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Shake-up at Apple: Forstall Out; iOS Executive Fired For Maps Debacle? 487

Posted by Soulskill
from the should-have-called-it-artistic-license dept.
New submitter noh8rz10 writes "Apple's Scott Forstall, who grew iOS from its inception, is departing the company. Rumors say it's because of the Maps debacle, and problems with Siri as well. Jony Ive is taking a larger human interface role, which means he may kill the skeuomorphic interfaces he hates. John Browett, head of retail, is out as well; he never won the trust of the community. What does such a major shakeup say about Tim Cook's leadership?"
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Shake-up at Apple: Forstall Out; iOS Executive Fired For Maps Debacle?

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  • Clang Clang (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 29, 2012 @10:18PM (#41813351)
    Hey, quit saying "skeuomorphic" in there!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Billly Gates (198444)

      So you want something like METRO instead?

      I am in favor of things looking pretty and familiar. It doesn't make sense to have an awesome GPU which runs an OS where you have only 8 colors to choose from and no different than Windows 3.0 on an EGA card. This is the 21st century.

      The problem is the anti skeupmorphic folks have terrible outdated looks and some of the functionality is missing that people are used to for the last 20 years.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Horshu (2754893)
        So you'd rather have the OS chew up cycles than let the apps have them?
        • Re:Clang Clang (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Billly Gates (198444) on Monday October 29, 2012 @11:23PM (#41813771) Journal

          So you'd rather have the OS chew up cycles than let the apps have them?

          You have any idea how fast a modern computer is? An icore7 has 70,000 mips (millions of instructions per second!) For a comparison the 1984 Mac had 3 mips. Your computer you are reading this on is 20,000 faster than the first successful graphical computer.

          Now lets talk about the GPU. I do not have hardcore numbers like I did with the CPU but 10 to 100s of billions of pixels rendering a second has been the norm for years and this is true even for a crappy intel integrated graphics.

          In 1990 yes, your argument made sense as 8 colors could substancely lower the cost and increase the performance of your system. Today 32-bit graphics use 16.7 million graphics per pixel! This is regular standard Windows 7 colors as designers on workstations use up to 48-bit.

          So I want my AERO, compiz, and pretty eye candy since I have this awesome supercomputer and it is asthetically pleasing much the same way of having nice interior does not signficiantly slow down the performance of your car due to the extra 7 pounds it adds. I love text that flows smoothly on my Android phone and hate how browsers are choppy on a full powered desktop unless I go in and tweak the 3d settings and smooth scrool. Though, Firefox and IE 10 are getting better.

          I like the current system because it is what I am used too as well and see no need to replace it. Only difference is I use Google to search for things instead of using a gui, but that is it.

          • Re:Clang Clang (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Bogtha (906264) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @04:00AM (#41815173)

            So I want my AERO, compiz, and pretty eye candy since I have this awesome supercomputer

            That's great, but we're talking about mobile. Performance and battery life are inversely correlated. The more powerful GPU you need, the more memory you need, the less time your battery lasts. You might not care when you're using a supercomputer that's plugged into the mains, but it has a big, direct effect on how people use mobile devices.

  • jony!!!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by the_B0fh (208483) on Monday October 29, 2012 @10:19PM (#41813353) Homepage

    Hopefully, we'll get better UI designs

  • Ten years too late (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 29, 2012 @10:19PM (#41813359)

    Forestall does pretty good work, but he's always been too proud to listen when someone else has a better idea. He shouldn't be working on products that are used by hundreds of millions of people all around the world.

    The thought of him working directly under Tim Cook, who doesn't know much about product design, has always made me uncomfortable.

    Hooray for Ive, he's possibly the best engineer I have ever heard of, except for maybe Wozniak. This is a good day for Apple.

  • by csumpi (2258986) on Monday October 29, 2012 @10:28PM (#41813419)
    [Apple] Steve's gone. Let's turn the page. We'll stop being dicks, no more lawsuits.

    [Google] Sounds good. We'll give you maps with turn-by-turn navigation.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 29, 2012 @10:29PM (#41813427)

    What does such a major shakeup say about Tim Cook's leadership?

    He is going to lead and hold people accountable?

    • by Tough Love (215404) on Monday October 29, 2012 @11:42PM (#41813895)

      What does such a major shakeup say about Tim Cook's leadership?

      He is going to lead and hold people accountable?

      Err, are you suggesting that Tim Cook was not involved in Apple's recent string of blunders? Perhaps that he didn't know what was going on? Or that he did, but did not understand the consequences? Good luck with that.

    • by tlambert (566799) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @07:24AM (#41816033)

      Probably that he's not the right person to be in charge (sorry, Tim).

