Scott Forstall's Personality, Origins of iOS, and Lost iPhone 4 Prototype

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Businessweek has an in-depth look at Apple's Senior Vice President of iOS Software, Scott Forstall. Readers will be familiar with Forstall from his keynote appearances where he often demonstrates the latest iOS features.

The Businessweek article is a not always flattering look at the man who has been partly responsible for much of Apple's success with the iPhone. Forstall is described as almost as a "mini-Steve" being a detail oriented manager but also one that is difficult to work with.

In fact, the article suggests that Forstall was a major factor in Tony Fadell's departure from Apple in early 2010. Fadell had been called the "Godfather" of the iPod due to his key role in that device's creation.

Forstall and Fadell reportedly went head to head in 2005 when Steve Jobs pitted the two against each other in determining the underlying operating system for the iPhone. The two possibilities were a Linux-based operating system or a Mac OS X based one.
In other words, should he shrink the Mac, which would be an epic feat of engineering, or enlarge the iPod? Jobs preferred the former option, since he would then have a mobile operating system he could customize for the many gizmos then on Apple's drawing board. Rather than pick an approach right away, however, Jobs pitted the teams against each other in a bake-off.
Forstall, of course, led the shrunken down Mac OS X project and ultimately won, but the bad blood over time was said to be a factor in Fadell's decision to leave.

The profile also reports that Forstall may also been an indirect cause of the lost iPhone 4 prototype in 2010. Forstall reportedly convinced Jobs to allow dozens of his engineers to carry prototypes of the then unreleased iPhone 4. It was one of those employees who lost the iPhone 4 at a Redwood City, California bar where it was picked up and sold to Gizmodo.

Forstall had originally joined NeXT, Inc. after college and came to Apple with Steve Jobs after Apple's acquisition of NeXT in 1996. The NeXT operating system then became the basis for Mac OS X and ultimately the iPhone.

Article Link: Scott Forstall's Personality, Origins of iOS, and Lost iPhone 4 Prototype
 

Apple...

macrumors 68020
May 6, 2010
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Some good, some bad.
 

cshearer

macrumors regular
Aug 1, 2011
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Interesting. A shrunken down OS X just seems like an all around better idea. Good call Forstall.
 

Don Kosak

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Mar 12, 2010
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From a software development standpoint, I am thrilled that the Mini OS X won the battle.

OS X and Cocoa are an incredibly mature development environment that's a joy to code in.

I started doing NeXT / Objective C work back in the early '90's on the original black cube NeXT workstations. It's amazing how far ahead of its time those workstations were.
 

scbn

macrumors 6502
Jul 25, 2010
272
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Interesting. Forstall appears to be a very nice guy. I'm glad Mac OS X won.
 

Slurpy2k8

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Feb 26, 2008
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The Businessweek article is a not always flattering look at the man who has been partly responsible for much of Apple's success with the iPhone. Forstall is described as almost as a "mini-Steve" being a detail oriented manager but also one that is difficult to work with.
Newsflash- this is what it takes to get **** done and strive for excellence. I love how people naively think that Apple could have become what it is today, and can stay that way, with chilled-out push-overs and mellow dudes leading it. You can criticize what you see as personality flaws from the comforts of your position on a messageboards, as everyone did with SJ, but at least have the common sense to realize this is what is required to make it, especially in an industry as cut throat as this one. SJ got Apple to where it is precisely by having insanely high standards, exacting requirements, and contro-freak (I hate that term) who micro-manages even the tiniest details. And yes, that naturally produces someone who is difficult to work with. But it's a sacrifice that produces results. I know, as I've worked in high pressure environments. I truly hope Forstall IS like Jobs, as are others in the company, cause that's what Apple needs. People who fight tooth and nail for their vision if they believe it's the right one. That's what Steve did- he did it everyday.

Forstall made absolutely the right call. And out of all the public figures at Apple, I like him the best. Seems to be the most Steve-like in his charisma, energy, passion, and onstage presence. Not Steve by a long shot, obviously. I just hope there is a single person at Apple with a vision to lead everyone else by, because decisions by committee will never work. Someone able to play hardball with content providers, as SJ did with iTunes, iPhone, etc. Damn, now I'm getting depressed again.
 
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gmanist1000

macrumors 68030
Sep 22, 2009
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Honestly I've always been happier to see Forstall present something rather than Phil or Tim. He seems more lively and entertaining. Mini-Steve? We shall see :)
 

gecis

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Jun 26, 2010
129
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I always knew that there was a douche hidden somewhere inside him. It is apparent everytime he speaks.
 
