MS (3, Insightful)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 4 years ago | (#33177848)

I think he's trying to. He also seems naive enough to think that upper management have anything to do with things like design details. I bet he got a gigantic payout as a recompense for taking the fall for Apple.

The guy who should be taking the fall is Jobs, for putting aethetics before technical considerations in the team's mindset, and then insulting the intelligence of his customers by claiming that a) it's their fault for holding it wrong and b) that all other smartphones suffer the same problem when their own previous iPhones didn't.

Re:This is the difference between Apple and MS (4, Insightful)

Mike Buddha (10734) | more than 4 years ago | (#33178054)

What's the point of surrounding yourself with toadies, flunkies and yes-men if you can't throw them under the bus when you need to?

Re:This is the difference between Apple and MS (0)

udippel (562132) | more than 4 years ago | (#33178104)

Isn't. I mean, difference; whatever this cybertrooper (OP) tries to tell us.

I used to adore Jobs for a number of things, from his aesthetics to him turning Apple around totally. But now he has lost the plot. The sacrificial lamb has been slaughtered. The actual mistake was made by Jobs; trying to play down if not ridicule the customers' concerns. Instead of apologising, offer refunds, respectively recalls for everyone who wasn't happy. IMHO, not 10% would have wanted their phones to be sent for a recall action.

So one Steve has joined the other Steve, the one who - and that makes a difference - never shone with competence.

Actually, that's quite unfair. Papermaster was Vice-President for ... blabla. Definitively he didn't design the antenna. That is, above everything else, outside of his own field. Papermaster was a chip freak; antenna design is the task of an RF freak.

No, there is no visible difference. It were, if either of the Steves would have taken the consequence of a management blunder.

I love the spin (2, Interesting)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#33178224)

"He was the senior executive in charge of engineering for the iPhone 4..."

And yet "and thus responsible in some unknown fashion for 'antennagate.'"

Umm, he was the senior executive in charge of engineering for the iPhone 4, that means it was his goddamned responsibility to ship something that worked and if it didn't*, its his ass.

That is the way it used to be in companies and at work, but for some reason when the "senior executive in charge of X" isn't responsible in the minds of many these days.

Look at Deepwater Horizon, no one at Halliburton, BP or Transocean was publicly canned for that mess. The CEO of BP was demoted and sent off the Russia, but that wasn't a firing or a forced resignation.

* - I'm not convinced antennagate is that big of an issue, I know six people with iPhone 4s and they are all happy with them, good PR nightmare and generates alot of pageviews though.

Re:This is the difference between Apple and MS (1)

Moridineas (213502) | more than 4 years ago | (#33178278)

The actual mistake was made by Jobs; trying to play down if not ridicule the customers' concerns.

Agree that was a mistake. And I haven't heard anybody claim that the stupidest "hold the phone differently" jobs email was not the real deal.

Instead of apologising, offer refunds,

I think you're confused? There WAS an offer of a full refund for anybody who wasn't happy (including all cell phone company fees)... Do you know of somebody who wasn't able to return an iPhone4 for a full refund?

Re:This is the difference between Apple and MS (5, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 4 years ago | (#33178342)

So one Steve has joined the other Steve, the one who - and that makes a difference - never shone with competence.

If you're referring to Wozniak, I'm going to take exception to your remark. I've never liked Jobs, not from day one. Anyone who "adores" Steve Jobs wasn't around back in the beginning, isn't aware of the arrogance and bungling the man exhibited early on. Once an asshole, always an asshole, and running Apple has NOT improved his demeanor nor his attitude, not one iota. Wozniak, on the other hand, was a rare spark of true genius. As someone who was very big in the Apple ][ development scene at one point, I must say Wozniak's work impressed me far more than anything Jobs did. Was the Woz a a businessman, a corporate leader? No, of course not: unlike Jobs though, he never pretended to be. But he was a hell of an engineer.

NYTimes login (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33177622)

From bugmenot:

Username: blahblahblah7
Password: blahblahblah

Picking a replacement (-1)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 4 years ago | (#33177630)

Looks like they'll have to play rock, papermaster, scissors to see who gets the job next.

Re:Picking a replacement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33177920)

Pin the blame on the VP?

