I think Scott Forstall needs defending a bit

Discussion in 'iOS 6' started by jabingla2810, Nov 1, 2012.

  1. jabingla2810 macrumors 68020

    Oct 15, 2008
    Before I begin I would like to state I hate the Mac calendar and address book, iOS podcast and Gamecenter apps as much as the next person.

    But there seems to be this trend of thought, that Scott Forstall was terrible at his job and Apple can only get better without him.

    People seem to be latching onto this hatred of skeuomorphism, this new buzz word that seems so easy to hate.

    Scott is a Software genius.

    From the amazing stuff he did with Mac OS in the early 00's, pioneering the Aqua User interface, Time Machine and making it 64bit, to turning it into iOS in 2007.

    People may forget the achievement that iOS was in 2007, I can't even imagine the arguments he won and decision making he would have been involved in while creating iPhone OS 1.0, such an amazing achievement.

    Then to continually improve it with things like, 'cut, copy, paste', multitasking, the App Store, folders etc.

    All BIG things, but done in such a way that isn't confusing to the end user. Sure he may not have been the sole inventor of these things, but he was the boss and gave the thumbs up or down.

    I understand a lot of people on this forum, geeks like myself, have become frustrated at the speed, or lack thereof, of change in iOS over the past couple of years, but he has had an almost impossible task of balancing new features while not breaking or confusing any of the fundamentals.

    So maybe new leadership is exactly what Apple needs with iOS, and I’m sure change is coming, but I don't think we should underestimate how important the restraint Scott had was.

    By all accounts he was hard to work with, demanding and egotistical. There was another guy at Apple who sadly died last year who had a lot of the same characteristics.

    I don't doubt for a second Scott will continue working in the tech field, because I’m sure he has some fantastic ideas to do with mobile software.

    And skeuomorphismhas has become such a bad word, but it shouldn't be. When it's well implemented it can be a brilliant addition to the feel and usability of software, it can even make mundane apps feel fun but lately Apple have over used it.

    In the summer at WWDC Scott showed off the new features of iOS 6, all of which got a luke warm response. The crowd did cheer for one feature in particular though, the paper shredder in Passbook.
  2. Gav2k macrumors G3


    Jul 24, 2009
    How long did we wait for mms and copy and paste? Yeah exactly the bloke was a fool to him self!
  3. jabingla2810 thread starter macrumors 68020

    Oct 15, 2008
    This is exactly what i'm talking about.

    He wasn't perfect, but I think maybe people should consider how much he achived during his career at Apple, and not just his failures.

    From what I'm reading on here and elsewhere on the net, you would think he was a talentless loser and Apple should have kicked him out years ago.

    I think Apple and iOS may get better now he has gone, and I think a refresh is in order, but for a lot of years he did a really good job.

    Well I think so anyway.
  4. roadbloc macrumors G3


    Aug 24, 2009
    The guy seemed obsessed over how something looked rather than how well it worked. I'm glad his gone. And since iOS 6 Maps I think Apple have done good to kick him out for it. Hopefully iOS 7 will actually allow us to delete/hide unused stock apps and have some features comparable to Android JB.
  5. jabingla2810 thread starter macrumors 68020

    Oct 15, 2008
    You could say the same about Johnny Ive.

    The hardware he makes is beautiful, but that doesn't stop him making the iPad hard to hold with a smooth slippery back, or putting glass on the back of an iPhone thats easy to break.

    The look and design of hardware and software has been integral to Apples success over the past few years.

    I think the behind the scenes stuff Scott and his team did with iOS would be just as impressive, but we don't get to see much of it because Apple doesn't like to show their workings much.

    I agree though, hopefully we will get a way to hide stock apps, and I would really like a way to change my default browser and mail apps.
  6. The Phazer macrumors 68030

    Oct 31, 2007
    London, UK
    I do.

    He got lucky with iOS 1, and has done nothing good since.
  7. jabingla2810 thread starter macrumors 68020

    Oct 15, 2008
    Maybe, but I thought iOS 3 and iOS 4 were pretty good updates.
  8. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    One thing to be mindful of - he was once considered a replacement for Jobs before Cook took the reins. Do you thing Tim Cook would want a potential adversary lurking in the wings?

    Forstall screwed up and screwed up big with Maps. Its not like the problem with Maps popped up out of nowhere. Developers were communicating quite a bit with apple about how bad it was. While some considered Forstall a Jobs mini-me he clearly had some un-Jobs like behavior by releasing products before they were ready.

