Become a MacRumors Supporter for $50/year with no ads, ability to filter front page stories, and private forums.


macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

Former iOS chief Scott Forstall gave a rare interview last night at an event at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, where he discussed the birth of the iPhone and his relationship with Steve Jobs.

Speaking to journalist John Markoff after an opening hour with original iPhone engineers Nitin Ganatra, Hugo Fiennes, and Scott Herz, Forstall's appearance was the first time he had spoken publicly since he was ousted from Apple in October 2012, following the botched launch of Apple Maps.

Scott Forstall (right) speaking to John Markoff

Forstall proved a charismatic storyteller on the night as he discussed his school education and his early career at Steve Jobs' NeXT, before moving on to his work on the first iPhone at Apple. The former iOS chief spoke with genuine warmth about his time with the company, but stopped short of offering any huge revelations, although the audience was treated to a few more details as well as some humorous episodes along the way.

For example, Forstall claimed that before the iPhone was conceived, Jobs had initially wanted a tablet with capacitative touch and multitouch in order to get one over on someone he "hated" who worked at Microsoft.
"It began because Steve hated this guy at Microsoft. That is the actual origin," Forstall said, before adding that it wasn't Bill Gates. After hearing the person boast about Microsoft's tablet and stylus development, said Forstall, "Steve came in on a Monday, there was a set of expletives and then he said, 'Let's show them how it's really done'."
Regarding the iPhone, Forstall said the idea for the device was initially born when he and Jobs were eating lunch and they noticed everyone was using their phones. "We hated them," he said. "No one seemed like it was a pleasurable thing to use a phone, but it's a nice thing for communication." The episode prompted Jobs to ask the tablet design team to redouble their efforts to perfect multitouch but to miniaturize it for a device that you could put in your pocket.

Forstall also touched upon the concept of skeuomorphic design, claiming he had "never heard of skeuomorphism" when he was working on iOS and that it sounded "unnatural".
"When I look at design - when I look at good design - it's approachable, friendly, you can use it without a manual. It's fun. We talked a lot about photo-illustrative design. It was infused into the design sense of Apple by Steve Jobs since the original Mac. We used these design philosophies. It doesn't mean we loved it, or loved every single part of it. We know it worked. How do we know it worked? You just have to watch people use it."
Elsewhere, Forstall chose to highlight the many emails he received from customers explaining how the iPhone and iPad had changed and even saved lives. One email was from a 100-year-old woman who had been an avid reader and writer all her life, before age had made these pastimes impossible. The iPad bought for her by her family had allowed her to take up reading and writing again, long after she had all but given up hope.

Forstall also spoke touchingly about his friendship with Jobs, including the time when Forstall contracted a rare and potentially lethal vomiting virus which left him in hospital for months, before the late Apple CEO arranged for an acupuncturist to treat him. After two sessions, Forstall was discharged from hospital and went on to make a complete recovery.

Forstall shared a particularly funny anecdote about how Jobs insisted on paying for both their lunches at the Apple cafeteria, despite the fact that the $8 meals were charged against staff paychecks with each scan of their badges, and as CEO, Jobs only got paid a dollar a year.

Lastly, Forstall said he is not currently developing technology himself, and will continue his work in an advisory capacity. You can watch all of the interviews on Facebook.

Article Link: Former iOS Chief Scott Forstall Discusses Creating the First iPhone


macrumors 68040
Jan 11, 2008
"After hearing the person boast about Microsoft's tablet and stylus development, said Forstall, "Steve came in on a Monday, there was a set of expletives and then he said, 'Let's show them how it's really done'."

...and they did.