      Ive is an industrial designer (make it pretty).
      Forestall is a software engineer (make it work).
      Cook is an industrial engineer (make it cost less).

      Steve was able to balance the trade-offs in these interests because he was the 800 pound gorilla. He also had Avi (technological visionary) and Bertrand (better software engineer than Forestall (again, sorry Scott; he was much better at managing simultaneous projects with radically different requirements)) to rely upon before that.

      Tim is very good at optimizing supply chain, because it's instinctual for him: control access to supplies of at least 6 key components of products to prevent copycats and third-shifting by the Chinese factories; hold a knife to the throat of key suppliers like Sharp for displays to control costs; etc.

      The latest iPhone display is a bean-counter decision, not a Steve decision; changing the aspect ratio relative to all previous iPhone models because "that's what there was a lot of in the warehouse" when Apple still has a knife to Sharp's throat was a horrible mistake. Unless it wasn't a mistake, in which case I have to say "good job monetizing the App Store by requiring application rebuys": still a bean counter decision, and not a Steve one.

      Personally, I fault Steve himself for never working to develop a protege within Apple, which is how the COO got turned into the CEO by default and power vacuum.

      Some people have pointed to Apple's 20% increase in year-over-year profits as portending the future value of the company; however, I would have to say the rapid decline from 20% year-over-year innovation is probably a better indicator.

      I have to say, I actually did expect a faster decline due to recognition of new_product = previous_product++ by the larger world, but that much money can't just evaporate overnight, and neither do good employees, despite who is at the helm (with the exception of the large option/RSU cliff timed exodus following the "Steve is stepping down" announcement).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 29, 2012 @10:30PM (#41813435)

    For example, the way the OS X Address Book attempts to resemble
    a paper address book. This is pointless and stupid and the only
    people it could possibly appeal to are idiots who probably don't
    use a computer for anything more than surfing the web anyway.

    This is the kind of crap that insults me when I see it on a computer I
    paid a lot of money to buy.

    If Ive gets rid of this crap, he will have my everlasting appreciation.

    Also, and MUCH more important : Apple MUST quit trying to blend the
    interface used by OS X with the interface used by iOS. The result of
    such attempts at blending is stuff that is annoying and awful to use and
    it is an insult to a user who has a modicum of intelligence. QUIT THIS
    SHIT, Tim Cook, or your legacy will be that of the guy who fucked up
    a good thing, and that is not a legacy anyone with honor wants.

    • I, for one, think that ios and mac integration is useful-- when I want a portable device, I use my ipad. When I want to use my large screens and keyboard, I use my imac and it's helpful if I can share data (especially safari tabs) through iCloud.

      Skeuomorphism, though, is silly.

    • by mjwx (966435)

      If Ive gets rid of this crap, he will have my everlasting appreciation.

      Also, and MUCH more important : Apple MUST quit trying to blend the interface used by OS X with the interface used by IOS.

      Why?

      This is what Apple wants, to blur the lines between OSX and IOS so that they can get rid of OSX on most, if not all devices. They're just using the "boiling the frog" method to avoid users from jumping out of the pot.

      • by NoMaster (142776) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @12:28AM (#41814183) Homepage Journal

        They're just using the "boiling the frog" method to avoid users from jumping out of the pot.

        True. Compared to Microsoft's method of putting the frog straight in the microwave and hitting "Start".

        Or the Open Source way: look around, see that everybody is cooking frogs, and choosing instead to do a from-the-ground-up no-cooking-required reimplementation of a toad. Then trying to convince the rest of the world their choice is better because it's not only bigger and capable of jumping further than a frog, but can also kill small mammals and survive in your chlorinated swimming pool...

  • It Says ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Compulawyer (318018) on Monday October 29, 2012 @10:32PM (#41813447)
    ...that Tim Cook has firmly taken the reins and is going to start running Apple the way he sees fit, with his team - not the team that was there when he took over.
  • by mosb1000 (710161) <mosb1000@mac.com> on Monday October 29, 2012 @10:32PM (#41813449)

    He's the one who designed all their successful products, after all.

  • by je ne sais quoi (987177) on Monday October 29, 2012 @10:35PM (#41813469)
    So if you head over to macrumors.com, the posters are gleefully proclaiming the death of skeuomorphic design in iOS and OS X. This is a good thing. The leather stitching, the ridiculous animations in ical, the stupid contacts list, the game center that made me feel like I trapped in some creepy casino with chain smokers and octagenarian gambling addicts: this is all gone, and good riddance to bad rubbish. However, on the other hand, if you read this article [fastcodesign.com] with the following very interesting passage:

    Inside Apple, tension has brewed for years over the issue. Apple iOS SVP Scott Forstall is said to push for skeuomorphic design, while industrial designer Jony Ive and other Apple higher-ups are said to oppose the direction. "You could tell who did the product based on how much glitz was in the UI," says one source intimately familiar with Apple’s design process.

