Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 24 hours—or if you’ve been in my shoes, dealing with a Hurricane—Apple’s Senior VP of iOS Scott Forstall is out at Apple, effective immediately. Forstall will remain on as an “adviser” to Tim Cook until 2013, presumably to pass the torch and make sure things go smoothly as Forstall’s responsibilities now fall on other executives, then he’s officially gone.
Those “other” executives are Jony Ive, Bob Mansfield, Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi. Ive, the man who’s been responsible for designing Apple’s flagship products for over 15 years will now head something called “Human Interfaces.” Essentially, Ive will now be able to design the look of the UI on iOS to match his beautifully designed hardware. To many, this is a dream come true and may be something we may see in iOS 7, due to be released mid-to-late 2013. Bob Mansfield will stay on at Apple for two more years in the role of SVP of “Technologies.” This division will oversee all wireless technologies within devices. Federighi will now oversee the development of both OSX and iOS, which should see the two OSs coming together in a more cohesive manner. And lastly, Eddy Cue who already oversees iTunes, the App Store, iCloud, iBooks will now take on the responsibilities of Siri and Maps.
So why the change? Well, that depends on who you ask and what you read. It’s no secret at this point that Forstall was a bit “prickly” with other executives, so much so, that Jonathan Ive refused to have meetings where he’d be in the same room with Forstall. There’s even reports of Forstall having arguments with the CEO, Cook, out in the open. Needless to say, Forstall, who many thought was a CEO-in-training, had a bit of a temper and even threw a lot of people under the bus, by placing blame elsewhere, rather than accept it himself. This became extremely clear with the new iOS Maps debacle. Supposedly, Tim Cook asked Forstall to sign the apology letter to Apple customers, who either downloaded iOS 6 or purchased the new iPhone 5 and were left with a rather disappointing Maps solution, something Forstall personally managed. When Forstall refused to sign the letter, Cook signed it himself. This act of arrogance may have been the final straw for Forstall, who many believe didn’t decide to leave Apple, but was forced out.
We’ve heard that many of Forstall’s own team and collaborators have cheered this decision by Cook and the other executives, some have even gone out for drinks to celebrate his removal. But where does this leave iOS, Forstall’s main objective?
With Federighi now taking over iOS, hopefully we’ll see a fresh approach to services, new functionality, something iOS has been needing prior to iOS 5. While Android continues to break new ground with features like Photo Sphere, Face Unlock and slick notifications, iOS—under Forstall’s control—has played it safe, perhaps because he didn’t want to take a risk, but that should all change. As for the way iOS looks, this is probably the most exciting thing to look forward to, as it has been rumored Jonathan Ive has such distaste for the way Forstall designed iOS, especially with certain skeuomorphic designs features; like the fake leather look to the calendar app, or the felt table in game center to the leather stitches in the notes app. Ive, who is a designer who loves minimalism, should hopefully bring a new and refreshing look to iOS, be it with new icons, or simply an overhaul to the entire layout of the OS, either way it should be an improvement and something that Apple has needed for a few years.
As for the future of Apple, they have a lot of talent within the walls of Apple, with Forstall now out of the picture we may actually get to see some of the genius he held back due to his personal feelings and goals. Cook has done a good job here, placing Forstall’s responsibilities into the hands of other trusted, well respected and well-liked executives and their respective teams. Overall, this should be seen as a positive move for Apple.
In other news, John Browett, the former Dixon’s (UK store) CEO that was brought over to fill the shoes of Ron Johnson, former SVP of Retail, has been let go as well, after only 11 months on the job. Browett hasn’t been well received since he arrived. Especially when he tried to cut the retail work staff to improve profit margins, a move that CEO Tim Cook quickly overturned, as Apple’s customer service is a top priority and something former CEO Steve Jobs believed very strongly set Apple apart from its competitors.