Before the new year, it was announced that Apple stalwart Scott Forstall would be leaving the company. Apple fanboys and tech industry enthusiast gobbled this news up, generally with glee. Forstall was rumored to be an a$$hole. After the passing of Steve Jobs, Forstall surely filled a vacuum at Apple, with what is reported to be a large, often abrasive personality. New CEO Tim Cook is also reported to be abrasive at times, yet also Zen-like. (“Jobs-ian”?)
Forstall on the other hand, has a reputation for simply being a dick.
Forstall’s departure was met with applause from Apple fanboys and tech columnists, who frankly, seem to enjoy thrusting soap opera drama upon every bit of tech industry news. High level hirings and firings are always good fodder.
But all you Forstall-hating Apple fanboys should be careful what you wish for.
Would you trade all that for skeuomorphic leather and felt? You bet you would. Just like Lakers fans wouldn’t trade Shaq‘s missed free throws for that threepeat.
Scott Forstall may have been a dick, but his role in the stunning rise of Apple from the late 90’s right up to 2013 cannot be denied.
He brought Apple into the age of OS X. He was able to whittle OS X into iOS. This is huge stuff. Apple may have been out of business a decade ago had it not been for a successful transition to OS X.
Seriously, think about it.
And no OS X = no iOS.
No iOS = no iPhone as we know it, or no iPhone at all.
Apple is currently on the cusp of a new era. OS X as run it’s course. What’s next?
Everyone is enthralled with Jony Ive. He’s been given way more control at Apple. It’s as if Steve Jobs’ role has been split up and assigned to two different people. Tim Cook is the nuts and bolts “business” guy. Jonny Ive is the “design” guy.
Ive’s hardware design is impeccable. It is the heart and soul of the physical appearance of Apple’s products.
But can Jony Ive create, or at least guide the creation of a next generation user interface?
Forstall may have been a stubborn dick by many reports. But his contributions to Apple are major. In fact, they are beyond major. His contributions and achievements are at the center of Apple’s success over the past decade. OS X and iOS are the shining diamonds of the tech world. They are solid, smooth user interface experiences that drive the success of Apple devices. Without OS X there would be no Windows 7 or Windows 8. Without iOS there would be no Android.
Frankly, when it comes to stability and ease-of-use, no operating systems, desktop, or mobile, come close to OS X and iOS.
Why in the world are Apple fanboys celebrating Scott Forstall’s departure? It is almost as cataclysmic as the passing of Steve Jobs.
I’m not saying Apple will fail. I’m not saying Jony Ive and Tim Cook and everyone else at Apple won’t rise to the occasion.
But Forstall left his mark, and his departure, without a doubt, creates a vacuum.
As a tech junky, watching Apple over the next year will be as intriguing as watching Apple during their first year without Steve Jobs.
Apple is still blazing a trail that others follow. And another one of their giants is gone.