Scott Forstall: The "mini-Steve" behind iOS for iPhone and iPad

Scott Forstall, the man in charge of Apple's Mobile Software Division and head of the iOS development team, was profiled by Bloomberg Businessweek, and they revealed a number of bits (facts or gossip, hard to tell) into how Forstall is an integral part of Apple's executive team.

Forstall is described as a "mini-Steve" who obsesses over the little details that make Apple products great and knows when to say 'No' when needed. But the similarities to Steve don't stop there.

Forstall is like Steve in one other important way: He can be, in what some of his co-workers might call an understatement, a polarizing figure. He’s won the intense loyalty and allegiance of many of his underlings, and his engineers are among the hardest workers at the company. At the same time, according to several former Apple employees, a number of high-ranking executives have left the company because they found working with Forstall so difficult [...] They say he has such a fraught relationship with other members of the executive team—including lead designer Jony Ive and Mac hardware chief Bob Mansfield—that they avoid meetings with him unless Tim Cook is present.

Despite some of these alleged relationship issues, Scott Forstall is considered to be the father of OS X Leopard, the Aqua interface, the App Store and the general principles of the iOS software that's installed on every iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. This has commanded a certain level of respect among Apple employees and is something of a feat for the 42-year-old (the youngest of the Apple executive team).

Forstall is also said to have been extremely close to Steve Jobs, one of his biggest mentors.

Forstall’s most recent triumphs are likely bittersweet. Over the last few years he watched as his biggest champion and mentor slowly lost an agonizing personal battle, all while products running his software have helped make Apple the most valuable company in the world. Apple has sold more than a quarter billion devices running Forstall’s iOS.

Interestingly, Forstall was the one who convinced Jobs to let engineers carry prototype iPhone units outside of the Apple campus for testing purposes, which ultimately led to the lost iPhone 4 debacle.

Before the iPhone 4 went to market, Forstall persuaded Jobs to allow dozens of his engineers to carry prototypes of the device to better test its network performance and minimize dropped calls, says a former Apple employee who was a manager at the time.

All in all, the profile on Scott Forstall is an amazing read and we'd suggest giving it a once-over to get an overall picture of how he's helped Apple succeed in the mobile software industry.

Source: BusinessWeek

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Andrew Wray

Andrew Wray is a Salt Lake City, Utah based writer who focuses on news, how-tos, and jailbreak. Andrew also enjoys running, spending time with his daughter, and jamming out on his guitar. He works in a management position for Unisys Technical Services, a subsidiary of Unisys Corporation.

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Reader comments

Scott Forstall: The "mini-Steve" behind iOS for iPhone and iPad


I'll raise a glass to Forstall! Maybe he should be running Apple. They need another a$$hole in charge over there. And believe me when I say that I mean that in the best way possible. Steve Jobs was a personal hero of mine. A visionary, a passionate man, and an a$$hole about the details! Every company needs an a$$hole in charge making sure that his people aren't coasting along and that his customers get what they pay for! I think Forstall is ours (Apple's)! I don't know if Tim Cook has the ba!!s.

Honestly, I can see this. Forstall has that "Steve-like" salesmen quality to him as well. While I don't always believe he's as excited to use the stuff as Steve was, he comes across FAR more believable and ernest than Phil "the yes man" Schiller

considering that he cashed in about $40 million in stock options over the last decade, I say he's doing pretty well.

Dude's on an intensity IV in those wide eyed. He's a standing-over-your-bed-at-night-staring-at-you, kind of creepy.

A hard working, brilliant, a-hole.
Sounds like Jobs.
Sounds, in fact, like most people who make it to the tip tops of their professions.

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