    If he's going to be praised for how great iOS is, then he should be equally critizied on how stagnant iOS has become as well. Other platforms are showing more innovation and swinging for the fences in adding features. Apple has an appearance of playing it safe.
  9. Eithanius macrumors 65816

    Nov 19, 2005
    Firstly, it's politics... Scott should dig his own grave next to Steve...

    Secondly, I hate it when iOS and OS X lags in animation... forget animation, everything that is GRAPHICAL seems to come to a crawl when it comes to skeuomorphism... My BOINC GPU app crashed on both Lion and Mountain Lion as soon as I started browsing on Safari and Chrome... all thanks to Scott, GPU memory goes haywire...

    Thirdly, what the heck happened to the MINUS RATING button on MR... OP deserves a kick in the ass... :rolleyes:

    For what is worth, thank God - Scott is now For-Stalled... :D:D
  10. jabingla2810 thread starter macrumors 68020

    Oct 15, 2008
    I completely agree.

    Maps was probably the final straw when it came to his recent failures.

    I wasn't trying to paint Scott Forstall as an angel like character in my OP. I was just pointing out he isn't the useless pleb people jumping on the bandwagon are saying he is.

    I stated that I think the change of management might be a good thing, and what the platform needs.

    Maybe I just like to see the good in people rather than just talk about the bad.


    1. Scott wasn't involved with Mac OS after 2007. You can blame Craig Federighi for carrying over the skumorphism from iOS to Mac OS.

    2. I thought my post was pretty balanced and talked about both the good and bad points of Scott. (Although it might be too rational for these forums!)

    3. Good pun, I can't critisice that! :)
  11. Eithanius macrumors 65816

    Nov 19, 2005
    But he was dead obsessed about skeuomorphism that influenced OS X. I've always wanted both Forstall and Federighi out... Now that the former IS out, let's pray for the latter as well... Where is Bertrand Serlet when you need him...?

    Looks like I have to be content with Jony Ive... Maybe he's even better than Serlet... :D:D Else no more Macs for me for the foreseeable future...
  12. Arran macrumors 601


    Mar 7, 2008
    Atlanta, USA
    OP, couldn't agree more.

    The creative process is never easy. Great products don't glide down from on high: People have to fight over them. It's nasty, error-prone and unpredictable. But it works splendidly when done right. I'm worried that Cook (given his financial background - the antithesis of the creative mind) is unintentionally neutering Apple's spirit and turning it into a company of yes men.

    Here's to the crazy ones....
  13. urkel macrumors 68030

    Nov 3, 2008
    Sure, Forstall had his share of amazing accomplishments. But unfortunately his time with leading iOS expired 2 generations ago because, while hardware has advanced and led the industry, the software has never been able to keep up.

    Forstall did great things but he simply wasn't good enough anymore.
  14. Abazigal macrumors G3


    Jul 18, 2011
    From the reports given, it seems that scott's abrasive character is proving to be more of a hindrance than whatever creativity or contributions he can make for the company.

    Besides. aren't some people complaining that IOS is becoming staid and boring? A new designer at the helms might see a revamp of the UI for IOS7, making it seem fresh and exciting again (even if its functions remain largely the same).
  15. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    No, but I was hoping with his talents he would step in the void left by Jobs with innovation and drive and charisma. Clearly he's no Steve Jobs but I had hoped we would see some vision from apple brought on by the very intelligent and gifted people who work there.

    Personally I'm not a huge fan of skeuomorphism. Done right with a light touch, it comes off well. I think the latest incarnations such has calendar and address book are great examples of what to avoid.

    In the past apple produced great products that didn't sacrifice function over form. The calendar and address apps are examples of just that, they're not as intuitive as they used to just so they can embrace skeuomorphism
  16. kas23, Nov 1, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2012

    kas23 macrumors 603


    Oct 28, 2007
    People act like he single-handedly came up with all these great ideas. Likely wrong. He lead a team that came up with these great ideas. All the people working under him deserve a little credit here. Heads of divisions/departments are usually not the people developing (ideas, code, etc.), but facilitate the developing. They're supposed to provide an environment for creativity, not do the creating themselves. And from all the reports, Forstall has the opposite of these traits. He was abrasive and divisive. Not exactly good traits of a leader. Therefore, he had to go. But the people under him who did great things are still there and they're likely relieved.


