After months of debate surrounding the iPhone 4's antenna issues, the New York Times is reporting that Mark Papermaster, the Apple executive responsible for overseeing the iPhone's hardware, has left the company.
It's unclear whether Papermaster, who came from IBM and was central to a non-compete case between Apple and his former employer, was forced out or left on his own. After his 26-year tenure at IBM, Papermaster had replaced iPod father Tony Fadell and will be succeeded by Bob Mansfield, senior vice present of Macintosh hardware engineering. Wikipedia notes that Bob Mansfield had initial doubts about his ability to fit in at Apple but recognised that he was "immensely smart about microprocessor design, large systems and semiconductors".
The New York Times points out that Papermaster was not on stage at Apple's recent press conference addressing the iPhone 4's antenna issues, though Mansfield and COO Tim Cook both were present. Again, it is unclear whether or not he was forced to leave or resigned, but it doesn't seem unreasonable to believe that amidst all the iPhone antenna controversy that someone took the blame. [New York Times]