The Purging Of Scott Forstall From Apple

Apple has a new version of its iPhone operating system. Basically every element from former SVP Scott Forstall is gone. posted on

Beck Diefenbach / Reuters

There’s a new, basically completely redesigned version of Apple’s iPhone operating system coming out later this year that the company unveiled today.

And with the redesign, Apple has essentially purged the last remnants of Scott Forstall, the previous iPhone head, from the iPhone operating system. Forstall was known for incorporating “skeumorphism” into parts of the iPhone operating system — such as the kind of cloth-looking background and green felt on the Game Center app.

Apple hasn’t been shy about its purging of Forstall’s traces in iOS, either. “We ran out of green felt,” SVP Craig Federighi said at the event today.

Indeed, today was Federighi’s show, as it was Jony Ive’s, Apple’s design head. The new iPhone operating system is essentially the result of a new, “flat” approach to designing apps after a major reorganization put the operating system under the purview of Ive. It also led to the ouster of Forstall.

Apple has made it pretty clear that it is quite excited about the change. Gone in this operating system are the old pinboard-kind of look in parts of the screen, in favor of clear backgrounds and thinner fonts. The new iPhone operating system has a much more dynamic look to it. Siri no longer has a cloth background.

“No cows were harmed in the making of this,” Federighi even said as he opened the calendar app on the new Mac operating system. It was a jab at the kind of weirdly designed calendar app found in the most recent version of Mac Mountain Lion. (There is even a bit of torn paper penciled in at the top of the calendar app, for whatever reason.)

John Gruber at Daring Fireball has a good way of describing the change: “The primary problem Apple faced with the iPhone in 2007 was building familiarity with a new way of using computers. That problem has now been solved. It is time to solve new problems.”

Apple found it useful to have components of the operating system that looked a lot like their real-world counterparts when everyone didn’t have a smartphone or know how to use it. That’s changed, Forstall is out, and the traces of skeumorphism are now gone.

Stephen Lam / Reuters

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