Apple goes with minimalist vision
As Jony Ive worked on early iPhone designs before and since its 2007 introduction, he regularly held meetings in his design studio to get input from top Apple Inc. executives — except one: Scott Forstall.
Even as Forstall oversaw the group responsible for the software that would run the iPhone, he didn't participate in the meetings, according to people with knowledge of the matter who requested anonymity because the meetings were private. Ive and Forstall were rarely in same room, the people said.
Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook made a choice between the two men this week, forcing out Forstall and leaving Ive in charge of the look and function of the software running everything from the iPod Touch to the top-of-the-line Mac. Ive will be free to impart his minimalist aesthetic on familiar services such as the iPhone operating system while making commands more compatible from one product to the next. He will probably move away from using icons that look like real-world products, such as Post-It Notes and leather-bound contact books.
Still, with a background mainly in hardware, Ive could struggle to adapt to the demands of managing software interfaces, which are typically revamped once a year and undergo many smaller changes in between, said former colleagues such as Brett Halle.
“This makes a lot of sense, in terms of getting consistency of the user experience,” said Halle, a 21-year Apple veteran who worked on operating systems before his departure in March. “I'm concerned only as to whether he has enough experience to understand the complexity of the software side of this.”
Clashes between Forstall and other senior managers since co-founder Steve Jobs' death a year ago made it harder for teams to work together, threatening Apple's ability to keep producing the kinds of electronics that made it the most valuable company.
Jobs was able to keep the executives' long-simmering tension under control. Cook made the final decision to revamp management after Forstall refused to sign a public apology for the mishandling of mapping software, sources said.
Ive, 45, takes on the role Jobs held of setting Apple's design vision, with responsibility for a group within Apple called Human Interface, which had been run by Forstall before he was pushed out. Ive shares the attention to detail and perfectionistic zeal that characterized both Jobs and Forstall.
Yet he contrasts with Forstall in key ways. Forstall was a polished presenter who enjoyed the limelight at Apple keynotes. Ive made rare appearances, preferring instead to appear in videos about the making of the product of the day.
Forstall was also the most divisive member of Apple's executive team, people who worked with him told Bloomberg Businessweek last year.
Supporters admire Forstall's ability to manage massive technical complexity while pushing his team to innovate. Critics said he was overly concerned with empire building and pushing through favored features while blocking other teams' ideas. British-born Ive is known for his deliberate choice of words, and for crediting team members while minimizing his own role.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Housing prices nudge upward as more homes on market
- Penguins notebook: Bennett status remains fluid
- WVU notebook: Starting quarterback yet to be determined for regular-season finale
- Ferguson officer: ‘I know I did my job right’
- Steelers notebook: Defense tasked with stopping Graham
- Pirates star McCutchen marries in private ceremony
- MLB notebook: Free agent signees Sandoval, Ramirez eager to team up with Red Sox
- Brentwood police chief to get nearly $200K as part of settlement agreement with borough
- Pittsburgh man gets 2 life terms in slaying of Beaver Falls couple
- Surgery for man shot by Pittsburgh officer on hold amid legal limbo
- Fire destroys Armstrong County tavern