I thought Apple said there was no antenna problem (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33177632)

and that it was a software issue. Fucking pick one.

Re:I thought Apple said there was no antenna probl (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33177660)

They know it was an antenna problem, but the fanboys will believe whatever they claim.

Amusing side note, when I went to post the captcha was crucify

Re:I thought Apple said there was no antenna probl (-1, Troll)

thestudio_bob (894258) | more than 4 years ago | (#33177664)

Actually they never said it was a software issue. They said it was a attenuation problem that all modern smart phones have.

I'm not saying there's not a problem, but I like to correct people when they just randomly make things up.

Re:I thought Apple said there was no antenna probl (5, Informative)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 4 years ago | (#33177688)

Except they did say it was software [apple.com] .

In fact, they said that the number of bars that were being displayed was wrong, and that was the cause of the death grip signal loss.

Re:I thought Apple said there was no antenna probl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33177968)

In the corporate world they call him a fallguy. Must have been lacking in his ass kissing skills.

Re:I thought Apple said there was no antenna probl (2, Insightful)

brian_tanner (1022773) | more than 4 years ago | (#33178192)

Maybe I'm just naive, but to me the story fed by Apple has been fairly consistent. I don't understand all the accusations of lies and the rest of it. I also don't understand all of the posts here about "either its a problem with the design and they should fire someone or its not a problem with the design and they should fire no one."

This all seems logical to me:
  • All smart phones have signal issues when you hold them a certain way
  • iPhone 4 is worse than most when you bridge the gap between the antennas
  • iPhone 4 *appeared ever worse* than it actually is because of the algorithm calculating bars
  • Even though its worse than most, the problem can be addressed by a free bumper. And hey, even without the bumper, the problem isn't actually causing most people to drop more calls.
  • Whatever the true loss in phone performance because of the problem, there is a real problem, and someone should be held accountable for it. So (maybe), Papermaster bit the bullet for that.

For me, this covers the whole issue and all of the information that has come out. Seems pretty straightforward and not all that sinister, but again, maybe I'm naive.

Re:I thought Apple said there was no antenna probl (5, Insightful)

Lifyre (960576) | more than 4 years ago | (#33178222)

When taken as a whole it's not underhanded or inconsistent or anything like that. Then you look at the calendar of events in regards to their statements and you realize they're a bunch of elitist pricks trying to take everyone for a ride.

First they said there was nothing wrong with it and you were holding it wrong and if you had a problem stfu and go buy a bumper.
Then they said it was similar to other phones (it's not even close to the same but RDF Activate!)
Then they said it was a software error.
Then people started proving there was a problem and Apple had to have a press conference where Jobs lied his ass off or made completely misleading of fallacious comparisons and they said they would give people a free bumper.
Then they fired this guy.

(Note: I think the way Apple handled this issue is a much much bigger problem than the actual antenna design, which is honestly pretty minor in the grand scope of phone problems.)

Re:I thought Apple said there was no antenna probl (3, Insightful)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#33178288)

(Note: I think the way Apple handled this issue is a much much bigger problem than the actual antenna design, which is honestly pretty minor in the grand scope of phone problems.)

I have to disagree with the idea that the antenna of a telephone having issues is a minor problem.

It should be imperative that the antenna be absolutely as strong as possible, because it's a goddamned cell phone. The whole point of the thing is to make phone calls.

I'll grant you that the antenna issue was not as big as it appeared to be at first, but when you're spending $500+ for a phone, you expect to get the best reception possible. The antenna is not an area that should be skimped, and I do believe that it was Jobs' fault for pushing aesthetics over functionality, and leaving his engineering team stuck with having to make everything work given the aesthetics dreamt up by the art department.

The rest of your post I agree with. Not that any of this ever affected my decision to not buy an iPhone - Jobs turned me off of Apple a long, long time ago.

Re:I thought Apple said there was no antenna probl (4, Informative)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#33177692)

They've fired off so many excuses that it's perfectly understandable if people mix and match them a bit. They did at one point claim that the big signal drop was only an illusion caused by the software displaying too many bars in the first place. I think they mixed that with the "well everyone else has a problem too" gambit, at least for a while.