    After reading that, I realized that this was indeed true and in fact there has been an alternate philosphy besides the skeuomorphic design which is the "war on color" in some aspects of OS X (e.g., the flat gray scroll bars, the gray linen background for the virtual desktop manager, even the world map for changing the time zone). So, now I'm wondering if the skeuomorphic faction led by Forstall has lost the debate, was Ive and the other minimalist design people behind the "war on color" and if that's true, is that what we'll see in future versions of the OS with Ive leading the interface design? I'm not sure how I feel about that, I really don't like using an OS that is drab and boring, it's depressing (I actually liked Aqua for the most part, which was also Forstall's invention I guess). Either way, it's good to know that Apple isn't afraid of rocking the boat still. That skeuomorphic crap might have been good for increasing everyone's vocabulary with regards to interface design, but it was annoying as hell to use.

    Now, if only Apple would admit they screwed up the document versioning system beyond repair and give us a proper "Save As..." since the dawn of the computer (or thereabouts) I would consider Apple as having fully realized the error of their ways and moving decidedly in a less terrible direction. But alas, Federhigi is still in charge and they haven't brought Serlet back from retirement unfortunately.

    • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Monday October 29, 2012 @11:01PM (#41813637) Homepage Journal

      Color is fine in a UI as long as it means something. If it's just decoration that creates cognitive load with no user benefit. Apple abandoned this idea back with pinstriping, Aqua, and whatever that look they had was called that was supposed to look like metal stereo components. I happened upon a System 7.6 machine the other day. I really felt much less frenetic than the modern machines.

      Oh, the same goes for animations. They can be useful or they can be glam. Glam wastes my time and focus.

      BTW, good idea, Apple, announcing a top floor slaughter while Wall St. is closed and a natural disaster is playing out.

      • by R3d M3rcury (871886) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @03:08AM (#41814987) Journal

        BTW, good idea, Apple, announcing a top floor slaughter while Wall St. is closed and a natural disaster is playing out.

        Oh, you just think it's a coincidence? Apple has been planning this for weeks. They even made up the storm--remember that Apple computers are used in video special-effects. There is no hurricane. It's a conspiracy between Apple and Obama!

        Yeah! That's the ticket!

    • the game center that made me feel like I trapped in some creepy casino with chain smokers and octagenarian gambling addicts

      The fact that it made you feel like that means it succeeded at drawing you in. It wasn't the effect they wanted, but it implies that a skeuomorphic interface does have a use. And it does. It isn't innately bad (note the similarity to Microsoft's ribbon interface: it isn't innately bad, but Microsoft's implementation makes it hard to use).

      I'm not sure how I feel about that, I really don't like using an OS that is drab and boring

      The War on Color won't be too bad, I don't think; it's more like 'use color sparingly to increase its impact.' Look at the way the colored ipads shine in front of a sparse

  • by Nyder (754090) on Monday October 29, 2012 @10:36PM (#41813471) Journal

    Look, it's bad when people on TV use Siri and iMaps as a joke for a bunch of different shows. I've seen it on commericals, sitcoms, and of course stand up comedy.

    Granted it's more Siri related, but the iMaps get said a bit also.

    Siri i can understand not working, we are talking speech recognition, but a map program? That is seriously bad.

    Lets see how they fix it though.

     

  • by afgam28 (48611) on Monday October 29, 2012 @10:40PM (#41813499)

    It's well known that Scott Forstall didn't get along with the others. He's been called a "mini-Steve (Jobs)" and described as "maddeningly political":

    http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/scott-forstall-the-sorcerers-apprentice-at-apple-10122011.html [businessweek.com]

    If he was ousted, it's probably due more to the others thinking he's an asshole. The Maps debacle provides a convenient excuse, but I doubt it's the real reason behind this. This is just another political backstabbing, that's all.

  • by MacTechnic (40042) on Monday October 29, 2012 @10:53PM (#41813589)

    If you check SEC company executive stock records, one can find that Scott Forstall has sold off his Apple Stock options earlier this year, in preparation for a possible departure. His departure has actually been planned for several weeks, but was not announced until today along with the departure of John Browett, who was Sr. VP for Retails operations for Apple.

    The current executive reorganization of Mr. Forstall's duties have been spread over several senior Apple executives, distributing responsibilities according to their current function. Read the press release to see the respective changes.

    Some people have speculated that Scott Forstall might be the ultimate successor to Steve Jobs, since he came with Steve from NeXT computer back to Apple in 1997. He has been involved in the development of Mac OS X, including heading the Leopard OS development and development of the Aqua user interface in OS X, along with leading the development of iPhone and later iOS system software since 2004.

