Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Apple Fallout.

Apple has announced big changes in top management. These changes may foreshadow a turn in the Apple look and the company's fortunes.

Scott Forstall, head of its iOS software team, and head of retail John Browett, former chief of Dixons, are leaving the company. 

Commentators link the changes to the embarrassing fiasco over Apple maps and to sloder than expected growth in sales. 

Jonathan Ive, who heads Apple's hardware design, will also direct the human interface software team. Apparently this means that it is his tastes that will imprint on both the physical shape of Apple's products and the look of icons and how they behave.

The departure of Scott Forstall is most curious (he will be staying as an adviser until next year.) The BBC technology correspondent describes the differences between Forstall and Ive:

[Forstall has] been described as a polarising figure within the company, and his "skeuomorphic"* design ethic - which involved software resembling real-world items such as calendars with torn paper and stitching - was at odds with Jony Ive's more Spartan visions.
Does it mean we are going to see more patented rounded rectangles? A UK court has recently ruled in favour of Samsung, who Apple accused of copycatting their designs. Simple is beautiful but also vulnerable to imitations.
He [Forstall]had been described as Apple's CEO-in-waiting and "mini-Steve", the BBC correspondent writes. Now Scott Forstall faces becoming a footnote in Apple's history. The iOS software chief had worked alongside the firm's late founder Steve Jobs at Next before Apple bought the firm.
His app-based system has been credited as a major factor in turning round the company's fortunes to the point where the iPhone and iPad now account for most of the firm's profits.
Steve Jobs only secured his legacy after a period in the tech industry's wilderness. Mr Forstall's own legacy will depend on whether he can repeat the trick.

*skeuomorph /ˈskjuːəmɔrf/ [skyoo-uh-mawrf], or skeuomorphism is a design element of a product that imitates design elements functionally necessary in the original product design, but which have become ornamental in the new design. The purpose is the reassure or attract people with an old-fashioned familiarity.

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