Iphone 4Apple has come under a lot of scrutiny since the release of its iPhone 4. With the problems linked to the antenna of the expensive and coveted smartphone, its easy to believe that it is somehow related to the sudden departure of the head of the hardware engineering department.

Mark Papermaster has announced that he will be leaving the company, but Apple refused to comment on his departure. There is speculation that it was related to the iPhone 4 troubles, but the company would not even say whether he resigned or was fired from the position.

After the product sold out upon its release in June, many customers complained of dropped calls. It became apparent that the signal faded when the phone was held in a certain way.

It was finally revealed that the metal casing that held the antenna was causing the problem. It caused the signal strength to leak. This led to a devastating blow when Consumer Reports declared it would not recommend the product.

After enough complaints, Apple began offering free cases to its customers. The cases are designed to prevent the problem. Papermaster was absent from that press conference.

Bob Mansfield who oversees engineering for the Macintosh products will assume Papermaster’s duties, according to Apple.

Papermaster worked at IBM for 25 years and joined Apple in 2008. When IBM Filed a lawsuit for breach of contract, he stayed with them and did not begin with apple until mid 2009.