Re:I thought Apple said there was no antenna probl (1)

Moridineas (213502) | more than 4 years ago | (#33178286)

Isn't that true? I don't have an iPhone4, but the Anandtech reviews certainly seemed to back up Apple's claims of what the bars meant and how they were affected by a dropping signal.

Re:I thought Apple said there was no antenna probl (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#33178352)

>the Anandtech reviews certainly seemed to back up Apple's claims

Yes, they did, and so did these guys in Australia. [dailytelegraph.com.au]

Speaking from my own anecdotal experience, I have a spot in my house, right in front of my fridge, where all of my previous phones (iPhone 3GS, original iPhone, and two Sony-Ericsson phones before that) would always drop the call if I walked into it. The iPhone 4G has no problem with it.

-jcr

Re:I thought Apple said there was no antenna probl (2, Interesting)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#33178392)

I don't know what to believe and I don't have an iPhone to test. I just know that they did blame software at some point. I've lost track of whether that's part of the current explanation/excuse or if it's been superseded.

It does seem that whatever it is, the problem is substantially worse than for other phones.

Re:I thought Apple said there was no antenna probl (2, Informative)

LurkerXXX (667952) | more than 4 years ago | (#33177754)

Actually they never said it was a software issue. They said it was a attenuation problem that all modern smart phones have.

Then they lied about that as well. Does the iPhone 4 and every other phone have attenuated signal to it when the hand blocks the signal yes.

The ADDITIONAL problem with the iPhone 4 is it detunes the antenna when you hold in in a certain spot. No other phone has that problem.

That's the real problem. Apple has tried to distract folks by both claiming at one point that it was a software problem, and then later by saying it's the same problem all other phones have.

Both are lies.

Re:I thought Apple said there was no antenna probl (5, Insightful)

trapnest (1608791) | more than 4 years ago | (#33177882)

Actually they never said it was a software issue.

Apple has tried to distract folks by both claiming at one point that it was a software problem,

Make up your mind yo. PS they did say it was a software issue.

Re:I thought Apple said there was no antenna probl (0)

LurkerXXX (667952) | more than 4 years ago | (#33177886)

That was a quote from the grandparent. I accidentally hit the submit when I was going for preview and had forgotten the quotes.

Re:I thought Apple said there was no antenna probl (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33177892)

There isn't an antenna problem, there's an echo-chamber problem: lots of people in the press and the blogosphere are trolling for page hits, and they're much more likely to get them with a negative story than a "it works like it should" story.

  The iPhone 4's antenna design is superior to most other phones on the market. There was a bug in the signal strength indicator, which made the attenuation look pretty dramatic if you were in a low-signal location. Go watch SJ's press conference.

Re:I thought Apple said there was no antenna probl (5, Informative)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | more than 4 years ago | (#33178010)

There was a bug in the signal strength indicator, which made the attenuation look pretty dramatic if you were in a low-signal location.

If only there were some sort of optional operating mode, something that you could call a "field test" mode, or something like that. Such a mode could replace the worthless "bar" graph with a quantitative RSSI value in dBm, displayed at 1-dB precision, so iPhone owners could tell exactly how much loss Steve's magical new antenna was causing, and under what conditions.

Oh, wait. There is such a mode, capable of being enabled on virtually any GSM phone... and Apple disabled it for the very first time when the iPhone 4 shipped.

Move along, these aren't the excuses we're looking for...

Re:I thought Apple said there was no antenna probl (2, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#33178312)

I notice that you didn't show any evidence that my statement was incorrect, you merely bitched that Apple decided not to include the field test mode in the customer OS. Can you refute Anandtech's findings?

>Move along, these aren't the excuses we're looking for...

How very clever. Try again.

Tell a fanboy (5, Funny)

xs650 (741277) | more than 4 years ago | (#33177652)

The fanbois haven't gotten the word yet because their antennas don't work.

next step (1)

gomatt (1064232) | more than 4 years ago | (#33177666)

on the bright side, papermaster is a whiz at getting his resume looking good

*gate (5, Insightful)

Ksevio (865461) | more than 4 years ago | (#33177684)

Why does every "scandal" now have -gate appended onto the end of it? It wasn't called "Watergate" because it was a scandal about water...

Re:*gate (4, Funny)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 4 years ago | (#33177730)

Watergate-gate?