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OtherJesus

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Forstall is a badass.
 

lozanoj83

macrumors 6502a
Mar 5, 2006
546
0
Southern California
Interesting. Forstall appears to be a very nice guy. I'm glad Mac OS X won.
I actually feel the opposite. Im not sure why, but whenever I see him on stage I just see snobbiness and jocky-ness. Obviously I don't know the guy and I could be wrong, but I sense that he's in his own world, and he's a douche to everyone. Of course, I could be wrong.
 

chrmjenkins

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Oct 29, 2007
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Android is bases on Linux for those who are curious.

Also, it wasn't Google's baby at first, they bought it and developed it.
 

Žalgiris

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Aug 3, 2010
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Lithuania
I actually feel the opposite. Im not sure why, but whenever I see him on stage I just see snobbiness and jocky-ness. Obviously I don't know the guy and I could be wrong, but I sense that he's in his own world, and he's a douche to everyone. Of course, I could be wrong.
Young Steve was the same if you watch some old videos.
 

Bosunsfate

macrumors 6502
Jan 20, 2006
344
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Silicon Valley, CA
Potential successor to Tim Cook?

Having met Scott at WWDC in 2009, I was certainly impressed with him personally. That was already based upon his public work as well.

This article certainly reaffirms for me that Apple is in quite good hands.
 

ivladster

macrumors 6502
Jun 29, 2007
479
9
Washington DC
I am glad we get to hear the people behind Apple and not only about Steve. There are so many incredible people who deserve so much credit and respect. Good article.

----------

I like Forstall, he looks creepy though
HAHA lol he reminds me of that evil factory millionaire guy from The Simpsons. Weird.
 

greytmom

macrumors 68040
Jun 23, 2010
3,434
626
The profile also reports that Forstall may also been an indirect cause of the lost iPhone 4 prototype in 2010. Forstall reportedly convinced Jobs to allow dozens of his engineers to carry prototypes of the then unreleased iPhone 4. It was one of those employees who lost the iPhone 4 at a Redwood City, California bar where it was picked up and sold to Gizmodo.
Uh, no. Cause of iPhone being lost - dumb/drunk engineer who left it in a bar.
 

Jordo5150

macrumors newbie
Mar 21, 2009
16
0
There is a big part of me that is relieved to hear that someone over there is still a cut throat jerk.
 

foidulus

macrumors 6502a
Jan 15, 2007
904
1
I have to doubt a lot of the facts presented in the article

I highly doubt Apple was ever seriously considering using a Linux-based kernel for the iPhone(they may have been debating extending the iPod kernel, but thats different). The reason is quite simple, if they used Linux they would be forced to distribute a massive amount of the code that they distributed on the phone in order to be in compliance with the GPL.

While it would still be possible to have a completely unique(and thus closed source) user land on top of that, Apple would essentially have it hands tied when it came to distributing source, and the sheer complexity of the license agreements would have made this a very risky venture, link to the wrong code and you may have to open up your entire OS.

Now compare this to the BSD license that Apple overwhelmingly(and starting with Lion almost exclusively) uses, which gives Apple much more flexibility on which code they release and which code they do not.

Steve is legendary for wanting control over everything, I doubt he would have ever seriously considered a Linux-based OS, which makes me think that the author of this article probably mixed up unix and Linux, which does sort of throw the entire rest of the article into doubt.
 

Žalgiris

macrumors 6502a
Aug 3, 2010
934
0
Lithuania
Newsflash- this is what it takes to get **** done and strive for excellence. I love how people naively think that Apple could have become what it is today, and can stay that way, with chilled-out push-overs and mellow dudes leading it. You can criticize what you see as personality flaws from the comforts of your position on a messageboards, as everyone did with SJ, but at least have the common sense to realize this is what is required to make it, especially in an industry as cut throat as this one. SJ got Apple to where it is precisely by having insanely high standards, exacting requirements, and contro-freak (I hate that term) who micro-manages even the tiniest details. And yes, that naturally produces someone who is difficult to work with. But it's a sacrifice that produces results. I know, as I've worked in high pressure environments. I truly hope Forstall IS like Jobs, as are others in the company, cause that's what Apple needs. People who fight tooth and nail for their vision if they believe it's the right one. That's what Steve did- he did it everyday.

Forstall made absolutely the right call. And out of all the public figures at Apple, I like him the best. Seems to be the most Steve-like in his charisma, energy, passion, and onstage presence. Not Steve by a long shot, obviously. I just hope there is a single person at Apple with a vision to lead everyone else by, because decisions by committee will never work. Someone able to play hardball with content providers, as SJ did with iTunes, iPhone, etc. Damn, now I'm getting depressed again.
Couldn't agree more.
 
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