It appears that the "Antennagate" turned out to be not only be a hassle for iPhone users, Apple’s PR department, and the company as a whole, but ultimately Mark Papermaster, Apple’s executive in charge of the iPhone’s hardware. He is no longer with Apple.
The New York Times reported on his departure, but said it was not clear if he was ousted or if he left on his own accord. They were able to reach him on the phone, but he wouldn’t comment. However, other reports seem to indicate the former is more likely.
Bob Mansfield is next in line to take over Papermaster’s duties, the company told the NYT. He is SVP of Mac hardware engineering, and is already responsible for key parts of the iPhone, such as, the retina display and touch screens, as well as the A4 chip.
Though it’s entirely possible he wasn’t responsible for the design of the flaw, it looks like Papermaster was ultimately responsible for letting it pass.
"During a tour of Apple’s device testing facilities (where Mansfield, but not Papermaster, was present), we were told that the iPhone 4 was being tested for a full two years before its launch," writes MG Siegler at TechCrunch. "That means it was being tested before Papermaster got to Apple. While it’s not clear when the final hardware was approved for production, it’s certainly possible that Papermaster had little to do with that specific device’s hardware creation."
"That said, in the time leading up to the iPhone 4’s launch, he clearly had to be heavily involved in every aspect of it — including the antenna," he adds.
John Gruber at Daring Fireball claims to have heard a little about the situation prior to Papermaster’s departure. "From what I’ve heard, it’s clear he was sacked. Papermaster was a conspicuous absence at the Antennagate press conference," he writes. "Inside Apple, he’s ‘the guy responsible for the antenna’ — that’s a quote from a source back on July 23."
It’s not confirmed that Papermaster was indeed ousted, but it sure looks that way. Either way, it will be interesting to see where he ends up. He is unlikely to make the antenna mistake again, and companies will probably recognize that. In fact, I’m guessing the entire industry learned a big lesson from Antennagate. That’s one area of the hardware design that must require a huge checkmark before any major product release goes forward.