Re:*gate (3, Informative)

PinkyGigglebrain (730753) | more than 4 years ago | (#33177768)

Same reason everyone uses *zilla to describe something big. Its part of modern culture.

Watergate was a huge scandal that, IIRCC, started with a low key investigation by a reporter into a burglary at the Watergate building that also happened to house an office of the Democratic party. It started small and ended up with a US President being forced to resign in order to avoid being impeached. Until that time most Americans trusted the government to follow the laws of the land.

Same thing has happened in regards to the antennae issues of the iPhone, it started with a few comments and has mushroomed into a real mess.

And please, anyone who wants to correct/amend my recollection of Watergate please do, I am feeling to lazy to Google it at the moment.

Re:*gate (2, Interesting)

Gazoogleheimer (1466831) | more than 4 years ago | (#33177790)

Yes, however the remarkable thing is that most of the people that now use the *gate terminology have no idea what Watergate was about.

Re:*gate (0)

rotide (1015173) | more than 4 years ago | (#33177812)

Should we all get off your lawn now?

"In my day, we knew what the suffix "gate" really meant. You young whipper snappers shouldn't be using a word when you don't really know where it comes from!"

Re:*gate (4, Funny)

XSpud (801834) | more than 4 years ago | (#33177840)

Same reason everyone uses *zilla to describe something big. Its part of modern culture.

The use of *gate is so common now, perhaps the phenomenon should be called gatezilla.

Re:*gate (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 4 years ago | (#33178268)

I can't abide by this...Someone needs to get to the bottom of this *zilla-gate!

LK

Re:*gate (1)

ezzzD55J (697465) | more than 4 years ago | (#33177856)

Same reason everyone uses *zilla to describe something big. Its part of modern culture.

Or -illiterate to describe someone not savvy with something (nothing to do with reading).

Re:*gate (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#33178068)

Same reason everyone uses *zilla to describe something big. Its part of modern culture.

If that's the case, then why does nobody refer to my penis as *zilla?

Re:*gate (1)

PinkyGigglebrain (730753) | more than 4 years ago | (#33178196)

LOL

Perhaps they are rendered speechless by it's *zillaishness

Re:*gate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33178228)

Penisgate

Re:*gate (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#33178294)

Perhaps because the already refer to it as uPenis?

Re:*gate (0, Troll)

myowntrueself (607117) | more than 4 years ago | (#33178078)

Watergate wasn't even a real scandal; it was dressed up to look like a scandal by politicians who felt they needed to give the appearance of upholding moral standards (when in fact, as politicians, they had none to begin with).

Jean Baudrillard in his book "Simulations" explains it very nicely. Watergate was a simulation of a scandal.

Re:*gate (1)

PinkyGigglebrain (730753) | more than 4 years ago | (#33178210)

If Watergate was a simulation then it begs the question of what a real scandal would be, and whether there has been a real one in our lifetimes.

Thank you for the book recommendation, I'll check the library for it Monday. It sounds like it might be an interesting read.

Re:*gate (1)

Korin43 (881732) | more than 4 years ago | (#33178152)

Same reason everyone uses *zilla to describe something big. Its part of modern culture.

Seems more like reporters are just lazy and can't think of new terms.

Re:*gate (1)

PinkyGigglebrain (730753) | more than 4 years ago | (#33178238)

Even if they don't know the origin of the meme they still use it because it is known and generally understood by the masses, where as an attempt to introduce a new meme would require a bit of work on their part to promote it. So they just stick to what they know works. Perhaps its more of a "if it works don't fix it" kind of laziness rather than a lack of originality.

Though there does seem to be a fair amount of regurgitation in articles these days.

Re:*gate (1)

GrumpySteen (1250194) | more than 4 years ago | (#33177784)

It's a conspiracy.

It's... scandal-gate!

Re:*gate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33177818)

Repetitive vernacular for similar events to keep fresh within the publics conscioussness.

Orwell would be ashamed, as well as anyone with fair intelligence.

Re:*gate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33177896)

Why does every "scandal" now have -gate appended onto the end of it? It wasn't called "Watergate" because it was a scandal about water...

Exactly. They're not trying to make it sound more scandalous. They're trying to trivialize Watergate. Think about it.

Okay, well, think about it some more! ...you're not buying it, are you? Dang.

