back to article Apple hardware fixer Bob Mansfield retires from Cupertino

Bob Mansfield, Apple's senior vice president of hardware engineering, has announced his retirement from the company after 13 years in situ, and it seems he's also walking away from tens of millions in unclaimed share options. "Bob has been an instrumental part of our executive team, leading the hardware engineering …


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  1. disgruntled yank

    prior art?

    I believe that there are decimal-denominated versions of the definition of engineer that go back before Neville Shute.

  2. Admiral Grace Hopper

    A closer approximation would be ""someone who can do for a nickel what any damn fool can do for a dollar."

    1. Eddy Ito

      a nickel would be 1 bob not 5

      Therefore it would indeed be two bits for 5 bob.

      What I want to know is, how many bits can he do it for when any damn fool can do it for a nibble?

      1. M Gale

        Re: a nickel would be 1 bob not 5

        Nybble, shirley?

    2. Blitterbug

      What >is< a nickel, anyhow?

      ...and shouldn't it be spelled 'nickle' ? And while I'm at it, what's a 'bit' ? I always wondered...


      But seriously, we English may have had some odd slang for money in primeval times (and still do for large sums, eg monkey = £500), but >mandatory< coin nicknames? Makes me shudder. A currency with no actual denominations embossed on the coins - just nicknames. Wow.

      1. Blake St. Claire

        Re: What >is< a nickel, anyhow?

        > And while I'm at it, what's a 'bit' ?

        It's 1/8th of a Spanish Milled Dollar. Take a big chisel and a hammer and cut up a dollar into 8 bits to make small change. At least that's what you did 300 years ago.

        And we call our 25¢ piece a Quarter. Kinda like you lot used to call your 12d coin a Shilling.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What >is< a nickel, anyhow?

        > A currency with no actual denominations embossed on the coins - just nicknames.

        Our coins have denominations, spelled out in words: one cent, five cents, one dime, quarter dollar, half dollar, one dollar. (These are not nicknames.)

        The only one that's arcane is dime. The rest merely require that you be able to read, and do a bit of math. Certainly that's not asking much, but apparently it is for some of you. Maybe you should have paid attention in school.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          The only one that's arcane is dime.

          When we were in the US we frequently got lost between nickels and dimes... IIRC the lower denomination one is larger or something confusing?

        2. Blitterbug

          Re: Maybe you should have paid attention in school

          Well said. Except in England they don't teach us about colonial administrative processes... Ouch!

          But yes, you are right. Because US coins have no numerical denominations on them, and all US citizens refer to 'bits', 'dimes', 'nickels' and so on, and because the US dime actually says, rather stupidly, 'dime', I'd assumed all the other coins followed suit.

      3. William Gallafent

        Re: What >is< a nickel, anyhow?

        Sadly, the malaise spreads: the current designs for British small denomination coins no longer say 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 on them either … just One, Two, Five, Ten, Twenty, Fifty. Retrograde. And before people say what's the problem, I say 一, 二, 五, 十, 二十, 五十. It's fairly simple to work it out, but why not simply stick with the conventional symbols that have worked so well for so long?

        And when do we get un, dau, pump, deg, ugain, hanner cant?

  3. Jim Wilkinson

    Pendant alert

    "...Thus in the US this would be "someone who can do for 25 cents what any damn fool can do for a dollar...."

    As AGC said - "a nickle" which, for us Brits needing to be reminded, is 5 cents

    1. Steve Knox

      Re: Pendant alert

      Pendant? Really?

      Go to the back of the class.

    2. J 3

      Re: Pendant alert

      And as Eddy Ito reminded us, the saying contains the expression "FIVE bob", not one, and 5 x 5 is... anyone?

      1. Admiral Grace Hopper

        Re: Pendant alert

        J 3, you're quite right. My grandad always said "... for a bob what any damn fool ... etc.", my failed pedantry was caused by lack of attention.

        He also quoted Lanchester - "If you have to measure an improvement, you haven't got one", which has stated with me ever since.

  4. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge


    a real engineer

    by the way, a real engineer now is someone who can make for 5 cents what any fool could make for a dollar, because if we charged 6 cents the beancounters would outsource us to India/China.


    <<still thinking about programming the Skynet virus into his robots

  5. Johan Bastiaansen
    Thumb Up

    A real engineer?

    In most companies the effort of real engineers is pissed away by management. So I put it before you that the success of Apple is mostly that management knows its place and gets out the way when their employees are doing their jobs.

  6. Paul Smith

    Bloody hell...

    Is there nobody left on this forum who can still count?

    25c is not a nickel. And it is not two dimes. It is a quarter.

    And Jim, not to be too pedantic but while a "nickle" might be worn around the neck in the form of a pendant , a nickel is the term used for a north American 5c coin.

    1. Eddy Ito
      Thumb Up

      Re: Bloody hell...

      I was thinking the exact same thing but chalked it up to the ale, this being Friday and all, and folks either not getting that the quote is "5 bobs" or missing that one bob is 1/20 of a quid which would result in the same error when making an analog of dollars to quid. I didn't see any mention of dimes but two bits has been a quarter in these parts since early colonial days.

    2. edward wright

      Re: Bloody hell...

