Apple is taking legal action against Rivos, a startup that produces SoCs, a new Apple Watch heart algorithm is showing amazing promise and over the weekend, Tripp Mickle, a reporter for The New Tork Times, announced the publication of a book that recounts the factors that allegedly resulted in Jony Ive resigning from Apple. AppleTLDR has an inside view on the subject but before we get to that…
Apple sues Rivos for stealing trade secrets and poaching its staff
Apple filed a suit on Friday against a startup firm, Rivos. The company is accused by Apple of onboarding various senior engineers from Apple. But in the process of doing so, the company took on more than just 40+ of Apple’s employees. It’s taken Apple’s trade secrets along with it.
In its claim against Rivos, Apple alleges that its former employees stole several gigabytes of highly confidential, sensitive chip specifications. Two employees, Wen Shih-Chieh and Bhasi Kaithamana, are alleged to have downloaded design data in their final days at Apple.
Between July 26, 2021 and July 29, 2021, Mr. Wen transferred approximately 390 gigabytes from his Apple-issued computer to a personal external hard drive. Among the data transferred are confidential Apple documents describing Apple trade secrets. This includes aspects of the microarchitecture for Apple’s past, current, and unreleased SoCs.Reuters
For its part, Apple is said to have given notice to Rivos. It advised of the confidentiality agreements that its employees are obligated to uphold post-employment. But Rivos opted not to respond according to the details contained within the lawsuit. Apple seeks to prevent the former employees from leaking further sensitive information. And to be financially compensated for the loss of its trade secrets in addition to other remedial action. A Jury trial has been requested.
Apple Watch AI algorithm developed to detect Weak Heart Pump
The Mayo Clinic has been working to develop a sophisticated algorithm for Apple Watch. It is capable of informing more insights from single-lead ECGs, the kind taken by the Apple Watch. The research focuses its attention on detecting weakness in the heart’s ability to pump blood.
For those uninformed, a weak heart pump can be a serious medical condition caused by a left-ventricular malfunction. Unfortunately, the condition can often go undiagnosed until it becomes more serious as many patients are asymptomatic. For those that do experience symptoms, this can include heart palpitations, breathlessness and in more severe cases, strokes and even death.
Using the power of the AI algorithm, the Apple Watch is able to detect this health condition. This is something that would normally only be possible with more in-depth diagnostic tools. Examples include an MRI scan, a full 12 lead ECG (as opposed to the single lead of Apple Watch) or an echo scan.
Approximately 420 patients had a watch ECG recorded within 30 days of a clinically ordered echocardiogram, or ultrasound of the heart, a standard test to measure pump strength. We took advantage of those data to see whether we could identify a weak heart pump with AI analysis of the watch ECG. While our data are early, the test had an area under the curve of 0.88, meaning it is as good as or slightly better than a medical treadmill test. AI analysis of the watch ECG is a powerful test to identify a weak heart pump.Paul Friedman, chair of the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Mayo Clinic
It’ll be interesting to see if Apple works with the Mayo clinic to implement their algorithm. The benefits could be huge. Perhaps in watchOS 9?
The truth about Jony Ive
In a book titled ‘After Steve’, New York Times reported Tripp Mickle examines the circumstances that lead to Jony Ive choosing to leave Apple. An excerpt of the book was published to build anticipation of its release and chronicles the release of the Apple Watch and the months that followed.
It’s claimed that Ive wanted the device to be a fashion-forward accessory while other leadership in the company, hoped that the device would be more akin to traditional Apple gadgets with an emphasis on technology first.
To many present, Mr. Cook’s approval seemed like a win for Mr. Ive. But the designer would later recast it as a Pyrrhic victory. He would tell colleagues that the debate over the event and the larger struggle over the watch’s marketing were among the first moments that he felt unsupported at Apple.
In the months and years that followed, it is claimed that Ive became preoccupied with his frustrations surrounding operational leaders in the company. But continued to enjoy a good relationship with Tim Cook. Mr Cook for his part promoted Ive to Chief Design Officer. The intention was to enable Ive to focus more on design and less on the day to day management of a large number of direct reports. But it seems that this alone was not enough and Ive became withdrawn from the details of his team’s product design projects. Instead, Ive poured his energy into the creation of Apple Park. Once the project was complete, the SVP felt it was time to move on. Or so it’s claimed.
The AppleTLDR take
This book was apparently written with the benefit of significant research and interviews with 200 former and current employees. But people have very different personal experiences and levels of exposure to executives. Jony Ive is a private individual who keeps his close relationships very personal. It’s highly unlikely that those who would be truly familiar with his perspective and views of the situation would be this forthcoming. I’m sure the book will make for an interesting read and there will likely be some unique insights. But it shouldn’t be taken as factual or indeed gospel. Unless the interviewees are willing to go on record and have a history of close affiliation with Ive, then much of the content of the book is likely to be speculative and based on interpretation.
From my own experience of working at Apple, the senior vice presidents are very shielded and are not easily accessible outside of their immediate circle of influence. You receive strict instructions not to approach them if you happen to bump into them unless they approach you first. I encountered my fair share of SVPs at Apple but our conversations were passing and cursory at best.