Bob Mansfield Stories September 9, 2016

bob-mansfied-driving

Current State of Apple Car

Apple’s car plans appear to have hit yet another snag. Tonight the NYTimes is reporting that Apple is again rebooting the now infamous car project.

In a retrenchment of one of its most ambitious initiatives, Apple has shuttered parts of its self-driving car project and laid off dozens of employees, according to three people briefed on the move who were not allowed to speak about it publicly.

2016 has been an abysmal year for Apple’s car project if you believe the various reports from top news agencies. A timeline of Apple Car developments this year: expand full story

Bob Mansfield Stories July 28, 2016

SYNC 3 and Apple CarPlay

Following a report from earlier this week detailing Apple’s appointment of former executive Bob Mansfield to run its secretive ‘Project Titan’ Apple Car project, Bloomberg offers details on hires from BlackBerry and Ford.

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Bob Mansfield Stories December 28, 2015

Kevin Lynch Apple Watch

This may not be widely known, but it’s an interesting piece of history that’s now confirmed: Steve Jobs personally tried to recruit Kevin Lynch to Apple after the big Flash debate in 2010. Lynch, of course, was Adobe’s chief technology officer at the time and had just went head-to-head with Apple CEO Steve Jobs over Flash and iOS.

Apple later hired Lynch away from Adobe in 2013, giving him the title VP of Technology and a project that would later become the Apple Watch, a hire that was widely seen as a bizarre move. Tim Cook’s Apple hired the guy that Steve Jobs basically destroyed…

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Bob Mansfield Stories February 16, 2015

jony-ive-profile

The New Yorker has published an extensive profile on Jony Ive, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Design. Many newspapers have written up articles on Ive in recent years, but this latest account by Ian Parker is by far the most detailed and (arguably) the most interesting, revealing new anecdotes and tidbits on Apple’s latest products in the process.

The story tracks how Jony arrived at Apple back in the late 90’s, how his relationship with Jobs developed over that period, and how he is adapting to ‘leading’ design in post-Jobs Apple. The piece includes some new details about how the Watch project and the newest iPhones formed, as well as incorporating quotes from Tim Cook, Bob Mansfield, and others.

Read on for some select excerpts from The New Yorker’s story.

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Bob Mansfield Stories July 8, 2014

Wearables

This is an update to a February post in which we rounded up all recent Apple hires pertinent to the development of the upcoming iWatch. This post includes the addition of several new hires and experts, including a pair of key Nike FuelBand hardware engineers, and the new hires are labeled with italics.

Apple has been developing a sensor-laden, fitness- and medical-focused wearable computer as indicated by several notable recent hires and information we have received from sources. The device will have a focus on both fashion and exercise as Apple has been testing the device with key professional athletes. We’re expecting the product to be announced in October of this year and ship by the holiday season. As the  launch of the “iWatch” approaches, we have compiled an up-to-date list (into categories of leadership, fashion, fitness, and health) of all known and pertinent recent Apple hires to provide a clearer picture of what Apple’s future wearable technologies could offer to consumers…

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Bob Mansfield Stories February 7, 2014

Wearables

Apple has been developing a sensor-laden, fitness- and medical-focused wearable computer as indicated by several notable recent hires and information we have received from sources.

New Apple hires on both the senior executive and standard engineering levels have expertise in fashion, wearable product industrial design, retail, blood-reading sensors, medical device product management, hardware engineering, software vision, and fitness.

As the rumored launch of the “iWatch” approaches, we have compiled an up-to-date list (into categories of leadership, fashion, fitness, and health) of all known and pertinent recent Apple hires to provide a clearer picture of what Apple’s future wearable technologies could offer to consumers…

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Bob Mansfield Stories October 24, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-10-24 at 2.46.42 PM

As noted by Electrek, Doug Field, who most recently served as Hardware Vice President at Apple, has defected to Tesla Motors to lead the company’s vehicle engineering programs. Field will lead the development of Tesla’s future cars, according to a release from Tesla. Field worked under Dan Riccio (and previously Bob Mansfield) on computers like the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and iMac. Before Apple, Field was the Chief Technology Officer at Segway.

“Doug has demonstrated the leadership and technical talent to develop and deliver outstanding products, including what are widely considered the best computers in the world,” said Elon Musk, Tesla co-founder and CEO. “Tesla’s future depends on engineers who can create the most innovative, technologically advanced vehicles in the world. Doug’s experience in both consumer electronics and traditional automotive makes him an important addition to our leadership team.”

It is unclear if Apple plans to fill the void left by Field or if this will have a negative impact on the iPhone and Mac maker. In today’s announcement, Field says that “until Tesla came along, I had never seriously considered leaving Apple.” Field says that he left Apple to take up the opportunity to build “the best cars in the world.” A source says that Field left Apple last month.

