Is Apple Really Better off without Forstall?

XboxEvolved

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I've kind of thought this for sometime, I made a little quick blog post, but here is the gist of it:

It’s been around two years since former Senior Vice President of iOS, Scott Forstall burned bridges with Apple. When Apple purchased Steve Job’s company NeXT in 1996, Forstall came along for the ride to Apple and made several key contributions to Apple including the development of the original “Aqua” Mac OS X interface, Safari, and introducing iOS to the world. Very few people inside Apple the past 15 years have had as positive effect on Apple’s bottom line than Forstall. Notable exceptions would be Tony Fadell the father of the iPod (that Forstall beat in an internal competition for the creation of the iPhone OS) and Jonathan Ive, the man in charge of designing all the sleek hardware that Apple has created since the original iMac.

However, Apple blamed Forstall on the initial failure of paramount projects Apple Maps and Siri. This combined with less than expected profits at the time, Apple put blame on Forstall. There is of course more to the story; Steve Jobs held Forstall in high regard and besides Apple’s other pillar Jonathan Ive not caring much for the guy, he likely believed himself to be the heir-apparent.

While Apple has been spending millions on painting the next chapter coming later this year, the Apple faithful know: Tim Cook truly began his chapter when Forstall was out. Many Apple faithful are just that; faithful. Of course even the most faithful question their faith sometimes and at that very moment a lot of us got a little nervous. So it is almost eerie to see some of the parallels in the firing of two Apple’s most creative forces.
If you guys are interested, you can see the entire rant here.

Any thoughts on it would be nice...when you think about it there are actually quite a few similiarities between the two.
 

maflynn

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From what I've heard he was difficult to work with. Tim Cook wanted iOS to go a different direction Forstall didn't. Forstall was in love with skeuomorphism, but the people had grown tired of it and iOS was looking rather dated. Apple Maps was an utter failure under his purview, and Siri was not an overwhelming success.

From what I've read on the net (true or not I don't know), he was egotistical, difficult to work for and in the case of the new Apple, was unwilling to fit in. He had to go, because Cook needed to run apple his way, and couldn't have a team player unwilling to play his way.
 
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tkermit

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I'm not sure what difference it makes. It's not like any of us could convince Apple to hire him back.
 
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Rogifan

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I can't believe people actually think a SVP was fired from Apple because he preferred a certain type of software UI design. That's ridiculous. We'll never know the actual reason but plenty of rumors have indicated Forstall was difficult to work with, didn't get along with the other SVPs and bad mouthed other teams in front of his team. Tim Cook wanted more collaboration and fewer silos and fiefdoms. Apparently Forstall didn't fit in to that picture. Also, one could argue iOS 6 wasn't much of a leap forward (and of course the maps roll out wasn't great). Perhaps Cook and others felt he was holding iOS back and it needed someone new to move it forward and keep up with Android. Or maybe Cook felt that software shoud be consolidated under one leader and chose Federighi over Forstall.
 
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roadbloc

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Aug 24, 2009
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I say yes, Apple are better off without Forstall. I wasn't a fan of the iOS 1-6 look and Maps was a downright disaster. iOS 7 looks much better to me.

Ironically however, I can't stand Yosemite and much prefer the Aqua look of OS X 10.0-10.6. In fact, I hate it that much, I won't be using new versions of OS X until the design gets sorted out.
 
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AustinIllini

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Another Forstall thread.

My feelings on Forstall is simple: iOS 1-4 were critical, because (for all its faults) skeuomorphism is the perfect method of teaching the end user how to employ a tool (for example, the slider actually looks like a slider and things like that).

However, by iOS 6 it was apparent the skeuomorphism had overstayed its welcome and much of iOS 6's look was superfluous and not useful (fake leather).

It was time to move on and iOS 7 and 8 have looked great to me.
 
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Rogifan

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Forstall wasn't fired because of skuomorhpism. He was fired because he didn't get along with his peers and Cook's Apple is all about collaboration not individual fiefdoms.
 
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Ulenspiegel

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Forstall wasn't fired because of skuomorhpism. He was fired because he didn't get along with his peers and Cook's Apple is all about collaboration not individual fiefdoms.
Forstall was fired because Jony Ive did not get along with him. Like Jon Rubenstein (SVP till 2006) who was fired because Jony Ive asked Steve Jobs: "He or me". So long and so forth....like Tony Fadell (SVP till 2008) the father of iPod.
 
