Apple announces departure of SVP of iOS, Scott Forstall and SVP of retail, John Browett

Apple announced today that Scott Forstall, senior vice-president of iOS, and John Browett, recent SVP of retail, are leaving the company. Forstall, who came to Apple from NeXT when Steve Jobs returned to the company, will stay on until next year as an advisor to Tim Cook. John Browett sounds like he's leaving far more immediately. Jony Ive, Eddy Cue, Craig Federighi, and Bob Manfield will be divvying up a lot of their duties. Apple's CEO, Tim Cook, said in the press release (opens in new tab):

We are in one of the most prolific periods of innovation and new products in Apple’s history. The amazing products that we’ve introduced in September and October, iPhone 5, iOS 6, iPad mini, iPad, iMac, MacBook Pro, iPod touch, iPod nano and many of our applications, could only have been created at Apple and are the direct result of our relentless focus on tightly integrating world-class hardware, software and services.

While it's impossible to separate fact from fiction from simple politicking, Forstall had reportedly been a strong personality at Apple, and was rumored to have been butting heads with Jony Ive, among others, over the direction of Apple design. He was also in charge of the troubled launches of both Siri, which suffered repeated network and reliability problems, and iOS 6 maps, whose geographical data issues turned into a public relations problem for Apple. The press release certainly reads more as a welcome for Ive in his new roll than anything resembling a grateful farewell to Forstall for his work to date.

Jony Ive, longtime SVP of Industrial Design, will take over Human Interface across Apple.

His incredible design aesthetic has been the driving force behind the look and feel of Apple’s products for more than a decade.

Eddy Cue, promoted to SVP of Internet and Services following the ill-fated MobileMe launch, which take on Siri and Maps.

This organization has overseen major successes such as the iTunes Store, the App Store, the iBookstore and iCloud. This group has an excellent track record of building and strengthening Apple’s online services to meet and exceed the high expectations of our customers.

Craig Federighi, who took over OS X following the departure of Bertrand Serlet, will also take on iOS.

Apple has the most advanced mobile and desktop operating systems, and this move brings together the OS teams to make it even easier to deliver the best technology and user experience innovations to both platforms.

Bob Mansfield, who left his post as SVP of Hardware Engineering, only to return as SVP of [nothing specified] will now lead a new group called Technologies.

[Technologies combines] all of Apple’s wireless teams across the company in one organization, fostering innovation in this area at an even higher level. This organization will also include the semiconductor teams, who have ambitious plans for the future.

Apple will conduct a search to replace Browett as the head of retail. Browett was the subject of controversy recently when cuts to Apple store staff and rumored shifts in priority led to some embarrassing publicity and backpedaling.

[In] the interim, the Retail team will report directly to Tim Cook. Apple’s Retail organization has an incredibly strong network of leaders at the store and regional level who will continue the excellent work that has been done over the past decade to revolutionize retailing with unique, innovative services for customers.

Source: Apple PR (opens in new tab)

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • Any of this related to the Maps issue?
  • I doubt it. Maps is better than people give it credit for and Siri has gotten better.
  • I want to agree with you, but I live in LA off of the most used street in town and it can't find my address. It still has some major issues.
  • Well, Jack Welch - "If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near." Apple is NOT letting this happen. So, that's good news. Apple needs to spark a "next chapter", now that dominance in premium mobile products has just about run its course. They better not let the customer experience on the retail side suffer though. That is usually the beginning of the end. Ask CompUSA.
  • It's too bad. We do need a better maps app.
  • I can only hope this means some much needed UI updates for iOS but I doubt it.
  • Forstall would be gone because of the Maps and Siri issues and apparently he didn't get along with Ive and others. Browett isn't much of a concern because he was a new hire and he did a poor job handling the retail sector by reminding the poorly paid employees that they are poorly paid and overworked. I think the departures shortly after Tim Cook was appointed CEO were of more importance but this core group gaining more power within the company could be a bad sign. But that's something that won't become apparent for a few more years.
  • "........but this core group gaining more power within the company could be a bad sign." How so? They're a talented group.
  • They are talented but if these and the previous departures are due to anyone not fitting in with this group being shown the door it can lead to an echo chamber within the company where they don't accept being challenged. Combined with Apple's notoriously ineffective board members and you can end up with problems as the company faces challenges in the future. I'm not saying that this is the case but it could be a possibility and something to watch for. Why is Bob Mansfield back to heading a department after Apple announced his retirement? He's been another source of rumours suggesting that the engineers couldn't work with Dan Riccio and demanded that Mansfield be retained. Turnover is natural within companies but where are people going to find more opportunity than Apple?
  • @nod_scene - I think that's precisely what you can expect. With someone else signing off on the UI, we may see more risk and adventure in the iOS visual design language, which is my no means poor, but it is dated and in need of keeping with the pace of it's hardware evolution. This pretty much cements the end of skeuomorphism at Apple.
  • iOS doesn't necessarily need more risk or adventure. It needs more consistency.
  • Exactly... as does OSX and any cross-polination between the two. I know this has all been fairly new, but for Apple, it has been incredibly sloppy up until now IMO. It's like the various software teams weren't even talking to one another or looking across the isle at the other's apps at this point. They also seem to have forgotten what they spent years learning about UI at points. They need to pull together, so I see this as a good sign.
  • iOS is coming to a big fork in the road either it going to evolve and adapt a little and come out a new type of beast or stay the course of there own idealism and watching things continue to slide
  • With this management shake-up, I highly doubt it's going to stay the same. Otherwise what's the point.
  • Of all of the moves the best has to be Browett's Termination. This jack Arse disserved the boot long ago with the screwups in the retail that were not ever needed. As for the other moves I just hope this is a sign that they realize a change is needed. Looks like they might.
  • Amen!
  • I find it hard to believe Forstall left on his own free will. I thought he was pegged to be CEO after Tim Cook. I wonder if maybe in his drive to get to the top he lost sight of what his actual job was at Apple. Who knows. I'm just speculating, of course.
  • Good I'm glad forstall is leaving. He stirred the pot too much according to rumor, and didn't back his s**t up that he said obviously as Rene stated. As for the rest of the company, I believe everything's OK. Apple continues to be an EXCEPTIONAL company and continues to release innovative, quality products. They may not be as innovative as some of you critics like, but for me and millions of others -I am very satisfied with all of the apple devices and software and I actually like the look of the software and how it is similar to real world things. Android has that stale "file and systems" look if u know what I mean, not trying to knock android but just comparing it and how fun and easy the iOS and OS X interfaces are. I feel apple will keep doing big things for years to come. Those of u that say things like apple is slipping and who call innovative things like Siri a flop are completely wrong, for what Siri is it could've been a hell of a lot worse (go use Samsung galaxy S3 and play with "S" voice...) and I think Siri is maturing into a smart little assistant and she always gets what I say right. Some people will always hate on apple those are the same people who are always gonna say "don't conform man" and I think that's stupid if that's the only reason u jump on android or any other OS ... It should be about what works for you and don't knock apple just cause it works for most of the worlds' population.
  • As an investor I'm concerned. Too much turn over in Sr. management is bad for business for a winning company. The road ahead is going to get rougher for a while. 3 loosing quarters (not saying they lost money, but they're acting more like a normal company) could me a much lower share price. I think we might see AAPL back to $480 by this time next year.
  • So can Forstal and Browett officially be counted as casualties from Sandy?
  • This is bigger than Windows phone 8 release lol.
  • I smell 1985 all over again!
  • That one guy who bought a surface needs to stop tweeting so much! :P