The full press release from Tesla is available below:

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Bob Mansfield Stories August 17, 2013

Jay_Blahnik

Jay Blahnik, a globally recognized fitness expert and instrumental consultant in the development of several Nike fitness products, has confirmed his new role at Apple. In July, we reported on unconfirmed whispers out of the fitness industry that Blahnik had been hired at Apple, likely to work on the iWatch. We’ve also since confirmed with additional sources that he has joined Apple, and these people say that Blahnik will be working on the iWatch team

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Bob Mansfield Stories August 2, 2013

Executives

Apple executive Bob Mansfield’s unexplained departure from Apple’s leadership team is due to the long-time engineer’s desire to focus on chipset design plus future products and less on executive duties, according to sources with knowledge of the change.

As part of Mansfield’s leave from the executive team and role change to “special projects” under Apple CEO Tim Cook, Mansfield’s former duties as Senior Vice President of Technologies have been split between two Senior VPs: Hardware chief Dan Riccio and Operations head Jeff Williams, according to these sources.

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Bob Mansfield Stories July 18, 2013

Apple’s Tim Cook, Bob Mansfield, Kevin Lynch

Apple’s Tim Cook, Bob Mansfield, Kevin Lynch

Apple has begun assembling a team of hardware and software engineering, medical sensor, manufacturing, and fitness experts, indicating the company is moving forward with a project to build a fitness-oriented, sensor-laden wearable computer, according to our sources.

Over the past half-decade-or-so, Apple has experimented with and shelved numerous wearable computer designs. Internal prototypes have included designs that could clip onto different pieces of clothing (like an iPod shuffle/nano) in addition to devices that could wrap around a wrist.

Based on comments from Apple CEO Tim Cook and numerous reports, the wrist is the part of the body in which top Apple executives are currently targeting…

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Bob Mansfield Stories July 12, 2013

According to a report today from SemiAccurate, a semi-accurate site that has been hit and miss on Apple rumors in the past, Apple has just bought into a chip fab plant, backing up recent rumors that the company could be moving to build its own CPUs.

Apple has just done something that SemiAccurate has been expecting for months and entered the fab industry. No we are not joking, Apple just bought into a fab, and not in a trivial way either.

The full report remains behind a paywall, so it’s unclear if the site mentions a specific company that Apple has bought into. The tags for the report, however, do list “UMC”, a hint that the company in question could be Taiwan-based chipmaker United Microelectronics Corporation…

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Bob Mansfield Stories May 28, 2013

Former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to join Apple

Per Tim Cook’s announcement at this year’s AllThingsD conference, former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson will be joining Apple. Jackson, who left the EPA in February of this year, will oversee environmental issues at Apple.

When you get larger, you get more attention. It comes with a territory. I think we’re doing incredible work. Environment for example. [Apple] is the first to eliminate all toxins in products. We ship the most efficient products. We own the largest solar farm of any non-utility firm. Lisa Jackson is joining Apple. She ran the EPA for the last four years. She will run environmental duties.

Jackson, who has a chemical engineering background, will report directly to Tim Cook. Jackson stepped down from EPA Administrator in January when the Obama administration was moving toward supporting the Keystone pipeline which was highly controversial among environmentalists.

Tim Cook announcing that Apple has hired the former head of the EPA is especially notable in light of the company’s back and forth over EPEAT certification earlier last year which ultimately resulted in a letter signed by Bob Mansfield addressing the issue.

Bob Mansfield Stories November 28, 2012

Things aren’t looking good for chipmaker AMD…Following another round of layoffs totaling about 15 percent of its employees last month, Reuters reported today that AMD is looking for an investor to sell its Texas campus in order to raise up to $200 million in cash in a multi-year lease back deal. AMD’s cash dropped from $279 million to $1.48 billion in the third quarter, and today the company sits at a market cap of $1.40 billion.

Despite not being the “main option,” with the restructuring and the company’s financial issues, Reuters’ sources claimed an outright sale of the company isn’t out of the question. This isn’t the first time we’ve heard chatter of an AMD takeover. However, with the company sitting at a market cap of $1.40 billion and rumors of Bob Mansfield’s new Technologies group possibly transitioning away from Intel processors, we can’t help but imagine a few things Apple would stand to gain from the purchase…

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Bob Mansfield Stories November 5, 2012

Apple allegedly plans to one-day abandon Intel to implement a version of chips into Macs that currently power its mobile devices.

Bloomberg first reported the story, citing “people familiar with the company’s research,” and said Apple believes mobile device chips will eventually run its computer lineup. Apple previously mentioned semiconductor development during its management shift announcement on Oct. 29.

Bob Mansfield, senior vice president of Apple’s new “Technologies” group, is apparently leading the chip research, and Apple specifically said its semiconductor teams have “ambitious plans for the future.”

