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Scott Forstall gave devs a month to work on anything after OS X releases. The result was Apple TV

Scott Forstall
Scott Forstall (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • Scott Forstall used to run Apple's software teams.
  • He used to give developers a month off after shipping big updates.
  • In an interview he said the Apple TV was invented during one of those months.

Former Apple exec Scott Forstall is still fondly remembered by many despite his love of skeuomorphic design. He's been on the outside of Apple since 2012 – since that whole Apple Maps thing happened – and now he's a broadway producer. As part of that role he gave an inteview that found its way onto YouTube back in January. As part of that interview he says that the Apple TV interface was designed because he gave developers a month off after shipping a Mac OS X update – although there's some debate about that on Reddit.

The story goes that Forstall used to give Mac OS X developers a month to work on whatever they wanted as soon as they'd wrapped up work on a new release. During that time someone came up with a "10ft user interface" that was eventually turned into Apple TV.

This isn't a new video and the interview is from a year ago. But a Reddit user pointed this particular part of it out yesterday and I found it interesting for a couple of reasons.

First, I kinda miss Scott Forstall. Apple seemed to have more of that infmaous whimsy back in the day. And second, can you imagine Apple giving developers a month off nowadays?

Maybe it does. It might explain some of the recent software issues we've been dealing with!

Oliver Haslam
Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.