Re:*gate (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#33178360)

They're trying to trivialize Watergate.

Watergate was the least of Nixon's crimes.

-jcr

Re:*gate (5, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#33178126)

It's how new language elements are invented. If somebody ever launches a space probe to a false star, they will call the scandal "Stargate".

Re:*gate (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 4 years ago | (#33178136)

Yep, like Digggate: http://www.google.com/search?q=digggate [google.com] ... for Digg.com. Oy. What's next? Slashdotgate (/.gate)?

Re:*gate (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#33178322)

Maybe because people have forgotten about the Teapot Dome?

-jcr

Left-handed dropped calls (-1, Redundant)

Jazz-Masta (240659) | more than 4 years ago | (#33177690)

Apple needs to hire both right AND left handed antenna engineers and testers for the iphone 5.

Re:Left-handed dropped calls (1)

Xtravar (725372) | more than 4 years ago | (#33177764)

Most right handed people I know hold the phone with their left hand. It's so you can do something useful with your dominant hand while the other hand gets the easy task...

I just don't understand all these left handled jokes about the iPhone 4, and this was my last straw.

Re:Left-handed dropped calls (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33177834)

That's kind of funny, and I realize you're joking.

But the truth is it wouldn't have made a difference. All of the field testing was done with the phones inside cases made to disguise the prototypes as 3G iPhones. Left or right handed wouldn't have mattered because the flaw wouldn't manifest inside the case. Apple's obsession with secrecy with the objective of generating hype is what bit them in the ass this time.

Steve Jobs involved? (1)

mkiwi (585287) | more than 4 years ago | (#33177696)

I just have to wonder what was in the conversation between Jobs and Papermaster.
If Papermaster is the true mastermind of antennagate, may the heavens have mercy on his soul... Jobs would be pissed .

Re:Steve Jobs involved? (2, Interesting)

serbanp (139486) | more than 4 years ago | (#33177918)

maybe this conversation never happened. The design flaw is so blatant that it's very unlikely the engineers responsible for the RF section (including the antenna) would be so stupid. The whole fiasco smells of someone very high-up who brushed aside technical concerns for aesthetics. All we have to do is to wait for an insider to spill the beans...

Re:Steve Jobs involved? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33178198)

This. Five minutes in an EM simulator (or, hell, ten minutes with the Amateur Radio License Manual) would have told the engineers all they needed to know.

Any big hardware companies need a new CEO? (1)

hawks5999 (588198) | more than 4 years ago | (#33177700)

Anyone?
Anyone?

Re:Any big hardware companies need a new CEO? (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 4 years ago | (#33178386)

HP.

The Hurd was forced out because he could not keep his dongle under control.

Wait a minute.. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33177716)

didn't Apple go on the offensive to illustrate that ALL smart phones had an attenuation problem if held the right (wrong?) way? Then they fire someone for it. Basically their saying "yeah, we knew there was someone to blame for the design all along but we couldn't admit that publicly and force a recall...that would cost too much money. Lets lie instead, that costs less. We'll quietly shove him out the door when all the hoopla dies down." It can't both be everyone's and one persons problem at the same time. I call bullshit through deductive reasoning.

Re:Wait a minute.. (1)

headhot (137860) | more than 4 years ago | (#33177748)

Well just because all the phones have problems, doesn't mean that apple wants to strive to be better. What if the head of the OSX group put out a product as bad as Windows Vista? Should he not get fired because hey, Vista has problems too.

Now, if you take Apple at its word that its antenna performance is as good (or bad) as every one else, isn't it still possible, that they wanted it to be better, but it didn't turn out that way?

Re:Wait a minute.. (5, Insightful)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#33178324)

There's the basic problem all phones have of the human body (the hand, specifically) reducing the signal quality by a very small amount. This is physics, and is absolutely unavoidable.

Then there's the much more serious problem of bridging a contact on the iPhone's case, which de-tunes the antenna and thereby reduces the signal quality far beyond the usual signal loss caused by holding a phone in your hand.

Jobs tried to cover up the problem specific only to iPhones by confusing it with a problem all phones have. Without the bumper case (which prevents your hand from bridging the antenna) the iPhone's antenna performance is significantly worse than any other phone on the market. Period.

