Gruber: Nothing to read between the lines, Bob Mansfield really is working on ‘special projects’ for Apple

“After asking around, word on the Cupertino street is that there’s nothing to read between the lines regarding Bob Mansfield no longer being on Apple’s executive team. Apple’s statement means exactly what it says — Mansfield is well-liked at all levels within the company and truly is working on special projects (read: new products),” John Gruber reports for Daring Fireball. “No euphemism there.”

“There’s nothing punitive with Mansfield’s role change, nor health problems or anything like that. Just a more focused role on certain new products,” Gruber reports. “His un-retirement as a senior vice president last year was always intended to be transitional, not permanent.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Apple’s Bob Mansfield to focus on ‘special projects’ – July 29, 2013
Apple removes SVP Bob Mansfield from executive team; will remain at Apple reporting to Tim Cook – July 28, 2013
Un-retired: Why Bob Mansfield is back at Apple in a big way – November 1, 2012
Tim Cook takes full control of Apple: John Browett and Scott Forstall out; Jony Ive, Bob Mansfield, Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi get expanded responsibilities – October 29, 2012
Apple CEO Tim Cook expands executive team, Senior VP Hardware Engineering Bob Mansfield will not retire – August 27, 2012
Brain drain? Apple’s Bob Mansfield is 2nd key exec to leave since Steve Jobs died – June 29, 2012
Bob Mansfield, Apple’s senior vice president of Hardware Engineering, to retire; Dan Riccio to take over – June 28, 2012


  1. Nice. I remember thinking after the Retina MacBook Pro, “Gee, Mansfield must be tired by now.” Looks like he gets to go back to the engineering side for a little before he retires.

    1. Exactly. Typical drive-by media hysteria. I suspect Mr. Mansfield is a true engineer – he was to tackle interesting projects, and not be bothered by meetings, memos and minutiae that goes with being a senior executive. That’s where he can best apply himself, in a way that we will eventually appreciate.

      Nothing to see here folks (not until we eventually see what the talented Mr. Mansfield has done – again). Move along. Thanks.

  2. I suspect Mansfield and his crew have hit a breakthrough of some kind and are hot on its trail. Mansfield will eventually retire (probably in a year or two) a rich man but one of the true “unsung heroes” of modern Apple.

    1. It’s always been about implementing the UI.

      The fuse is lit on Siri. Apple’s assembled an expert group in Boston. An on-board Siri would beat using Nuance’s servers. Makes sense in advancing Apple’s vertical integration and differentiating its voice control from that of other Nuance licensees. Even more compelling, Siri is the front end to ad-free search on iOS, and Bing is the new default. Google is slightly disconcerted. Enter Bob Mansfield to make it all work.

      1. Sounds like you know a few things on the inside. I hope so. Do you think they’ll integrate Siri into Apple TV? I was helping my folks get set up with AppleTV on the weekend, and reminded how godawful that mini remote is.

        Basically Apple’s options are
        a) Do Apple Kinect with the next Apple TV (a real TV)
        b) Stick to iPad/iPhone/iPod touch remote app for a remote
        c) Siri for AppleTV
        d) Other unannounced tech…

        Which one do you think is the most likely?

        1. In terms of proximity to the Apple war room, Jim Dalrymple might be a 6, John Gruber a 28, and me a 1729. I can only tell you that the flux is constant. The industry does not respect inscriptions in stone.

          Siri is a key user interface, just as we have become condiìtioned to expect from decades of science-fiction stories. But the technology must be allowed to evolve. Evolution takes time—generations of user trials may be required before Steve Jobs’ vision is fulfilled. Competitors face the same reality—it requires experience in the wild, crowd-sourcing, tuning by sociologists and statisticians and psychologists. You didn’t hear this from me, but neuroscientists will increasingly be offered lucrative compensation to translate their academic skills to Silicon Valley.

          Apple is interested in gesture-based interfaces like Kinect, but also in every other kind of user interface, and will not brashly exploit any of them before a mature experience has been realised. In practical terms this may mean years, or never. Your folks should stick with whatever remote makes sense to them.

  3. Fair enough, but having one guy who was previously in charge of Hardware Engineering, now in charge of specific projects… doesn’t that sound like a violation or contradiction of Apple’s Functional Org Stucture?

    In this case, they’ve actually gone back to the MSFT-style ‘Head of Product/Project’… Weird.

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