Fue Scott Forstall one of the big names in Apple until the beginning of the last decade. The great promoter of skeuomorphism which dominated iOS until its sixth version – and Mac OS X until similar dates – came to Apple with the return of Jobs in 1997. Five years earlier, he had joined it at NeXT.
His first big step at Apple was in the year 2000, when Mac OS X was announced, and with it, the Aqua interface that Forstall had developed. This aquatic aesthetic, with translucent highlights and imagery, earned him stripes and three years later he was promoted to Executive Vice President (SVP). He wasn’t even 35.
Its next big Apple milestone came with the launch of the original iPhone. Early in its development phase, Jobs was torn between whether the right approach for an Apple mobile phone was to expand the iPod or miniaturize the Mac. Fadell led the first, Forstall the second. This last idea won.
When Jobs announced iPhone features during the presentation, he talked about “Mac OS X in a mobile device.” Until 2010, they didn’t talk about “iOS” as such. A decision which made it possible to open it up to external developers and which was once again a victory for Forstall.
In 2012, he was already a regular face at Apple presentations (he was even the one who introduced Siri to the world at the iPhone 4S event, in Jobs’ absence), and that year saw the launch of Apple. ‘iOS 6, the latest operating system for iPhone and iPad that led the skeuomorphism at most. It didn’t go well.
Although the combination of iOS 6 and an iPhone 5 made for a great experience, there were too many asterisks on this version. First, the design of the watch was a copy of the one used by the Swiss Federal Railways, and Apple hadn’t asked for any permission to use that design, so it ended up having to pay $21 million for it. .
However, nothing was as destructive to Forstall’s reputation as the bumpy arrival of the first version of Apple Maps. While the examples chosen during his presentation, such as a spectacular Golden Gate or a three-dimensional Big Ben, were promising, the display was bitter, full of inaccuracies, misinformation and dangerous indications.
The very low density of information compared to Google Maps ended up being the least of the problems. Quite simply, Apple Maps was an unfinished product put into the hands of users. It became a meme.
Forty days after launch, Apple announced in a statement that Forstall would be leaving Apple a few months later. His duties were divided between Jony Ive, Craig Federighi, Eddy Cue and Bob Mansfield, who had already planned his retirement.
Although Apple and Forstall never commented on his departure from the company, anonymous comments and press leaks pointed to a dismissal. With two primary keys:
- Jony Ive. He confronted Forstall on the skeuomorphism. And he ended up winning that battle. Their fight began in 2010, when the industrial design of the iPhone 4 caused the antenna door.
- Tim Cook. Forstall rose through the ranks with Jobs, had a very similar view of technology, a personality often described as complicated, and even drove the same model of car. When Jobs died and Cook took over, the new CEO wanted to establish a more harmonious environment, and a personality like Forstall’s was not suitable for that. Despite the fact that before Jobs died, he was considered one of the candidates to succeed him.
Add to that the launch of Apple Maps and the aforementioned Swiss watch dispute.
life after the apple
Unlike other Apple executives, who were in their 60s when they left the company, Forstall left at the age of 43. However, news of her figure came in drops, as decided to lay lowbarely giving interviews or making major public appearances.
Less than a year after leaving Infinite Loop, speculation began that Forstall could become CEO of Microsoft, right after Ballmer’s retirement. We’ll never know what would have happened in that scenario, but Microsoft didn’t fare too badly with Nadella.
In 2015, he co-produced fun house, a critically acclaimed Broadway musical that was self-reported in your Twitter profile, where he is not too lavish: he publishes an average of three tweets a year. in the news of The Wall Street Journal they had referred to him as a theater lover for decades. And in fact, in a play in high school, he met his wife.
Also on those dates, it became known that he started working as a Snapchat advisor in exchange for 0.11% of his shares. Soon after, he co-produced another Broadway musical, Eclipsed. Forstall himself noted that it was the first to feature an all-female creative team and cast.
Just five years after his departure from Apple in 2017, and perhaps coinciding with the end of a confidentiality agreement, he gives his first interview in which he talks at length about Apple, without getting too involved. He explained how the team was immune to the criticism the original iPhone received or how it was decided that the iPhone could not carry style some.
In 2019, he gave another interview to philosophy speech hundred minutes where he talked about his time at Apple, his relationship with Steve Jobs, the company’s creative environment or the stories behind the creations of the iPod nano (cancelling the iPod mini range just before) or the first AppleTV.
In Forstall’s Twitter bio only the four words with which he publicly defines himself appear: “Entrepreneur. Philanthropist. Inventor. Producer ». And it continues without ease for public appearances, to the point that at the beginning of 2021, in the midst of legal proceedings between Epic and Apple, the video game company wanted to locate Forstall with some haste due to the maximum time for get him to testify… and couldn’t contact him.