Scott Forstall And John Browett Out At Apple, Jony Ive To Take iOS Interface Design Role

Apple has just sent out a press release stating that Scott Forstall, Apple’s VP of iOS, and John Browett, Apple’s head of retail stores, will both be making their departures from Apple by the end of the year. Both of these departures come after a pretty successful year for Apple; however, it wasn’t without its flaws. Forstall was in charge of iOS, and as it turns out, Apple’s Maps offering, which has taken its fair share of beatings in the press. Browett has also been a point of consternation with the press after rumors leaked that Apple would begin laying off a large segment of its retail staff. The layoffs have since been pushed to the side by Tim Cook himself.

Who’s going to take the place of Scott Forstall and John Browett? Right now iOS duties are mostly being shunted to Jony Ive, Apple’s famous industrial designer. Not only will Ive be working with industrial design of Apple’s products, but he will also be designing Apple’s iOS software and interfaces as well. Craig Federighi, the VP of Mac software, will be taking up the rest of Forstall’s role while continuing to work with OS X. Eddie Cue, the man behind the Apple Online Store, will now be working on Maps and Siri, two of Apple’s most vulnerable area within iOS (heck, those are likely the reason Forstall got the hook).

John Browett, the former head of the Apple Store, will be leaving Apple after less than a year on the job. Apple hasn’t given a reason as to why he is leaving, but they’ve said that they are currently on the hunt for a replacement. Until then, Apple’s retail team will report to Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple.

It’s also a little bit funny, and telling, that this news managed to hit the press-wire the same day as some major Google announcements, and a couple of days after Microsoft launched the Surface.

A couple of other quick notes worth pointing out. Forstall has been responsible for iOS since its inception, and the success of the iPad and iPhone has a large part to do with his involvement in shaping the operating system. That can’t be stated enough. As John Gruber points out over at Daring Fireball, “my understanding is that he, along with Bertrand Serlet, were the leading proponents of using OS X as the foundation of the iPhone (as opposed to something more like the embedded OS that runs iPods other than the Touch).”  Actually, we recommend you take a moment and read Gruber’s post on the topic, titled Forstall Out. There’s a lot of history jammed into his post that’s worth reading. Another article worth taking a moment to read is Om Malik’s Apple, Attention & Competition. In the post, he hits the nail on the head, probably harder than most. From what we’ve heard over the last year, nothing rings truer than “Forstall forgot he was Steve’s guy, not Steve Jobs.

There’s no doubt that a lot of question marks just popped up over at Apple. We’re not privy to their inner dealings, and we’re certainly not going to pretend that we know what’s going on both now or in the future.  That said, things could get mighty interesting with OS X and iOS over the next couple of versions with a new man at the helm.


CUPERTINO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Apple® today announced executive management changes that will encourage even more collaboration between the Company’s world-class hardware, software and services teams. As part of these changes, Jony Ive, Bob Mansfield, Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi will add more responsibilities to their roles. Apple also announced that Scott Forstall will be leaving Apple next year and will serve as an advisor to CEO Tim Cook in the interim.

“We are in one of the most prolific periods of innovation and new products in Apple’s history,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “The amazing products that we’ve introduced in September and October, iPhone 5, iOS 6, iPad mini, iPad, iMac, MacBook Pro, iPod touch, iPod nano and many of our applications, could only have been created at Apple and are the direct result of our relentless focus on tightly integrating world-class hardware, software and services.”

Jony Ive will provide leadership and direction for Human Interface (HI) across the company in addition to his role as the leader of Industrial Design. His incredible design aesthetic has been the driving force behind the look and feel of Apple’s products for more than a decade.

Eddy Cue will take on the additional responsibility of Siri® and Maps, placing all of our online services in one group. This organization has overseen major successes such as the iTunes Store®, the App Store?, the iBookstore? and iCloud®. This group has an excellent track record of building and strengthening Apple’s online services to meet and exceed the high expectations of our customers.

Craig Federighi will lead both iOS and OS X®. Apple has the most advanced mobile and desktop operating systems, and this move brings together the OS teams to make it even easier to deliver the best technology and user experience innovations to both platforms.

Bob Mansfield will lead a new group, Technologies, which combines all of Apple’s wireless teams across the company in one organization, fostering innovation in this area at an even higher level. This organization will also include the semiconductor teams, who have ambitious plans for the future.

Additionally, John Browett is leaving Apple. A search for a new head of Retail is underway and in the interim, the Retail team will report directly to Tim Cook. Apple’s Retail organization has an incredibly strong network of leaders at the store and regional level who will continue the excellent work that has been done over the past decade to revolutionize retailing with unique, innovative services for customers.

Image Credit: deeroski

Andrew is a geek, Apple enthusiast, blogger and coffee lover from Chicago.