Apple Exec Papermaster Leaves Following iPhone 4 Issues

Apple’s senior vice president of Devices Hardware Engineering, Mark Papermaster, was confirmed to no longer be with the company as of Saturday. Mr. Papermaster joined Apple a little over a year and a half ago and was involved in the design of the iPhone 4.

Company spokesperson, Steve Dowling, told The New York Times that Mr. Papermaster wasn’t with Apple any more, although he didn’t say whether or not he was fired. 

“[Mr. Papermaster] is leaving the company and Bob Mansfield, senior vice president of Macintosh hardware engineering, is assuming his responsibilities,” Mr. Dowling said.

Despite his involvement in the Macintosh side of Apple’s business, Mr. Mansfield is familiar with the iPhone project, too, because he also manages the iPhone 4’s Retina Display, and is in charge of the team that designs the A4 processor used in the iPhone and iPad.

Despite Apple’s limited statement about Mr. Papermaster’s departure, public speculation is already suggesting the move was directly related to iPhone 4 antenna-related issues. Some customers complained about signal bar loss issues after the iPhone 4 shipped, leading to a media frenzy.

The new iPhone’s external antenna design is susceptible to potential signal loss when user’s hands cover the lower left corner of the device. Not all iPhone 4 owners, however, have been able to replicate the issue.

The complaints and media buzz ultimately led to an Apple press conference where CEO Steve Jobs pointed out that most all smart phones suffer from the same issue. The company also promised free cases to iPhone 4 owners to help address the signal loss issue.

Presumably, Mr. Mansfield will assume his new duties immediately.