Opinion: Massive Changes In Apple Execs Will Translate To Big Changes In Software

In a significant restructuring of top-tier management, Apple yesterday announced that Senior Vice President of iOS Software, Scott Forstall, and Senior Vice President of Retail, John Browett would be leaving the company. Forstall originally started with Apple directly when it purchased NeXT in 1997, and Browett was there for a less-than-glamorous tender of less than six months.  The implications of these guys leaving are, particularly in Forstall’s case, obviously huge.

The biggest impacts will come as new division heads move into place. Eddy Cue is now in charge of Siri and Maps, two areas of iOS which are essentially in beta at the moment, and will require a significant amount of work in order to bring them up to the standards that are normally associated with Apple products. In addition, Craig Federighi is now head of iOS development and will likely seek to put his own stamp on the flagship mobile software. Bob Mansfield, who earlier in the year was looking to retire, is staying with the company for another two years to lead the Technologies group, responsible for all wireless teams in Apple.

Perhaps the biggest change that could affect the end user of Apple products is the fact that Jony Ive will now take over the directorship for Human Interface teams in Apple, as well as retaining his position as Senior Vice President of Industrial Design. The man responsible for designing some of the most significant and recognizable consumer electronic devices in the past decade will now have a degree of control over how people interact with those devices at a software level, which could translate to some substantial changes to the core OS design in upcoming versions of iOS and OS X.

Smaller changes could mean that we will likely see the removal of most, if not all, skeuomorphic design traits in Apple software, an area over which Forstall and Ive famously did not see eye to eye. What this could translate to, is interfaces that look less like a faux stitched leather book over to more modern designs that are clean, sharp and consistent with the technology they represent.



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  • pjs_boston

    One thing that repeatedly blows my mind is how internet memes refuse to ever die.

    Yes, SIRI had issues when it was first released in beta form, those issues being occasional downtime and intermittent sluggishness.

    However, with iOS 6 and, importantly, the release of the LTE iPhone 5, SIRI has blossomed into a terrific service. Seriously, has the author used SIRI in the last six months?

    Now I realize that it is fashionable to pile on SIRI and Apple Maps (which isn’t one tenth as bad as bloggers portray it to be). And, I realize that such piling on gets page views. But, seriously, is it too much to ask that people in the information business actually disseminate accurate, up to date information?

    • http://www.applebitch.com AppleBitch

      Erm…are you reading a different article or smoking something? Siri IS still in beta, and there is no ripping on either it, or Maps in this article or indeed any article we’ve published.

      See http://www.applebitch.com/2012/09/20/an-opinion-on-apples-new-maps-app/ for a balanced opinion.

      • pjs_boston

        “Eddy Cue is now in charge of Siri and Maps, two areas of iOS which are essentially in beta at the moment, and will require a significant amount of work in order to bring them up to the standards that are normally associated with Apple products.”

        SIRI and maps are in far better shape than this sentence would indicate. Implicit in this article is the idea that these two products are somehow not ready for prime time in their current incarnations.

        To that I say: “bulls**t”. I use both of these features on a daily basis and not only are they functional, they are actually a delight to use.

        My problem isn’t that this article is openly bashing these products, but that it is tacitly perpetuating the fashionable meme that SIRI and Apple Maps are bad products which are somehow below Apple’s standards and not competitive with their counterparts on other platforms. This is simply not true.

        • http://www.applebitch.com AppleBitch

          I understand where you are coming from, but I think we’ll have to disagree on this. Siri is indeed a cool feature, but Apple describes it as still being in beta and I think this reflects that improvements still need to be made, particularly in the context of supporting countries other than the US. Maps has resulted in an apology from the Apple CEO and while I too think the tempest surrounding the app is a little overstated, the app itself does need a significant amount of improvement, and this has been repeatedly acknowledged.

          You are interpreting ‘the need for improvement’ as encouraging people to think that they are bad products which is a misrepresentation of the intent, and is certainly not reflected in the wording chosen to describe how the apps and features are viewed. I also think the iPhone needs improved battery life through novel technologies, but in no way am I saying it’s a bad product, nor will I in the future.

          Appreciate your commentary though, so please continue the positivity. Love hearing good things.

          • pjs_boston

            While your track record is not one of Apple bashing, the blogosphere has gone berserk with this cooked up idea that SIRI Apple Maps are useless garbage.

            My point here is not to bash you for it, just to express my frustration with the disingenuous piling-on related to the issue.

            I remain a loyal reader of your site.