The Cupertino, Calif.-based company first began using Intel processors for Macs in 2005, but two of Bloomberg’s sources noted Apple would continue to rely on the tech for at least a few more years:

As handheld devices increasingly function like PCs, the engineers working on this project within Apple envision machines that use a common chip design. If Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook wants to offer the consumer of 2017 and beyond a seamless experience on laptops, phones, tablets and televisions, it will be easier to build if all the devices have a consistent underlying chip architecture, according to one of the people.

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Bob Mansfield Stories November 2, 2012

Earlier this week, we learned iOS chief Scott Forstall will leave Apple at the end of this year and has been moved to an advisory role to CEO Tim Cook until then. Giving us a look into the closed doors of Apple, Bloomberg noted this morning that Forstall and famed-Apple designer Jony Ive had a fiery relationship and couldn’t work together in the same room—nor be together during meetings. During the beginning design phases, Forstall was present in Ive’s iPhone meetings:

Even as Forstall oversaw the group responsible for the software that would run the iPhone, he didn’t participate in the meetings, according to people with knowledge of the matter who requested anonymity because the meetings were private. Ive and Forstall were rarely in the same room, the people said.

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Bob Mansfield Stories November 1, 2012

Since Apple announced late last month that longtime iOS chief Scott Forstall and newly appointed head of retail John Browett would soon leave the company, there has been much talk about CEO Tim Cook’s direction at the executive level going forward.

The departure of Forstall saw bigger responsibilities and new roles given to executives Craig Federighi, Bob Mansfield, and Jony Ive, leading to rumors Forstall didn’t see eye to eye with the other executives. Bob Mansfield’s return after announcing retirement is also interesting, as it is something new sources said was directly influenced by Forstall leaving. Some even said Forstall’s refusal to sign the Maps apology lead to Cook’s decision. There are a few in-depth reports today, with many citing people close to the company, speculating on what these changes might actually mean for the company and for iOS in the months and years to come.

AllThingsD is out with a new report, claiming Mansfield’s return might have been directly influenced by Forstall’s departure:

All Things D:

Sources said that Mansfield was actually very serious about retiring, which makes his quick return to Apple all the more curious… As one source close to the company told AllThingsD, “The timing of Bob’s return is notcoincidental.” To begin, Mansfield was not a fan of Forstall’s confrontational management style, and sources said he generally tried to avoid the iOS exec.

“It wasn’t a him-or-me situation,” one source said of Mansfield’s return and Forstall’s ouster. “But, put it this way, I think Bob was much more willing to commit to two more years once he knew Scott was on his way out.”

Many of the reports speculated Jony Ive’s new role picking up Forstall’s Human Interface responsibilities would lead to major changes in iOS’ visual design:

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Bob Mansfield Stories October 29, 2012

The announcement

We knew that Browett was fired last week, but Apple was waiting for a good time to announce the move. We’re not sure exactly what was the nail in Forstall’s coffin but Inside Apple/Fortune’s Adam Lashinky’s take is that Forstall’s refusalto sign the Maps apology is what sealed his fate. Forstall was at last week’s iPad mini event but uncharacteristically didn’t present anything.

iPad Mini launch last week

Interestingly, Cook also did the apologizing for Browett’s hair-brained schemes to cut head counts at Apple Stores ahead of the holiday shopping season to save a few bucks.

Lesson to learn: Be big enough to apologize publicly. Look at Bob Mansfield. Out of Retirement Mansfield publicly apologized for the Retina MacBook Pro EPEAT fiasco; fast forward months and all of a sudden he’s got his own division and a lucrative two year contract. Apple execs should be falling over themselves to apologize for their mistakes going forward.

The rationale

Browett’s situation was simple: everyone hated him, especially his retail employees. Apple watchers, especially those familiar with Dixons in the UK (Americans: think Best Buy), were shocked at the decision to allow him to follow Ron Johnson as Apple’s Retail head.  Cook initially defended Browett but the #Firebrowett movement was too strong. So far Tim Cook is 0 for 2 in big outside hires (Mark Papermaster was hired during one of Jobs’ absences) . That might be something to be concerned about.

Forstall’s departure is an entirely different situation. Although more information may come to light, in the hours after the announcement it seems a power struggle happened, and the Ive camp won out over Forstall’s.  The two execs and Steve Jobs subordinates have faced off for years and reportedly wouldn’t be in the same meetings unless called specifically by Tim Cook. It certainly didn’t help that Mansfield didn’t like Forstall either. I think we’ll hear more of the details in the weeks and months ahead.

