Behind the rhinestones and the keynotes, there is at Apple, as in any other company, debates, even dissensions. The new book After Steve reveals some of those skirmishes involving Scott Forstall, who played a major role in the iPhone’s success by leading iOS development from 2007 to 2012.
Scott Forstall, known for having a strong character, fell out with Jony Ive on two subjects. In 2010, a few months before the presentation of the iPhone 4, the head of iOS had a problem with the prototype that had been entrusted to him: he lost the network when he made phone calls.
Scott Forstall initially thought the problem was software and therefore his fault, but his team couldn’t find any errors in the system. the senior vice president realized then that the problem came from the design of the iPhone, the antennas being able to be covered by the hand. Enraged, he slammed the design of the iPhone during conversations with Steve Jobs and complained that this mistake had been hidden from his team. These criticisms bristled Jony Ive, the chief designer of the iPhone. The rest is known, this design error was noticed as soon as the iPhone 4 was available, giving rise to the “antenna gate”.
10 years of the iPhone 4: the antennagate captured on the spot
The other source of tension between Forstall and Ive was over the Apple Watch. The head of iOS was not thrilled with the project carried by the British designer. He worried that this wrist-strapped device would be a distraction for people, or even dangerous for drivers. He was not totally opposed to the project, but campaigned for a certain caution in the uses related to the watch. These reservations irritated Jony Ive, who already carried the Apple Watch in his heart.
At the same time, Scott Forstall was pushing a project around television. His idea was to create a system to bring together all the TV channels in one place, with recommendations based on the viewer’s preferences. It fell to Tim Cook to decide which project would take priority: Ive’s watch or Forstall’s television platform.
The head of iOS was finally fired at the end of 2012 following the catastrophic launch of Plans, the last straw overflowing a vase already full of failures and disagreements. Jony Ive inherited the role of iPhone UI lead, while Eddy Cue would wet the shirt with Siri and Maps. Scott Forstall’s television platform project was not thrown into oblivion, it is neither more nor less the Apple TV application today.