Phil Torrone noticed today on the Segway Chat forums that “Doug Field, the chief technology officer at Segway who heads their
entire engineering team (and has since Day 1), is leaving Segway to
become a VP of product design at Apple.” The announcement continues:
Doug has been the driving
force in making the Segway what it is today and will be sorely missed
at the company. However, with every change comes good and bad. So
while it’s bad the rich history and experience of Doug is leaving,
it’s good in that perhaps the team will get a fresh perspective into
possible engineering solutions for future versions of the Segway (or
Segway-like applications). And hey, what can be better than a gig at
Apple? These days, in the design and engineering world, not much!! We
wish Doug all the luck in moving on!!
I have no idea what Doug will be working on at Apple, but both the Segway and Apple’s recent ascendancy remind us how the computer industry is no longer just a software game. For so long, the standardization of computing hardware gave most of the business advantage to software. Now, the end game of that trend has re-emphasized the differentiating power of hardware design. Meanwhile, Moore’s law, coupled with the rise of software above the level of a single device means that smaller and smaller devices can flex computing muscle. As a result, computing functionality is migrating from computers per se into the world of stuff.
We’ve been chronicling the alpha geek and enthusiast edge of this trend in Make: magazine, but it’s a mainstream trend as well. Designing computer infused stuff is the wave of the future, and people who are good at it are going to be in high demand.