Tech Innovation

Apps, ovens and home delivery: What 12 ex-Apple engineers did next


Apple is one of the most innovative companies on the planet. Its designers and engineers have given us the iPhone and iPad, the iPod and iTunes, pinch-to-zoom, the App Store and the Apple Watch. Apple pioneered the graphical user interface (GUI) and it continues to blaze a trail with stylish design solutions that prioritise clean, intuitive usability.

Ex-Apple staffers are behind big names like Nest, Flipboard and Path

So what happens when some of Apple’s most creative people leave? They draw on their experience by launching their own projects. Ex-Apple engineers Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers founded classy Thermostat maker Nest. Dave Morin set up private messaging network Path. While one-time senior iPhone software engineer Evan Doll launched Flipboard.

More recently, former CEO John Sculley is the brains behind the Obi Worldphone (pictured above) — a low-cost, beautifully realised smartphone designed by ex-Apple designer, Robert Brunner. Decently specced, the Worldphone aims to differentiate itself in a crowded market by focusing on budget pricing, “elegant design and no-compromise technologies.”

Campaign armchair
Brad Sewell’s Campaign company builds self-assembly armchairs and sofas that take the pain out of delivery.

Good design is at the core of many projects/start ups helmed by ex-Apple staffers.

Campaign’s IKEA-style furniture designs take delivery into account

Brad Sewell, once a design and manufacturing engineer at Cupertino, now heads up a company called Campaign that builds self-assembly armchair and sofas. While most manufacturers rarely consider the logistics of furniture delivery Campaign bakes it into its designs, making ordering and receiving a new sofa as easy as possible.

Apple’s former retail chief Ron Johnson has also been inspired by the idea of transforming the delivery experience. For shoppers in the San Francisco Bay and New York City areas, Enjoy can sell you an iPhone 6s, hand deliver and set it up for you within four hours. Don’t want an iPhone? Enjoy will also personally deliver Sonos systems, drones and smartwatches.

Apple is well-known for its obsession with improving user experience, especially in its OS X and iOS software. Several other ex-Apple employees have continued in that vein.

Astropad turns your iPad into a portable graphics tablet

Former Apple engineer Rahul Dewan developed Duet Display, which can turn an iPad into a lag-free second display for a Windows PC or Mac. While Mat Ronge and Giovanni Donelli have developed Astropad, an app that allows you to draw into Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator using an iPad as a graphics tablet.

All of which brings us to the June Intelligent Oven, a countertop cooker that has the computing power of a laptop, a built-in digital scale, HD camera (for food recognition) and a companion app for your smartphone that lets you monitor and remote control it over Wi-Fi.

June Intelligent Oven
The June Intelligent Oven has Wi-Fi, a built-in digital scale and an HD camera to show you what’s cooking.

The oven has been built by June co-founder Nikhil Bhogal, who worked on key Apple camera technology including tap-to-focus, panorama processing and zero shutter lag.

These 12 ex-Apple staffers have all drawn upon their experience to create new products that focus on strong design, easy usability and attention to the tiniest of details. It’s a work ethic that Steve Jobs would have been proud of. — Dean Evans (@evansdp)

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