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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

Earlier this evening, Apple announced a major change up in their executive management. Most notably, Apple Senior Vice President of iOS Software Scott Forstall will be leaving. Forstall moved over to an advisory role effective immediately, and will ultimately depart Apple in 2013.

As Senior Vice President of iOS Software, Scott Forstall has been a prominent public figure at Apple. He was originally recruited to NeXT, Inc. after college and came to Apple with Steve Jobs after Apple's acquisition of NeXT in 1996. He has been on stage numerous times during Apple keynotes to demo the latest iOS features. Forstall was even profiled as Apple's CEO-in-Waiting back in January. That article, however, was a not always flattering look at the executive who reportedly had many clashes with others at Apple.

More recently, there was described to be an internal political divide in Apple about the use of skeuomorphism, the inclusion of certain ornamental elements in a product that are carried over from previous tools addressing the same task for which the elements were required for functionality.
According to the report, Apple's iOS chief Scott Forstall has long been a proponent of incorporating skeuomorphic features in the company's software, with Steve Jobs having supported and even originated that design direction for Apple's products. But others such as hardware guru Jonathan Ive find the inclusion of such features distasteful, and Apple's designers have reportedly been divided into camps over which direction to take Apple's products.
In light of the shakeup, Jonathan Ive is now taking over Apple's Human Interface teams.

DaringFireball's John Gruber believes that Forstall was forced out of Apple:
Forstall is not walking away; he was pushed. Potential factors that worked against Forstall: his design taste, engineering management, abrasive style, and the whole iOS 6 Maps thing. I also wonder how much Forstall was effectively protected by his close relationship with Steve Jobs -- protection which, obviously, no longer exists.
Inside Apple author Adam Lashinsky agrees with that sentiment and also cites the Apple Maps issue as a reason for his demise:
I also heard that Forstall refused to sign the letter apologizing for the mapping fiasco, sealing his fate at Apple.
Lashinsky is referring to a public apology posted by Apple CEO Tim Cook about iOS 6's Maps. The Map app in iOS 6 replaced Google Maps with Apple's own proprietary solution. After a significant amount of criticism after iOS 6's launch, Cook wrote an open letter apologizing to customers about not meeting expectations.

Update: The Wall Street Journal confirms a similar story with their sources.
In deciding how to manage the crisis, Mr. Forstall argued that the company could address the outcry without apologizing, as Apple had done when it shipped iPhones with faulty antennas a few years ago, one of these people said. Mr. Cook and others disagreed, these people said. Mr. Cook signed his name to the apology instead.
The article also reiterates that Forstall clashed with others at Apple. One source even said he was difficult to work with and "never fit into the culture of Apple".

Update 2: NYTimes also has a similar story:
A senior Apple employee who asked not to be named said Mr. Forstall had also incurred the ire of other executives after inserting himself into product development that went beyond his role at the company. One person in touch with Apple executives said the mood of people at the company was largely positive about Mr. Forstall's departure.

Article Link: Scott Forstall Reportedly Forced Out of Apple


macrumors 604
Jun 10, 2006
I was pretty shocked by this announcement, but in hindsight it really isn't that surprising, nonetheless I'll be buying an Andriod device after using iPhone for 4 years :S thanks Forstall!


macrumors 68020
Aug 29, 2009
Skeumorphism is a good thing: It makes you appreciate good design ;)


macrumors newbie
Oct 3, 2012
We won't miss ya! :D

Sir Ive, we are all excited for what you'll have for us in iOS 7


macrumors 6502a
Jul 17, 2005
Lake George, NY
I don't think Steve would have apologized about Maps, either.

I think he would have fiercely defended it and stated why it's way far beyond anything google maps was at its inception and that it's only going to get better.

My guess is Forstall felt the same way.

Either way, I'm looking forward to Ive UIs.
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macrumors 68040
Aug 28, 2008
Beverly, Massachusetts
I actually liked his keynotes.

Besides from that, sure he had issues with the UI, but what about the code that us under the UI. Maybe they could keep him for the coding, and have Ive do the UI design? A waste of time was how the volume slider and time slider change reflection when the phone is moved.

He also seemed overly excited about small things too.


Aug 16, 2005
New England
Who thinks Google hires him?

My guess is he still has a non-compete in place that would prevent him from working in the same field for a direct competitor for a while. He'll probably do something more like Tony Fadell. Work on something completely different for a while like Nest.



macrumors 6502a
Jun 30, 2008
Finally, the vomit-tastic mess that is Game Center. / podcasts can be rectified...

Lost count the amount of times I've thought to my self 'wtf is this' when game centre forces itself on you like jimmy s :D


macrumors newbie
Oct 29, 2012

I am definitely happy that John Browett left. But Forstall, not so much. Yes, I do hate the old fashioned calendar, but how do we know as the public that Forstall hadn't been part of more than just the design of those specific apps?

I feel like forcing someone out for doing a job that Steve Jobs wanted them to do is not something that Apple should do.

Just my thoughts...


macrumors newbie
Oct 29, 2012
Today I learned that there's a word for what I absolutely HATED about some computer UI design: Skeuomorphic. That this scourge can be identified by name, and that a large proponent of it at Apple has been fired, gives me great optimism about the future of Apple software.

Like most things, a tiny bit of it is OK (like having a little picture of a metronome in the metronome button in Logic), but it's gotten way out of hand (not so much in Logic though).


macrumors regular
Oct 29, 2012
Let's not forget that Steve Jobs was forced out of Apple before too.

Perhaps we'll see the second coming of Scott Forstall?


macrumors 6502a
Dec 24, 2011
Sorry, but the Maps issue is something to blame on a quality control process drive by the Project Managers, not a single person.

There should be quality control points in productions and reports.
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