Signs That that Led Up to the Removal of Apple’s Scott Forstall

Apple’s former head of iOS, Scott Forstall was unceremoniously ousted from the company this afternoon via press release. Many have cited Forstall as the one to blame for the fiasco involving Apple Maps and other iOS shortfalls (Siri; small iOS iterations compared to Android). We earlier noted his emphasis on skeuomorphism in design, but now CNN Tech Fortune’s Adam Lashinsky sheds some insight into the matter. According to his sources:

It is being said that Forstall didn’t get along with Jony Ive. The knighted designer won that battle. Apple named him the chief of all “human interface” on Monday. Reading between the lines, that means software in addition to hardware. Design lovers hated the paper “shredder” that Apple introduced with its Passbook product. Ive, a fan of minimalism, must have hated it too. Watch for Apple to kill it.

We’ve long heard rumours of the skeuomorphism debate causing internal strife within upper management. Also, when it came to Apple Maps, Lashinsky claims he has heard Forstall refusing to take responsibility for the SNAFU:

I also heard that Forstall refused to sign the letter apologizing for the mapping fiasco, sealing his fate at Apple. (He has worked for two companies in his career, both founded by Steve Jobs: Next and Apple.


Seeing as Forstall oversaw and publicly demoed Siri and maps, we know at least that the Apple culture is intact: Forstall was the directly responsible individual, or DRI, on Siri and maps. Now he is gone.

Kara Swisher over at AllThingsD provides her take on Forstall:

Here’s a little insight into Apple’s often opaque culture to better discern management Kremlinology there: Its iTunes still advertising competitors’ maps instead of its own failed product and Forstall got no stage time at Apple iPad mini event last week.

Usually Forstall is ‘the man’ when it comes to demonstrating the latest advances in iOS 6 or even just showcasing the software. Last week, he was noticeably absent from stage even to demo iOS 6 on the iPad mini, as SVP of Marketing Phil Schiller was responsible for announcing the 13″ Retina MacBook Pro, Mac mini, new iMac, 4th generation iPad and iPad mini.

This got me thinking back to the iPad mini event announcement and the glimpse shown of Forstall. I expected him on stage, as he normally is when it comes to new products. If you carefully observe Forstall’s eyes and reaction at the moment the iPad mini is announced (around the 50 minute mark)–doesn’t he look somber and even stone-faced? His body language screams resentment:

Watch the keynote again and observe Forstall. He’s most likely there as a formality–he doesn’t look too thrilled to be missing out on the iPad mini announcement. He probably already knew about today’s executive restructuring and his new ‘interim role’ as Tim Cook’s advisor at time, is my best guess.