That's not exactly what I call "making it better". They had a serious, and frankly stupid, design flaw caused by Apple wanting metal on the outside of the case for aesthetic purposes. Jobs basically called his customers stupid for pointing out there was a problem, and then fired the guy ultimately responsible (though not directly to blame for the problem).

Re:Wait a minute.. (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 4 years ago | (#33178348)

I call bullshit through deductive reasoning.

Hmm....

Facts:

1. iPhone has antenna problems
2. All radio phones have antenna problems
3. Papermaster has left Apple

All three facts are correct. No amount of logical reasoning can override reality.

The rumor part of this is that he was sacked for screwing up the antenna. Whether this is true or not can have absolutely zero impact on the reality of the three facts above, even though it may appear to logically conflict with at least one of the above. The reason for this is that people's actions are not necessarily rational or logical. Any chain of thought that assumes this is flawed. Also, the above three are not logical absolutes. The iPhone doesn't have an absolute antenna problem, and not all radio phones have exactly similar antenna problems.

Re:Wait a minute.. (1)

catmistake (814204) | more than 4 years ago | (#33178358)

Actually, by definition, this is all histerical, just not ha ha histerical... but slap you in the face until you stop raving, histerical. Apple was burned by Gizmodo, and ravenous Apple zealots, not the antenna design, in the same way radio listeners were burned (once upon a time, remember radio?) by Orson Wells. Histerical.

Ive is the one responsible for the antenna (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33177720)

Make no mistake about it. The antenna was put where it is, on the outside because Jony Ive was in love with the design. Sure, Papermaster had to sign off on the design, but I assure you it's very difficult to say no to Jobs or Ive within Apple.

If Papermaster was indeed held responsible for a problem that stemmed from Jony (backed by Steve Jobs), then it's probably to his benefit that he is gone.

I would however agree with the idea that the antenna people have big chips on their shoulders. I'm not saying they never did anything right, but they think every one of them is better than nearly any person outside Reuben's group.

So I don't know where Gruber gets his info, but going by what I've seen he's only right about half the time so I wouldn't get too wrapped up in what he says.

Finally, I'll say this about the situation. I wouldn't read too much into this antenna stuff. There have been signs of trouble for a while. When the iPhone 4 was announced (before antennagate), you saw Bob Mansfield in the announcement but not Mark Papermaster. And no matter how much people outside the company may talk about the P.A. Semi group (which reported to Papermaster), virtually all the internal chip work was really stemming from Mansfield's group. I think it's likely Papermaster found his responsibilities had already been stripped away before the iPhone 4 launch, perhaps even before he showed up for his first day.

Re:Ive is the one responsible for the antenna (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33177874)

This is exactly like what reading celebrity gossip magazines feels like. I mean, it's a fucking antenna. On a cheap cell phone. Who the fuck cares?

Re:Ive is the one responsible for the antenna (1)

nanospook (521118) | more than 4 years ago | (#33178034)

So he was hired to be a scapegoat if and when they needed on?

Re:Ive is the one responsible for the antenna (2, Interesting)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#33178334)

>There have been signs of trouble for a while.

I still know a lot of people at Apple, and I hadn't heard any rumblings to the effect that Papermaster wasn't happy there, or that Apple wasn't satisfied with his performance. Of course, it's not like the man is going to find it hard to land another job.

-jcr

So Apple admits there is a problem (1, Interesting)

line-bundle (235965) | more than 4 years ago | (#33177756)

The publicity stunt of trying to equate their antenna problem with another (common) unrelated problem is clearly not working. And they know it.

The RDF signal losing strength? Something about grip of death and stars pehaps?

Re:So Apple admits there is a problem (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33177936)

You mean they aren't selling millions of them and that their return rate isn't low? Yea it's clearly been a huge failure that's bringing in tones of profits.

Curious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33177772)

I haven't been following all of the iPhone 4's signal loss issues, as I mostly live under a rock.

Still I've read on /. that Jobs et al messed with engineering to make it look pretty, is that true?

Also about those signal meters on most phones, are those standardized? Is it written in some standard somewhere that 5 bars must mean a certain dB value or is it completely ad hoc? If not, isn't that whole "OMG I lost 2 barzzz when holding ze iPhone this way, while this other phone only loses one. " kinda baseless?

