Is Scott Forstall’s departure a good thing? [Editorial]

Losing your job sucks. That being said, I’m only 17, and thankfully, it’s a heartache I’ve yet to experience. With that in mind,  I’d best make this article really good, just in-case…

Yesterday,  we learned that Apple’s (former) SVP of iOS, Scott Forstall, would be leaving the company in 2013. He would also be leaving his current post immediately, spending the rest of his Cupertino days serving as an advisor to Tim Cook. The announcement rocked the tech world, our very own Cam Bunton was hugely shocked by the news, and I’m sure his sympathies are heartfelt by many others.

According to a report from WSJ, Forstall was asked to leave because he refused to sign his name on the letter of apology to Apple’s customers following the “Maps-gate” incident. According to sources close, the tension had been brewing for some time, and Forstall’s departure was a culmination of a deeper rift in the company, the apology letter appears to have been the final straw.

To fill in the fairly large void left by Forstall, Apple has announced that Sir Jony Ive will be adding to his responsibilities; the management of Human Interface, whilst Eddy Cue will take on Siri and Maps, this means he now has control of all Apple’s online services. Craig Federighi will oversee iOS and OS X in a bid to bring the two closer together.

In an email briefing Apple staff on the changes, Tim Cook said this:

We are in one of the most prolific periods of innovation and new products in Apple’s history.

When it comes to products like the Mac, iMac, and iPad, I’m 100% supportive of this statement. But when it comes to iOS, I’m less inclined to agree. In my opinion, iOS’s period of “prolific innovation”, is just about to begin.

Sir Jony Ive, is a genius. Since joining Apple in 1992, Ive has produced some of the most astonishing product designs ever. My personal favorite? The Aluminum Macbook Pro. However, that’s just one product in a tremendous line of stunning devices that have sprung from this man’s great mind, the iMac, the iPod, the iPod nano, the iPhone, the iPad, the list goes on. The talent Jony Ive possesses for innovative, practical and aesthetically pleasing design is endless, and now he’s head of Human Interface…

So beautiful…

The ousted Forstall was famed for his skeuomorphic side, the iOS Calendar, Notes and Game Center, are all his fault. This skeumorphism led to iOS becoming somewhat fractured aesthetically. Whilst the apps weren’t intrinsically bad to look at, none of them seemed to fit in with each other.

I’d expect this kind of variation to be drawn from six different operating systems, not one…

Sure, when you look at your compass, it’s kind of cool to pretend that you’re suddenly skipper of HMS Victory, but there’s no uniformity, no constant. If I had to describe the varied design of iOS in one word it would be “wrong”. iOS is packed with fantastic feature, practical apps and innovative ideas, but it just doesn’t look as attractive as it once was. And that brings me to another point… As it once was…

This is the original iOS, or iPhone OS as it was named back then.

iPhone (Original)

Then came the 2.0 and 3.0

Then iOS 4…

Then iOS 5..

And now?

I think it’s safe to say that Scott Forstall used his photocopier quite a lot. Sure, the iOS user interface works well, it’s simple, clever and practical. But come on, it’s been 5 years guys. Every time a new version of iOS has been released, more potential customers have looked, looked again, shrugged their shoulders, and then bought an Android phone. If iOS 7 follows suit, then believe me, I’ll be first out the door. Perhaps more controversially, I’ll go Windows.

Aesthetically, iOS has been lagging behind for some time now, and whilst I have no doubt that iOS 7 will bring with a host of new brilliant features, I am genuinely scared that if it looks anything like iOS 6, the repercussions for Apple could be pretty severe. I wish Scott Forstall all the best for the future. But for iOS? It’s time for a fresh design, and there’s no better man for the job, than Sir Jony Ive.








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  • tadarida356

    I agree with you. Even thought the interface now is practical and simple I think its time for something new. Maybe we will get that if Scott is gone.

  • MarkJones

    Of course it’s not good, this guy was the best.

  • Ninjamooman

    I completely agree with this article. Although, I will so, until ICS for Android came out, I was pretty content with just a jailbroken iOS. Granted, jailbroken iOS is what I have currently, and I don’t see it getting boring due to innovation in the jailbreak community. iOS is really in desperate need of some UI changes. I mean, I could count the total number of changes in the UI on my fingers.
    And by the way, major props for being a 17 year old writer on a tech site like this. I’m 16 and, man, you are a pro.

  • IzzyFintz

    I wish I could dial a number from a contact in the the notes section
    I keep additional numbers in the note action and I hate to copy n paste
    Also I put PDF attachments in contact and calendar notes section and you can’t see or open them.

  • IzzyFintz

    If they can add a group function to the quick dial list
    Example I want a family list a work list
    And poker buddy list in the wick dial

  • Jay mac

    The problem with wanting new is that Apple doesn’t make its products for the tech savy individual. They make them for the mass market. That Samsung Galaxy S III commercial isn’t far off in the scene when the two guy’s parents come to claim their spot in line. It’s a phone for everyone, not the select few. I purposely got my mom an iPhone cause I knew it was the easiest phone on the market to use. It just works. If they change what the mass market has been used to for all these years, that could hurt them. That could get the mass majority of their sales to either not buy the new device, not upgrade the software or even force them to look at other ‘simpler’ options. 
    it’s almost like they need two versions of iOS. Like iOS Classic, and like….iOSX or something. iClassic can be just what we’ve had. Pretty picture boxes on a pretty screen that you tap and takes you into a pretty app. when you’re done, tap the home button, back to pretty screen. All done. While iOSX could have the ability to use widgets if someone wanted to. To have a BiteSMS quick reply feature or arrange and put the icons any where on the screen and not just like ducks all in a row. It would be more geek/tech centric than the “classic”. WOuld it be more work? Yea. Maybe a little confusing? Possibly. BUt it seems like a small price to pay for something that’s needed an overhaul since iOS 4

  • Bryan Winters

    I’ve is brilliant as an industrial designer. His new role will either be a Godsend or a curse. A redesign of the IOS is like walking a tightrope. IOS has prided itself on being so simple to use that any drastic changes may upset the bulk of IOS users. ONCE AGAIN, Apple has backed itself in a corner because instead of moving forward they’ve stuck to the status quo, on the grounds that IOS is prefect. They haven’t been listening to the grumblings amongst IOS users: “IOS is getting boring…”