The Apple of Blair's Eye

By Ipsa Mittra '20 for Silver Quest (

What binds the Magnet Blair students together is a love for science and technology and the dream to make a lasting impact on the world using that love. Greg Novick (Class of ‘99), Apple programmer, was able to achieve that dream. While attending Stanford University, Novick met a recruiter for Apple at a college career fair. With his persistence, he got a summer internship at the famed company and made connections that led to a full-time engineering job after graduation.

Novick credits the Magnet for fostering his love for computer science and engineering and propelling him towards a career in software development. As a student at Blair, Novick gathered cutting-edge technical knowledge and practiced problem-solving, collaboration, and the ability to draw conclusions from evidence. He believes that “these are critical engineering (and frankly, life) skills which were helpful to have developed at such an early age.” In particular, he enjoyed R&E and Algorithms and Data Structures, classes that developed foundational concepts and abilities that are applicable to the many aspects of his current work. He also developed a love for the beauty of math and numbers in the Magnet Analysis classes.

For the current students at Blair, Novick’s words of advice are to work on their own projects to help them realize what they enjoy and determine their roles as the future programmers and scientists of the world. “The best thing you can do is to stay curious. Ask questions, strive to understand how things work and why, and don’t be satisfied with answers that don’t add up.

As a new engineer, Novick was a crucial member of the team that built the software for the iPhone from the ground up. “We didn’t have paradigms for a lot of things we take for granted today: how to display a notification, show a bar of icons, handle touches on a screen, launch an application -- so we had to build those, ” he recalls. Each team member was reliant on everyone else and had to develop a broad range of skills; “We all wore a lot of hats,” he added. Novick focused on the Mail, Music, Calendar, and Phone apps that we prize so much. Novick did a brief stint at Facebook, where he managed an engineering team that was rewriting Facebook for iOS.

He has returned to Apple and currently manages a team of software engineers who build software for the Apple Watch. Although Novick was not able to provide specifics on his work for confidential reasons, the team’s general purpose is to create the drive architecture and implementation of the watchOS system’s software, applications, and frameworks. He is also listed as an inventor for multiple patents that include ‘Audio data routing between multiple wirelessly connected devices’, ‘Electronic touch communication’, and ‘Quiet hours for notifications’. These are all integral parts of the Apple technology that many Blair students enjoy.