*ducks*

See? People are leaving Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33177794)

for PCs.

- Life without walls.

Papermaster lose signal? (0)

jamesh (87723) | more than 4 years ago | (#33177850)

Main screen turn off.

Re:Papermaster lose signal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33177890)

For great injustice.

Typo (2, Informative)

sustik (90111) | more than 4 years ago | (#33177870)

Correction: he left IBM to work for Apple.

Re:Typo (1, Informative)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#33178020)

Grrrr. I hate that sort of thing. I can't even blame it on kdawson (this time). So much for proofing.

Sometimes you win, sometimes you loose.

Mysterious Ives (1)

WarpedCore (1255156) | more than 4 years ago | (#33177900)

I hate to shuffle out that the Slashdot story writes in a sorta/kinda confirmation that it was indeed a firing based on a blogger's opinion on what happened. The opinion is extrapolated from observation (Papermaster wasn't at the press conference a few weeks back) and a dosage of common sense and logic about the firing.

Nothing states any observations that the termination might be linked to how Papermaster handled supervision of his engineers and the methods of field testing that lead to this loss of one of their prototypes to a third party (and eventually Gizmodo). I can't recall how Daring Fireball was linked to that debacle (or why Gruber didn't acknowledge that maybe Papermaster was held liable by Steve Jobs as well as his subordinate).

The first deduction of reasoning I saw when the story first broke was that his expertise is in chip design therefore he had nothing to do with the antenna... then it was reasoned that since he is the head of the mobile division, he has a responsibility to the design of the phone (makes more sense). I've never known Apple to really put forward their designs based solely on functionality. Johnny Ives wasn't at the Apple Antennagate news conference a few weeks ago... but no one blames him or expects a letter of resignation from him on Steve Job's desk the next morning. It was likely that he drew up the design for the product and told engineering that they were constrained to what was on his design papers down to the every angle and curve regardless of how functional it actually was.

Re:Mysterious Ives (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#33178106)

It was likely that he drew up the design for the product and told engineering that they were constrained to what was on his design papers down to the every angle and curve regardless of how functional it actually was.

No, that's not likely at all. What's your source for that claim?

Re:Mysterious Ives (1)

WarpedCore (1255156) | more than 4 years ago | (#33178212)

It doesn't make it any less likely than anyone else's claim if it's not out of Apple's mouth. It's called speculation and I was merely breaking down other conclusions while asserting my own. I don't think external antennas design themselves. I don't see where Ives didn't have some input to the design of the product. It looks like Apple hands out a few immunity cards within their company. Eh... stainless steel backings for portable products, aluminum casings for wireless products... they're designed to look good.. can't really stress durability of a reflective metal surface or a wireless signal's ability to penetrate a radio inhibiting material like aluminum. An iPod Shuffle... it has no buttons.. Apple is about design. Differentiates them. Who shaped out the antenna if it wasn't under Ives supervision?

Re:Mysterious Ives (1)

WarpedCore (1255156) | more than 4 years ago | (#33178232)

What's your reasoning for it not being likely at all? Do you always question everyone's comments like it's a dissertation panel..? it's Slashdot for Chrissakes. You sound like my next door neighbor's AIM bot if I look at all your comments consecutively.

Re:Mysterious Ives (4, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#33178374)

a dosage of common sense and logic about the firing.

We don't know that he was fired. Gruber said he was, but he cites an anonymous source. Until and unless Papermaster or Apple releases a statement about it, this is just speculation.

-jcr

Marc Papermaster (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33177908)

was quickly replaced by eBookMaster

Apple Vs BP (5, Insightful)

Required Snark (1702878) | more than 4 years ago | (#33177996)

Even though his departure may not have been solely caused by the antenna problem with the iPhone, at least someone at the top level got kicked out at Apple after a huge screw up. No one has been punished at BP, Halliburton or TransOceanic. Although Tony Hayward was forced out as president, he was put to another big important position, and you know he was given some huge amount of money/stocks to make up for his troubles. They sent him to Russia because there is almost no english language reporting about the Russian oil industry, and out of sight is out of mind.

When you get to the top and get that obscene salary, part of the job should be that you take a bullet when things screw up. In American, it is rare for any executive to suffer in the sightest fashion for big problems, even when it is their fault.Just look at Wall St. and the crash. No one got dinged.

