iPod inventor Tony Fadell leaves Apple

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Tony Fadell, the man credited with envisioning the iPod nearly eight years ago and one of the driving forces behind the iPhone, is leaving Apple after a wildly successful run at the company – and he’ll be replaced by longtime IBM executive and chip expert Mark Papermaster.

But while Apple may be losing the “father” of the iPod, the decision to appoint Papermaster goes in line with recent efforts to design system-on-chips for iPhones and iPods. The former IBM executive, while lacking a background in consumer manufacturing, is a veteran chip and system designer and will perhaps be tasked with overseeing the transformation of the iPod lineup from relatively simple music players to more complex mobile devices with improved performance and battery life.

However, the appointment has been recently clouded by uncertainty, with IBM stating it would seek to enforce a non-compete agreement that prevents Papermaster from working for a rival for a year. Apple, of course, plans to go ahead with the move claiming the iPod and iPhone are not competitive with IBM’s business.

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