    I don't know what Scott Forstall plans to do, but there is some speculation that he might be involved a project with a former Apple engineer. Needless to say, he probably has a non-compete clause with Apple, he will have respect for a while given his critical involvement with key Apple products like the iPhone, iPad and iOS system software.

    I would not be surprised to see Scott come back to Apple sometime in the future, but he has earned a well-earned sabbatical given his recent efforts.

  • by ericdano (113424) on Monday October 29, 2012 @10:56PM (#41813603) Homepage

    Scott has been messing up. The interface designs are getting out of control on iOS and OS X, and hopefully Ive will fix that. Maps and Siri still don't work as advertised (though they are getting better all the time). I don't think Scott will be missed. It makes a LOT of sense to reorganize how they did, though Mansfeld though should have retired......

    The other guy, good riddance. His managing of the Apple Stores is questionable to say the least.

  • by kawabago (551139) on Monday October 29, 2012 @11:09PM (#41813695)
    Apple has already produced it's best ever products and it is on the way down now. Nothing new or exciting will come out of Apple in future.
    • by aaronb1138 (2035478) on Monday October 29, 2012 @11:34PM (#41813841)

      The whole point you are making happened many years ago, arguably before Steve came back. Every "innovation" Apple has had over the past ten years was someone else's idea given just enough refinement and advertising to get consumers to like it.

      Smartphone, that was IBM, Microsoft, Sony, and RIM long before Apple. Apple just managed to consumerize ideas from the corporate tool world. The same goes for tablets. Microsoft never moved their primary UI to be compatible before now with touch and stylus interaction, but Gates kept evangelizing the concept until Jobs actually went and had a regular OS trimmed and locked down to where touch was easy for the uninitiated. Even the iPod was nowhere near the first or best MP3 player, but Apple managed to leverage iTunes and advertising, never superior hardware, to sell lots of hardware. Ultrabook (MBA)? Fujitsu, Sony, NEC, and Toshiba had powerful fully spec'd ultra compact laptops available overseas for 5 or 6 years prior (Dynamism was the primary importer for US buyers).

      Apple is not losing their edge, they are simply having to compete now that other OEMs and software developers have had time to develop consumer, rather than professionally oriented products, in markets which have been gestating for several years. Apple has never done well competing on even ground.

  • Forseen (Score:4, Interesting)

    by U8MyData (1281010) on Monday October 29, 2012 @11:41PM (#41813891)
    Here we go. I saw something like this coming from Apple. Steve was the glue that held the helm. No doubt Apple's market experience has been tough with all the battles going on, but the color of Apple is changing. Expect more I'm affraid... For the record, I'm just an Oracle. I know nothing...
  • by mclaincausey (777353) on Monday October 29, 2012 @11:59PM (#41814017) Homepage

    Forstall sounds like he was kind of a cancer and his excess skeumorphism ruptured an otherwise seamless aesthetic that is a big part of why a lot of people but Apple products. Browett had a bad record and was never a good fit for Apple IMO and his idiocy with trying to draw down clerk hours to save a few bucks demonstrates a cultural disjoint between him and Apple's obsession with customer experience. If your customers don't feel special they will not pay premium margins. A discount retail approach would convert their hugely powerful retail outlets into cost centers.

    The Maps issues aren't related to anything but the quality of data as far as I'm aware. I have no idea if that's his fault, or if it was his fault to put Maps on prematurely, but strategically I think Apple had to divest Google from their platform there at some point.

  • by jasnw (1913892) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @12:15AM (#41814099)
    As soon as I heard this I was happy. I am a computer user. I don't gaze at my computer fondly and I don't use it to access content and I could give a rat's ass if it looks like some 1920s calendar (unless there's a Vargas girl on the front!). I want the computer to help me do my job and otherwise get the (expletive deleted) out of the way. I am hoping this will mean some time and effort spent on fixing some of the oddball things that haven't worked right in OS X for far too long. Let the Content Eaters get their rocks off on their iPads and iPhones, but a desktop machine is made for heavy-duty work, be it graphics design or down-to-the-metal coding. I don't want pretty and I don't want cute - I want works and doesn't need constant maintenance (which is why I'm off the Linux desktop). I'm probably reading in to this more than I should, but I hope at least some of what I'm reading is right.
  • by aussersterne (212916) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @12:20AM (#41814139) Homepage

    and the Apple ecosystem (for the last three years) and that has worried about Apple without Jobs (and even more after the maps fiasco), this reassures me. Love the move, and just saw Tim Cook climb on my respect ladder.

He keeps differentiating, flying off on a tangent.

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