Profile of Thomas Templeton, an Apple hardware veteran building a bitcoin wallet for Square, and how he photographs retail countertops to inform product design (Benjamin Pimentel/Protocol)

As Apple’s hardware chief, Tom Templeton was responsible for everything from the iPhone to the iPad. But when it came to developing Square’s first bitcoin-enabled device, the Jackrabbit, Templeton knew that the company’s first big challenge would be to build the infrastructure for accepting bitcoin payments at its retail locations. To Templeton, this presented a rare opportunity to collaborate with retail experts on a product that would advance the company’s mission and teach a valuable lesson about the importance of retail expertise.

 What is the Profile of Thomas Templeton? 

Apple hardware veteran Thomas Templeton has found a new role at Square, building a bitcoin wallet built into Square’s mobile apps. This is his first project with Square, which is a significant move. Since its founding in 2010, Square has been a leading provider of point-of-sale systems to small businesses. However, the company is still growing—it acquired Cash App in early 2019, and its customer base has grown to over 40 million. So, why leave Square? According to Templeton, it came down to his experience. He started his career in product management at Apple, where he focused on hardware design for the iPhone, Mac, and Apple Watch. He spent nine years at Apple, and he even went back to get his college degree in Electrical Engineering. After leaving Apple, Templeton joined Square. He had a similar role in product management. This is the third job he’s had since leaving Apple in 2009.

 How does Thomas Templeton use photography to inform product design? 

Templeton uses the principles of light, color, perspective, and scale to help him see how objects in a room are arranged and what the purpose of each space is. Then he’ll use those same principles to help him create new product designs. He describes his process in his blog post: “The initial research I do is to understand the context and the purpose of the space.” He can capture his products’ emotional connection with consumers by creating a sense of place.

 Why Did Thomas Templeton Start Photographing Countertops? 

Templeton started photographing countertops because he wanted to sell them. As a young man, he traveled around Europe, taking pictures of churches and other buildings. He wanted to capture these historic structures before they were destroyed. But when he returned to America, he saw that Americans needed to preserve their built heritage. Templeton realized that the only way he could save what he loved and give something back to his country was through photography.

 How Does Thomas Templeton’s Photography Help Design? 

 Thomas is an industrial photographer. He makes photography work as a tool in the design process. His photographs are not only used to illustrate the details of the object or design being photographed but they are also used as a creative inspiration source.


Thomas Templeton was previously a senior hardware engineer at Apple, working on Mac computers for the iPod, iPhone, iPad, and MacBook lines. He started his current career as a Product Manager for Square and now runs a small software company called, which he co-founded with friend and fellow former Apple employee Dan Burdick.


1. How did he get into the retail space? 

He started working at Apple as a designer in the early 1990s. He was responsible for the first iPod. He was also the co-creator of the iMac. He left Apple in 2004 to start his own company. 

2. How did he become interested in bitcoin? 

He’s been interested in digital currencies for a long time. He’s been following Bitcoin since 

3. Why did he choose to photograph retail countertops? 

He wanted to capture the human side of retail design. We are a lot more than just a computer or a phone. We are a person. We are a body. We have hands. He wants to show that. 

4. What does he think about Square’s bitcoin wallet? 

He thinks Square’s bitcoin wallet is great.

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