      I didn't know they used nickels in Canada and Mexico too...

      1. Blake St. Claire

        Re: Bloody hell...

        > I didn't know they used nickels in Canada and Mexico too...

        Canada has a 5¢ coin, same size and shape as a US 5¢ coin, and I believe many Canadians call theirs a nickel as well.

        They even call their 10¢ and 25¢ coins dimes and quarters too in my experience. Most of the Caribbean countries coinage is the same as US, and even though I haven't been there, I'd wager they do too.

        1. Poor Coco

          Re: Bloody hell...

          We do have nickels and dimes in Canada. But we get more creative with the large-denomination coins. When the $1 coin was introduced in the 1980s it immediately became known as the "loonie" because (a) it has a loon on it and (b) we all thought the gov't was nuts. Then in the '90s they added a $2 coin, which led to some naming controversy; ultimately "toonie" was adopted, although I personally supported "doubloon" which is much more clever in my opinion.

          1. Neil Anderson

            Re: Bloody hell...

            The dollar coin was named after our then prime minister -- Brian Muloonie.

  7. JaitcH

    Quality of life over money

    Bob Mansfield is a smart guy if he is throwing out the opportunity to get rich and opting for the opportunity to enjoy life and undoubtedly improve the quality of his life.

    I had the opportunity to live where I wanted, work my own hours and be remunerated on a per project basis and have never regretted my lifestyle choice.

    Money can't buy everything, as no doubt Bob Mansfield realises.

    1. Mark 65

      Re: Quality of life over money

      But, if he has been such a saviour on the hardware/engineering front, do we actually know that he's definitely lost as much as stated or perhaps he may have been given a concession for services thus far and perhaps a touch of consultancy in future?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nickels? Nickles?

    Whatever. Just make sure they aren't wooden, a difficult task given the Feds' QE program.

  9. Tezfair
    Thumb Up

    nickles, bits and bobs

    who cares?

    Bob seems a nice bloke though, I imagine he will be missed by those who worked for him

  10. Esskay

    I've got no idea what this retirement means for apple, but I can now consider myself an expert in the names of current and former currencies of Britain and the United States.

    1. disgruntled_moi

      Succession plan?

      Maybe whoever is lucky enough to take over this silent role can fix two design flaws? Shiny screens and fingerprint attracting touch screens. Neither of these are Apple specific issues but then Apple usually innovates rather than follows the crowd. I for one would find Apple a hard one to resist if their products alone had these features over the competition's shiny, smudgy offerings.

  11. FatGerman

    Proper Engineering...

    As a proper engineer, Bob is obviously a man who realises that he doesn't need 87 million dollars because he already has enough and can therefore retire. Good man, well done, an example to everybody.

  12. jaycee331

    VP Of Hardware Engineering?

    He should be so proud. Like that "really cool" engineering that gave us the grip of death antenna.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: VP Of Hardware Engineering?

      You really should read the article. He used to work for the laptop biz and was called in to fix the wonky antenna design which originated from the phone biz.

  13. Hertzy

    Nicknames for U.S. coins

    Excerpted from the American Heritage College Dictionary:

    nickel: 1. Symbol NI A silvery hard ductile ferro-magnetic metal element used in alloys and in corrosion-resistant surfaces and for electroplating. Atomic number 28 .... 2. A U.S. coin worth five cents, made of a nickel and copper alloy.

    dime: 1. A coin of the United States and Canada worth ten cents. .... [ME tenth part < OFr. disme < Lat. decima (pars) tenth (part) < decem ten. ...]

    But you all knew that, didn't you! Note that it's spelled 'nickel', _not_ 'nickle'.

    David H.

  14. izntmac

    Hopefully New MacBooks and Othe Apple Products will be Easier to Work On

    Bob Mansfield sounds like a good person but Apple products are becoming to difficult wo work on and are disposable. You can't change the battery on an iPad or IPod without buying special pentalobe screwdrivers and now this has come to the laptops. MacBooks especially the new retina display models have become the same way. You can;t even change the battery inside without destroying the machine. Waht ever happened to the easily fixable Pismos and Wall Streets PowerBooks. Unfortunately Apple laptops and others are now (No User Serviceable Parts Inside) and Apple will charge a lot to fix them. Hopefully this changes and at least the easy swapping of hard drives, RAM, and batteries comes back. Especially at the price Apple charges for stuff.

    1. TechnicianJack

      Re: Hopefully New MacBooks and Othe Apple Products will be Easier to Work On

      I hear PC's are easy to work on.

  15. Spoonsinger

    Why would you need millions of dollars in share options when...

    you can be Adrian Chiles's stand in body double anytime you like?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    restrictive clause in employment contract

    Not sure if it's legal in California to have a clause restricting working for a competitor, but I'm sure Dell might like to make him an offer...

  17. jukejoint

    Engineers are Awesome

    I too, like Bob, walked away - 'retired' - from my job a year prior to additional monetary inducements...however, unlike Bob, the amount was closer to $,$$$s than $,$$$,$$$s.

    One year later, I laugh at the $.$$$s more. Because I learned something: life under one's

    own flag is sweeeeeeeeeet!

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Life ain't nuthin but bitches an' muney

    Except to this guy.

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