Microsoft had the run of the park from 2002 to 2010 with their Microsoft Tablet PC specification, and yet their current Surface tablets owe almost everything to the iPad.


macrumors 68030
Feb 11, 2007
Surprised hes doing nothing other than advising. he certainly must get lots of offers to do things. He seems more humble than the descriptions implied around the time he was fired. Maybe like steve Jobs after he was fired, he needed a "kick" to grow into an executive. Or he could just be good at press stuff now ;)


Sep 11, 2014
I have never heard of a rare and potentially lethal vomiting virus in the USA before. :eek:

I'm at a loss to figure out how acupuncture could help, but I guess don't knock it til you've tried it.

Well it sounds like he had some good tales to tell. I'm recovering from a thankfully non-vomiting virus myself so I will track down the video when I am feeling up to viewing it.

I wish he could come back to Apple just to see where he could take things now. But I suppose he would not fit in with Tim's Apple.


macrumors 68000
Oct 2, 2011
El Segundo
Remember the theme song to that old 1970s sitcom Welcome Back Carter, "Welcome baaaaack..."

(Too soon?)
But I suppose he would not fit in with Tim's Apple.
From the anecdotal stories I read online, Tim and Scott were not quite simpatico.
Still using iOS 6.
You have me beat! (iPad 2 running iOS 7.)
  • Like
Reactions: brendu and 5105973

Mr. Dee

macrumors 603
Dec 4, 2003
I watched this interview last night on Facebook. I was about to go to bed at 11:34 PM then someone tweeted the link to the live stream recorded and I had to watch it. The first part featured two software engineers and a hardware specialist who worked on things like radio. For the most part, it was good, but the second hour with Scott was the best. Scott is such a funny and witty guy. I don't know why he didn't just apologize over the Maps fiasco and moved on. He really should have still been at Apple.

He and Steve had a really close friendship at Apple and I think the death of Steve affected him deeply. Take into account, both had lunch every Tuesday, Steve even bought his lunch (which cost $8). He even saw him up to his last days. So, I think he kinda lost interest because part of his motivation for working there wasn't around anymore. He even said Steve saved his life when he battled a rare flu virus. One of the funny memories he mentioned about Steve was over the pricing of a product. Scott wanted a reasonable pricing, while Steve was going to high. Scott insisted because he has family and friends who can't afford this; you are a billionaire, he said. Steve responded "a multi-billionaire". Steve ultimately won.

Its worth watching all over it, but I would suggest watching Scotts part first then the first part after.


Sep 7, 2011
Remember the theme song to that old 1970s sitcom Welcome Back Carter, "Welcome baaaaack..."

(Too soon?)
From the anecdotal stories I read online, Tim and Scott were not quite simpatico.
You have me beat! (iPad 2 running iOS 7.)

still got my iPod touch running iOS3

mostly useless now. But I leave it in the car for my offline music while driving (if need be). Also while in the driveway, downloads emails via wifi, and my car can read iOS based emails for some reason
  • Like
Reactions: Col4bin


macrumors regular
Apr 26, 2011
I didn't like the look of iOS when Forstall was working for Apple, but I also hate that whitespace, big font designs they are working on now. Could someone also explain why i'm still looking at a grid with app icons? If the iPhone 8 is going to be 5,8-inch, i'm pretty sure they will add another row.


macrumors 65816
Jul 18, 2010
The key to Apple's success?

Ive's hardware design vs. Forstall's software design, with Steve Jobs's keen perceptiveness and sensibiity mediating and adjudicating!

Still not in the gloom-and-doom "Jobs-gone, no-innovation at Apple" camp, but we've lost that marvelous, imaginative, wildly creative, and functional interplay.


macrumors 68040
Aug 31, 2003
Wherever my feet take me…
I don't miss this guy. Compare iOS 10/11 to iOS 6. I can't switch back.
That makes no sense...How are you comparing software released in 2012 to software in 2017? Obviously the 2017 versions are more feature-rich and refined. You're acting if Scott was still at Apple that iOS wouldn't have evolved at all.

I can't speak for Dreamer2go, but wasn't Scott a big supporter of skeuomorphism? While some people like it, others hate it.
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.