Forstall out at Apple, Ive takes over interface design

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Jonathan Ive

Jonathan Ive

Big changes were announced in Apple’s corporate structure: Scott Forstall, senior vice president of iOS Software, is leaving the company next year and “will serve as an advisor to CEO Tim Cook in the interim.” Jony Ive, senior vice president of industrial design, will take over the Human Interface design of iOS.

As John Gruber points out on the always-insightful Daring Fireball, it’s hard to read this as anything other than Forstall being forced out. The headline of the press release doesn’t mention his “retirement,” but is instead titled: “Apple Announces Changes to Increase Collaboration Across Hardware, Software & Services.” Forstall’s change in position, from Senior VP to “advisor” until he leaves, is the only time he’s mentioned in the whole thing, and he’s been with Apple since Jobs came back. Heck, he came with Jobs and helped develop OS X and iOS.

The release divvies up Forstall responsibilities between Jony Ive, Bob Mansfield, Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi, you can read it on the Apple website. Beyond the fact that Ive is now responsible for the design of hardware and software, the notable thing is that Bob Mansfield, who was supposed to retire, then wasn’t, is now in charge of “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.”

Gruber points out that there was a rumored riff within Apple between Forstall, who liked skeuomorphic design (making digital objects look like real-world objects: for example, iCal’s stitched leather look), and Ive, who did not. If true, the Ive camp clearly won out.

Also of note, head of retail John Browett is leaving the company. There is, likewise, no words of praise for him; he was hired in January from Dixon’s, a UK electronics chain.

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