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Rogifan

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Forstall was fired because Jony Ive did not get along with him. Like Jon Rubenstein (SVP till 2006) who was fired because Jony Ive asked Steve Jobs: "He or me". So long and so forth....like Tony Fadell (SVP till 2008) the father of iPod.
Hmm...allegedly Bob Mansfield decided to stay on at Apple because Forstall got the boot.

http://allthingsd.com/20121101/behi...etirement-why-bob-mansfield-is-back-at-apple/

And there is zero evidence that Tony Fadell was forced out by Ive. All we have is speculation by Leander Kahney in his book about Ive, which was just to fit his bogus narrative that Ive is the mastermind of everything at Apple (ooh he's so powerful he gets all these big shots fired). What the evidence points to is Tony Fadell leaving Apple because he was running the iPod division and once the iPhone came out the iPod team was the B team. Fadell certainly doesn't seem like a B team player to me.

http://daringfireball.net/2008/11/executive_scuttlebutt

Of course it's also worth noting what Fadell said during a BBC interview about Forstall:

“Scott got what he deserved,” Mr Fadell told the BBC.

When pressed, he adds: “I think what happened just a few weeks back was deserved and justified and it happened."
Clearly it was not just Ive who had issues with Forstall.
 
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Ulenspiegel

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...And there is zero evidence that Tony Fadell was forced out by Ive. All we have is speculation by Leander Kahney in his book about Ive, which was just to fit his bogus narrative that Ive is the mastermind of everything at Apple (ooh he's so powerful he gets all these big shots fired). What the evidence points to is Tony Fadell leaving Apple because he was running the iPod division and once the iPhone came out the iPod team was the B team. Fadell certainly doesn't seem like a B team player to me....
Kahney, Leander “Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple's Greatest Products”,
Chapter 11, page 491:

"“But two former Apple employees say Fadell was another victim of Jobs’s close relationship with Jony.
“Tony got canned,” said one source. “He was paid off with his salary for a number of years plus so many millions to leave. Tony was canned because he was battling with Jony. He went to Steve so many times bitching about Jony, but Steve had such a tremendous amount of respect for Jony and their relationship that he sided with Jony, not Tony.”

Two former Apple employees and a source is not a speculation.
 
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Rogifan

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Kahney, Leander “Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple's Greatest Products”,
Chapter 11, page 491:

"“But two former Apple employees say Fadell was another victim of Jobs’s close relationship with Jony.
“Tony got canned,” said one source. “He was paid off with his salary for a number of years plus so many millions to leave. Tony was canned because he was battling with Jony. He went to Steve so many times bitching about Jony, but Steve had such a tremendous amount of respect for Jony and their relationship that he sided with Jony, not Tony.”

Two former Apple employees and a source is not a speculation.
Who are these two former employees? And who is this one source? Name names. It's not like all sources referenced in his book were anonymous. And how do we know these sources aren't spreading gossip that may or may not be close to the truth? Regardless that has nothing to do with Forstall and I think evidence is pretty clear that Ive wasn't the only one who had issues with Forstall. Plus Tim Cook is not Steve Jobs and as far as we can tell doesn't have the same relationship Ive that Jobs did so it's highly unlikely Cook would kick Forstall to the curb just because of Ive. Seems to me people are assigning Ive way more power than he actually has inside the company.
 
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Ulenspiegel

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Who are these two former employees? And who is this one source? Name names...
These are academic questions.
I hope you have read the book as I have.
We are talking about a bestselling author who has covered Apple for more than a dozen years and has written three popular books about Apple and the culture of its followers.
 
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Rogifan

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These are academic questions.
I hope you have read the book as I have.
We are talking about a bestselling auhor who has covered Apple for more than a dozen years and has written three popular books about Apple and the culture of its followers.
I did read the book. It wasn't that great actually. It seemed to me like he went into it with an agenda and designed the book around his agenda. The agenda was to paint Ive as the one responsible for Apple's success and as the one with the most power inside Apple. Claiming that Ive got Tony Fadell fired (using two unnamed former employees for sources) just fits his narrative about Ive being THE MAN inside Apple. I'm skeptical Ive is as powerful as Kahney claims. How in the world could someone that powerful not even be listed as an executive officer in Apple's SEC filings?
 
