Ive and Forstall were ‘rarely in the same room’

By , Nov 2, 2012

That SVP and iOS chief Scott Forstall fell out of favor with Apple CEO Tim Cook and other vice presidents because of his abrasive and divisive style is no secret. Forstall, 44, was Apple’s youngest vice president. He was also the brains behind OS X since 2006 and the architect of your iPhone’s software. The executive was especially at odds with Apple’s famed industrial design guru Jony Ive over software design. According to a new report by Bloomberg, bad blood ran so deep that Forstall wouldn’t even participate in Ive’s meetings where crucial software and hardware design aspects had been discussed…

Peter Burrows and Adam Satariano, reporting for Bloomberg, heard from people familiar with the situation that Ive and Forstall “were rarely in the same room”.

Even as Forstall oversaw the group responsible for the software that would run the iPhone, he didn’t participate in the meetings.

The article paints Forstall as “a polished presenter” who enjoyed the limelight at Apple keynotes, contrasting him to Ive who made rare public appearances, “preferring instead to appear in videos about the making of the product of the day”.

Supporters admire Forstall’s ability to manage massive technical complexity while pushing his team to innovate. Critics said he was overly concerned with empire building and pushing through favored features while blocking other teams’ ideas.

British-born Ive is known for his deliberate, careful choice of words, and for crediting members of his team while minimizing his own role in development of products.

Ive will have to prove himself because “some engineers are questioning his ability to lead software design”. Be that as it may, Tim Cook clearly had to do something to put an end to this power struggle which could have endangered Apple’s future. However, Forstall’s staff was reportedly “blindsided by the firing” and even his assistant was caught by surprise.

Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook made a choice between the two men this week, forcing out Forstall and leaving Ive in charge of the look and function of the software running everything from the iPod Touch to the top-of-the-line Mac.

A former Microsoft designer weighed in on Ive.

Jonathan understands that design is a collaborative process. A design manager would not try to exert his influence too much, because they know the goodness that comes out of collaboration. You shouldn’t have an idea at the beginning of what a product is supposed to be.

Forstall is said to have channeled the late Steve Jobs as both men shared a similar taste for software design, particularly the widely criticized ornamentation of iOS apps known in design circles as skeumorphism.

Although Apple fired Forstall reportedly for refusing to sign a public apology over the iOS 6 Maps fiasco, I think the main point of contention, in addition to his management style, has got to be this ire with Ive over who gets to control the software experience.

The Ive camp won and Forstall’s out.

He is now in charge of the newly formed Human Interface group which has a studio in the same building as industrial design. Both facilities are off limits to “almost all employees”.

In the long run, this will benefit Apple as Ive is said to be simplifying iOS and removing ornamentation. This is necessary to bring Apple’s software design up to speed with its world-class hardware design. Compared to Apple’s hardware, both OS X and especially iOS feel unnecessarily antiqued and outdated.

Frankly, this was Apple’s biggest problem because most of the innovation with the Android platform is happening in software now. With releases like Jelly Bean Google taking the lead in many respects, Cook clearly did the right move.

Thoughts?

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  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

    lol typical BS….. and they damage the brand..

  • http://www.facebook.com/jamie.tilden.9 Jamie Tilden

    I know this is sort of off topic, but in iOS 6.1, not did they consolidate their music player interface with the addition of the lock screen redesign, but within that redesign they seem to have gotten rid of that annoying black space in the lock screen during music play on the iPhone 5. Previously, the album art didn’t take up the space between the slide-to-unlock bar and the clock bar, but now, while an album is shown, the clock bar seems to be slightly stretched to fully frame the album art. I really appreciate this, as I hated the empty space before.

  • Damani Brown

    Forstall how does it feel to be jobless? :D pretty awesome ehh? cool. Have fun with your family.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jamie.tilden.9 Jamie Tilden

      I’m sure he’s a millionaire with amazing job credentials. He’ll be fine.

      • Damani Brown

        He is a millionaire. Why do you think I said have fun with your family. He doesn’t need to work. But, I’m glad he’s not working for apple anymore. Now we can get some real improvements.

    • MagicDrumSticks

      Don’t be a douche bag. Hes the reason you are using the iPhone for the software because the hardware definitely ain’t the reason why.

      • Damani Brown

        Hardware is a beast faggot. That’s why I’m using the iPhone. Only thing good about the software is the damn appstore.

      • MagicDrumSticks

        O Rly?

        Because I’m pretty sure that almost every reviewer says apple is known for their software and not their hardware.

        Android is the one with beastly hardware but buggy software.

        You’re seriously so ignorant that I won’t bother arguing with you further. Your intelligence is not even enough to hold a proper conversation.

  • http://twitter.com/Jack_maredit Jackson Grong

    Yes, can’t wait for iOS 7, widget, themes, sbs-settings-like funcionality in the App switcher, and myb better homescreen design?

    • http://www.facebook.com/jamie.tilden.9 Jamie Tilden

      I really don’t see widgets being a reality

      • Troy

        neither themes

      • http://www.facebook.com/Jordys.O Jordys Oquendo

        neither settings in the lockscreen.

  • http://www.facebook.com/craig.wayman.7 Craig Wayman

    Dude, I don’t know why people keep baggin on the Apple Maps. I like them a lot.. Yes they have some bugs (that don’t effect me), but those bugs will be worked out and they will make Apple Maps better in the next year…. Calm down everyone. I still use Apple Maps and don’t miss a beat.

  • JT_CHITOWN

    I don’t want animated home screens if it comes at the cost of battery life or the iPhone’s size.

  • http://twitter.com/franklylife Frank Anthony

    You people should leave Forstall alone. He has done all he could even when some think his best aren’t enough. After all human are never satisfied & will never stop criticizing. Allow him to go in peace please. All news media (iDB inclusive) thanks for all the infos but it seems you guys like sayin a lot negative things bout Forstall. What happened to his good works?. Pls allow him be.

    • http://twitter.com/franklylife Frank Anthony

      I’m sure lots of companies are impatiently waiting to take Scott at any amount. He’s still a hot product. How i wish he could give a little tip/support to our Hackers/Jailbreak Community. Lol:)))

  • dady king

    Jay freeman (saurik) is saying welcome to cydia -,0