You can bitch about Apple about a lot of things, but at least someone got the axe. There needs to be a lot more of that at the top level if American business is ever going to be honest or meaningful again.

Re:Apple Vs BP (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#33178158)

But sometimes those who make big mistakes are less likely to make big mistakes in the future. They are haunted by the downsides of not being careful for the rest of their lives. They've learned a lesson.

Of course it depends on the mistake. If it's blatant and repeated disregard for safety, for example, then such exposes moral flaws that are too risky to keep around.

Re:Apple Vs BP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33178290)

But sometimes those who make big mistakes are less likely to make big mistakes in the future. They are haunted by the downsides of not being careful for the rest of their lives. They've learned a lesson.

Right, which is why the low-level engineer who left the prototype on a barstool at Shenanigan's wasn't fired. That is one guy who can be counted on not to lose any prototypes in the future.

Re:Apple Vs BP (2, Insightful)

jbailey999 (146222) | more than 4 years ago | (#33178172)

Why is seeking blood so important to you? "At least someone got the axe".

To quote a friend of mine: "I hope you'll treat yourself as harshly when the time comes."

Why the engineer and not the testers? (2, Insightful)

izomiac (815208) | more than 4 years ago | (#33178108)

While I've got a fair bit of disdain for Apple, the iPhone 4 antenna seems novel and effective, albeit critically flawed. IMHO, the designers should be praised for generating a new and potentially useful idea, while the testers should be fired for not finding this flaw before release. Given Apple's strange punitive actions, I predict the next iPhone will have a very conventional antenna design, which keeps it from pulling ahead of the competition, while the same poor quality control allows some other issue to creep in.

Re:Why the engineer and not the testers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33178154)

There is no way the antenna problem could have been found prior to the iPhone 4 release. This is due to two things:

1) When tested off-site, and also frequently on-site, the iPhone 4 was placed in a case to make it look as much like an iPhone 3GS as possible. Thus it was not tested caseless in most realistic, weak-signal usage cases.

2) The few times it was tested without a case, it was kept inside the lab on Apple's campus, and Apple has said that they have cell sites on-site, so a steep signal loss or detuning may not have been able to degrade reception enough to be noticed (e.g. to drop a call).

The reasoning behind these conditions is Apple's secrecy rules. There was no way for the testers to use the product in the conditions required to show the problem.

Re:Why the engineer and not the testers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33178314)

I completely agree that the testing methods were not capable of detecting this flaw. But someone had to accept those conditions, which was a pretty big mistake.

OTOH, those conditions probably came from the top and were nonnegotiable. So the antenna designer is getting scapegoated instead of the testers. If they blamed the testers, the testers would point out their unreasonable restrictions, and someone near the top would need to answer for that.

Re:Why the engineer and not the testers? (1)

Moridineas (213502) | more than 4 years ago | (#33178304)

"the next iphone" is perhaps the biggest test. Everybody makes mistakes. They are absolutely unavoidable. You pour all the money in the world into testing, but eventually something will slip through. (and note I'm not meaning this in the way of letting Apple off the hook...it does seem as if they did NOT do adequate real world testing on the iPhone 4).

However, the real test is how one recovers. If the next iPhone has another hugely reported on flaw like the iPhone4, well in retrospect the iPhone4 might be the beginning of the end. OTOH, if the next iPhone doesn't have such a flaw and solidly fixes any antenna issues, then the iPhone4 will be remembered (or not remembered at all most likely) as a blip in the road.

So we'll see if "the same poor quality controls" are real, or if it was a fluke, etc.

Summary is wrong (1)

BearRanger (945122) | more than 4 years ago | (#33178244)

Papermaster left IBM for Apple. In fact, IBM sued to keep him, saying he had trade secrets that shouldn't be shared. Apple had to wait a few months to get him because of this suit. Ironic that after fighting to get him they're dumping him so soon. If he's the head honcho responsible for the antenna problem (assuming it exists) you have to applaud Apple for holding people responsible for their failures. Are you paying attention Microsoft?

OT but awesome (1)

grumpyman (849537) | more than 4 years ago | (#33178338)

Swapped out a registration-required NY Times link for a Computerworld one.
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