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Bob Mansfield Stories October 3, 2012

Current and former employees discuss life at Apple after Jobs & his role in the new Maps app

Bloomberg Businessweek is out with a story today, titled “Mapping a Path Out of Steve Job’s Shadow”, that discusses life at Apple after Jobs, and it cites “more than two dozen current and former” Apple employees and partners:

There’s also more office politics and some concern that Jobs’s departure and the arrival of thousands of new employees will dilute the culture. Nevertheless, the company is happier and even somewhat more transparent than it was during Jobs’s tenure, these insiders say. There are fewer frantic calls at midnight, and there’s less implicit pressure on engineers to cut short or cancel vacations in the heat of product development cycles. No one would say Apple is better off without Steve Jobs. But to a surprising degree, it’s doing fine… Much about the company’s direction and even its products still reflects Jobs’s decisions and design preferences—the iPhone 5 was the last model to receive detailed input from Jobs, say two people familiar with the phone’s development.

On Jobs’ role in the new Maps app:

It’s possible that Jobs would have nixed the app before launch, but that’s not certain. Siri, the iPhone’s hapless voice assistant, was introduced under Jobs, though it was branded beta. Apple insiders say Jobs himself initiated the mapping project, putting mobile software chief Forstall in charge, and he installed a secret team on the third floor of Building 2 on Apple’s campus to replace Google Maps on the iPhone… Jobs also discussed pulling Google search from the iPhone, but figured that customers would reject that move, according to two former Apple executives.

On the retirement of Senior Vice President Bob Mansfield:

 According to three people familiar with the sequence of events, several senior engineers on Mansfield’s team vociferously complained to Cook about reporting to his replacement, Dan Riccio, who they felt was unprepared for the magnitude of the role. In response, Cook approached Mansfield and offered him an exorbitant package of cash and stock worth around $2 million a month to stay on at Apple as an adviser and help manage the hardware engineering team.

Go to Bloomberg for more.

Bob Mansfield Stories July 13, 2012

Retina MacBook Pro shows up in EPEAT Registry

Apple’s products are back on the EPEAT’s registry with a Gold standard, but the Retina MacBook pro notably was at question. The Cupertino, Calif.-based Company announced earlier this week that it planned to forgo the environmental rating system. The decision allegedly came after the EPEAT took up an issue with the new MacBook Pro’s Retina […]

Bob Mansfield Stories January 25, 2012

Following our in depth report last night on Apple turning its Anobit purchase into a permanent Israeli  presence, a new report in Hebrew by Israeli daily business newspaper Calcalist says Apple is looking to open a research center in Haifa by the end of February.  This follows its acquisition of NAND flash technology provider Anobit for a reported $390 million. The facility is said to be located at the Matam technology district south of the Haifa city, right in the neighborhood of Intel, Microsoft and Philips who also run R&D centers there.

The company reportedly received “several hundred resumes” for various engineering positions. Specifically, Apple is seeking hardware engineers in chip development with strong emphasis on electrical circuits, analogue and hardware testing and verification. The publication learned that Apple’s new research center in Israel is not related to the Anobit acquisition. In fact, Anobit employees are not expected to participate in the activities of the Haifa research center.

The Yedioth Ahronoth Group is also behind Yedioth Ahronoth, Israel’s most widely circulated newspaper publishes Calcalist. The paper reported in December of last year that Apple dispatched its Vice President of R&D Ed Frank to investigating possibilities of an Apple-run development center in Israel. Apple joins other Silicon Valley firms that operate R&D facilities in the country, such as chipmakers Intel, Qualcomm and Broadcom, Internet giants Google, Yahoo! and eBay, software makers IBM and Microsoft and China-based handset maker Huawei.

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Bob Mansfield Stories January 24, 2012

During the question-and-answer section of Apple’s blowout Q1 2012 earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook let out a widely known fact from within the company: Apple Senior Vice President of Hardware Engineering Bob Mansfield is now in charge of the team that comes from Anobit, an Israel-based SSD company that Apple acquired earlier this month. Cook also said Apple is integrating Anobit’s talent into Apple’s current workflow. Cook did, however, leave out some crucial details about Anobit’s integration into Apple.

We have some of the missing details, below:

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Bob Mansfield Stories October 24, 2011

Isaacson interviewed Jony Ive in his bunker, here’s what came out with him

The world’s most famous industrial design lab is found at the ground floor of Apple’s corporate campus at 1 Infinite Loop in Cupertino, California. It’s arguably one of the most closely guarded offices on the planet. Even Steve Jobs’ biographer Walter Isaacson was asked to interview Apple’s leading designer elsewhere most of the time. But […]

Bob Mansfield Stories October 12, 2011

Businessweek profiles Scott Forstall, here are the 10 most interesting bits

Businessweek’s lengthy profile on Apple’s youngest VP (of iOS software) Scott Forstall is full of little nuggets. Here are the best bits: Forstall’s older brother, Bruce, has been a senior software design engineer at Microsoft for 20 years; imagine the Thanksgiving dinner conversations. “He was as close to Steve as anybody at the company,” says […]

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