Fruits of the Apple tree: 20 tech marvels that came from former Apple bods

Fruits of the Apple tree: 20 tech marvels that came from former Apple bods
Tech burrowed out of Apple's core

Apple attracts the best and the brightest, but the problem with the best and brightest is that they won't necessarily stay with you forever.

Some hires may think a little too differently to be comfortable in Cupertino, others may decide to risk everything on a moonshot rather than settle for corporate conformity.

Some left because Steve Jobs started acting all weird to them, and some because Sam Sung is a terrible name for someone who works in an Apple Store. (Sam Sung worked for Apple in Vancouver, much to the internet's amusement. He now works for a headhunting company.)

Here's a selection of devices, services and startups whose stories began when their Apple adventures ended.

1. All Android devices

Andy Rubin

Andy Rubin

Most people know that Android creator Andy Rubin co-founded Danger, the smartphone firm that Microsoft bought in 2008. But not everybody knows that a decade before he founded Danger he was a manufacturing engineer with Apple. In 2011, Apple's lawyers claimed that Rubin's "inspiration for the Android framework" came from his time in Cupertino.

2. Blossom One Limited

Apple doesn't do cheap, and neither does the Blossom coffee company: its coffee machine, designed for commercial rather than home use, is a hefty $11,111. President Jeremy Kuempel previously worked for Apple, Tesla and BMW, and the firm boasts not just former Apple employees but NASA ones too. Maybe making a decent coffee is rocket science after all.

3. Eightly


Andy Grignon claims Steve Jobs yelled at him all the time

Eightly, "a completely new way to enjoy your social lifestyle", is currently in stealth mode - but founder Andy Grignon isn't, telling the Financial Times that he "got yelled at all the time" by Steve Jobs. Grignon worked on the iPod, developed iChat AV and OS X's Dashboard and was part of the original iPhone team.

4. Flipboard

Evan Doll was a senior iPhone engineer at Apple, and he co-founded the social news app Flipboard in 2010. Flipboard allows you to discover and curate your news that interests you from around the web and share it with your friends.

5. Inkling

Matt MacInnis, a former Apple education executive, founded Inkling in 2009 to produce interactive electronic books. Inkling's platform, Habitat, is used by some of the world's biggest book publishers.

6. LinkedIn

Before creating the business network LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman worked as a user experience architect at Apple. A serial entrepreneur, Hoffman founded ahead-of-its-time social network Socialnet and was a founding director of PayPal too.

7. Luxo Jr

Pixar's loveable lamp wouldn't be a familiar sight in cinemas if it weren't for former Apple CEO Steve Jobs: during his time as an ex-Apple employee he turned Pixar from a hardware maker to an animation studio.

8. Lyve


Lyve is a touchscreen device that stores millions of photos and videos

Right now, Tim Bucher is preparing to launch a touchscreen device that stores millions of photos and videos - but back in 2005 he was suing Apple for wrongful termination. He joined Apple in 2003, became head of Macintosh Hardware Engineering and oversaw the development of the Mac Mini. His departure was weird, to say the least. Bucher says that Steve Jobs and Tim Cook wanted him to leave, but didn't tell him why.

9. Meeteor

Ex-Apple stories don't always have happy endings: Meeteor, a professional social network created by former Apple project manager Chris Lee, was dubbed "insanely great" by Business Insider in 2012. It shut down in early 2013.

10. Mass Effect, Titanfall and FIFA 14


Trip Hawkins left Apple and invested what is now EA, the makers of many games including Titanfall

In 1982 Trip Hawkins was Apple's director of product marketing and sitting on a tidy pile of cash thanks to Apple's IPO. He quit Apple and invested a reported $200,000 in setting up a new company, Amazin' Software. Amazin' became the rather better known Electronic Arts in late 1982.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now and her next book, about pop music, is out in 2025. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band Unquiet Mind.