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jayducharme

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With Forstall gone, I'm concerned that Apple is drifting from its formerly strong ability to make software user-friendly. iOS8 is artistically clean, but there are many non-intuitive aspects to it. Words themselves don't convey the idea of buttons, and it takes some getting used to. Compound that with the fact that the "buttons" (like Delete) shift around from app to app. Swiping is inconsistent as well; sometimes I can swipe to delete and sometimes I can't.

Little things like that concern me, because if they become more common they'll make iOS a non-intuitive mess. Apple always used to equal ease-of-use. That's not as true anymore. Skeuomorphisms or not, Forstall knew how to construct intuitive interfaces.
 
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juanm

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I would have said "yes, clearly" but then they put those smileys on the iWatch...
 
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maflynn

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With Forstall gone, I'm concerned that Apple is drifting from its formerly strong ability to make software user-friendly.
I agree, the days of an executive like Forstall pulling out a jewelers loupe to look at over each pixel is long gone. That attention to detail is missing in current day Apple.

I think he brought a lot to the table so to speak, but he has also the source of a lot of friction and distractions. Whether he was truly at fault for apple maps, is questionable and the days of Skeuomorphism certainly passed him by. Still I agree I think he was better at producing UIs then the current folks at Apple.
 
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Rogifan

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Forstall might have been better at delivering a pixel perfect UI* but it was on his watch that Android got ahead of iOS in many respects. iOS 7 and 8 were essentially Apple playing catch up. I'd rather have new features like control center and extensions than pixel perfect faux leather stitching.

*though I think the podcasts and find my friends apps plus things like different colored status bars based on what app you were in shows that things were starting to go down hill under him
 
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Rogifan

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You are not mentioning it for the first time. Can you please elaborate on that statement in detail?
I personally think Android advanced faster than iOS while iOS was on Forstall's watch. There's very little we got in iOS 7 and 8 that didn't already exist on Android. But perhaps for some people things like actionable notifications, control center, widgets, inter-app communications and 3rd party keyboards aren't a big deal or are not desirable and they'd prefef a very simple, dumbed down iOS (but with pixel perfect faux green felt ;)).
 
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Rogifan

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Another area where I think Forstall let iOS fall behind is contextual information/notifications. Back in 2010 the tag line for WWDC was 'center of the app universe'. IMO iOS is too focused on apps, too much about you going to an app to get information rather than information being pushed to you. Like getting a text message and not being able to respond to it without being kicked into iMessage. Or having to launch another app to be able to apply filters to a photo rather than being able to do it right from the photos app. There have been improvements with iOS 7 & 8 and hopefully the watch spurs that even further.

But where is Apple's answer to Google Now? Sometimes Notification Center will tell me how long it will take to drive to/from work, but it's hit or miss. But why am I not getting notifications when traffic or weather is bad telling me to allow extra time for my commute? And when I'm in my car with my iPhone plugged in and I ask Siri what the traffic is like why does Siri make me unlock my phone to open the maps app rather than just telling me whether the traffic is bad or not. Traffic and weather is just one example. It seems like Google is pushing forward on contextual information faster than Apple and the current executive team is having to play catch up.
 
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Big-TDI-Guy

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I miss the Forestall UI badly. I'll concede, the leather / felt / paper did get excessive, even so, I wish I could go back.

Since 7, I can't even delete podcasts / movies without having to google how to do it pratically every time. To this day, I'm not sure if the "shift" key is pressed when it's darker, or lighter. These little "bumbles" in the UI experience is the antithesis of what drew me to Apple.

I have little faith that Apple will go back to the UX elements that drew many of us in. At this point, I'm looking for who is going to take their place. Sadly, nobody that I can see.

I am not going to bat for him here - but as for the Forestall being difficult to work with, having excessive ego and what not. These conditions sound very similar to a Mr. S. Jobs when he was run out of Apple back when. Right down to the companys reasoning behind their actions.
 
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Negritude

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Jul 14, 2011
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Forstall was canned because he was an ******* like Steve Jobs, and while being an ******* was OK when Steve was in charge, he no longer fit once Steve passed away. Steve was the only thing that was protecting his job.

It's like when Michael Corleone waited for his mother to die before killing his brother Fredo.
 
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the8thark

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Yes.

The evidence is there for all to see. And iOS is so much better for it as well.
 
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