    The thing is, Forstall was the biggest yes man of them all, but only to Steve Jobs. But when Jobs died, he became a no man. And that just doesn't fit in with traditional corporate culture.

    And besides, people keep on throwing around the S word - skeuomorphism. But there is not one shread of evidence that skeuomorphisms contributed to his firing. Skeuomorphisms are a personal preference. Some people like Renaissance art, some people like modern art. It's not something you get fired for. He was fired for his inability to function as a team player. Basically, he was an *******.
  17. CTHarrryH macrumors 68000

    Jul 4, 2012
    The iPhone generates more revenue that all of Microsoft. I'd consider that a pretty good sucess factor. At least 3/4 of all the people on this board wouldn't like anything and always complain that it wasn't good enough or fast enough or doesn't meet your needs exactly. If if the equipment and software was exactly as you wanted last week you'd still find ways to complain about it.

    Scott got caught up in office politics - happens at Apple as it does everywhere else. I'd like to be able to put on my resume all his accomplishments - and no he wasn't perfect.
  18. cyks macrumors 68020


    Jul 24, 2002
    Westchester County, NY
    Yes, he had done some amazing things in the past. The problem is that, with something like technology major advances are not only expected, but required, and he hasn't come through in a few years.

    Maps may have been the final straw, but it certainly wasn't the only one.

    Looking back over the past few years, it's difficult to find any major advancement or feature that works as promised...something that falls completely on his shoulders.
  19. thedeejay macrumors 65816


    Aug 16, 2012
    Toronto, Canada.
    There's a reason he was senior VP of iOS. Plus, yes he screwed up, but I mean who doesn't screw up. Everyone does at one point or another. I guess this one cost him, but it's true, people just need to b.tch about anything. They have nothing better to do, because regardless of what happens or what they improve it'll never be good enough for some.
  20. FlatlinerG macrumors 6502a


    Dec 21, 2011
    Ontario, Canada
    From what I've been reading around here, and hearing people talk about, it isn't so much that Forstall is some sort of bad man, but that most are talking about how excited they are that Ives will be taking a larger role.

    And yes, skeuomorphism is being WAAY too overused.
  21. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    And likely many here had to look it up to understand it. ;)
  22. Rogifan macrumors Core


    Nov 14, 2011
    In Apple's press release there was no thank you for Scott. And Cook's internal company email had one sentence thanking Scott, while at the same time saying he was "thrilled" Mansfield was staying on for 2 years to head up a new technology group. This is the guy who, a few months ago, was retiring. Seems clear there was bad blood between Forstall and the rest of the exec staff. John Gruber said he heard Forstall and Schiller had their moments as well. And I've read other rumors that Forstall would send emails to his tesm bad mouth other teams. I get th sense he wasn't a team player (hence the official press release stressing collaboration). That might have worked under Jobs, but won't fly under Cook (especially if he thinks the guy is after his job).
  23. johnc22 macrumors 6502

    Jul 28, 2010
    The fact is to the average consumer entering the smartphone market, while the iPhone and iOS still enjoy top brand recognition, Android has pretty much caught up. I think Tim Cook is doing what he has to to protect Apple's future and replace someone who was preventing iOS from progressing at an adequate pace to remain competitive with the rest of the market.

    How many features have we waited for (are still waiting for) that were yesterday's news on other platforms? I think in this case iOS needs a shake up. The iPhone 5 is an excellent piece of hardware and deserves an OS to match. In this case change is good.
  24. urkel macrumors 68030

    Nov 3, 2008
    But the big question is, Will Jony Ive give more attention to form or function?

    Many of the design elements of the iPhone hardware seem to be chosen based more on whats aesthetically pleasing than whats most ideal in function. Im not complaining because EVERY Apple product is beautiful, but when it comes to an OS then it's more about how easy it is to use than how pretty it is to look at. I'm excited to see Ive's ideas because (IMO) iOS is overdue for some change, but theres no guarantee this will be the best long term move.
  25. jabingla2810 thread starter macrumors 68020

    Oct 15, 2008
    Yeah, this was very interesting.

    No, "Thanks for all your hard work, we'll be sad to see you go!"

    Very telling of the relationship he's had with others recently.

    I think Siri and Maps were released prematurely and he's paid the price.

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