Apple Announces Major Leadership Changes

Apple PR:

Apple® today announced executive management changes that will encourage even more collaboration between the Company’s world-class hardware, software and services teams. As part of these changes, Jony Ive, Bob Mansfield, Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi will add more responsibilities to their roles. Apple also announced that Scott Forstall will be leaving Apple next year and will serve as an advisor to CEO Tim Cook in the interim.

...Additionally, John Browett is leaving Apple.

In essence, Scott Forstall appears to have been forced out amidst the ongoing Apple Maps controversy. Looped into this appears to be some lingering teething issues over Siri. Responsibility for both have been transfered to Eddy Cue whose "group has an excellent track record of building and strengthening Apple’s online services to meet and exceed the high expectations of our customers."

For Browett, well, no one has ever had an entirely positive feeling about his presence at Apple, particularly given his ill-fitting background with Dixons in the UK. More recently, the situation boiled over as Browett reportedly instigated mass lay-offs across the company's retail chains. Apple and Browett were then forced into misinformation and apologies.

In terms of people remaining with the company, it would appear that the long-standing internal rift over skeuomorphic design has been decided in Jony Ive's favor. Last month, Austin Carr wrote:

Inside Apple, tension has brewed for years over the issue. Apple iOS SVP Scott Forstall is said to push for skeuomorphic design, while industrial designer Jony Ive and other Apple higher-ups are said to oppose the direction.

With Forstall out and Ive installed as head of Human Interfaces, we may well be in for a shift in the software design tendencies from Apple.

Moreover, with a collaboration between Ive and Federighi, we may well see some acceleration in the development of iOS which, as Ryan Block writes, has been accused of developmental stagnation of late. Federighi is known for his aggressive schedule for OS X — a formula which appears to be working for the company — and with control over iOS, perhaps he can quicken the pace and volume of innovation.

Thus, in essence, the reorganization seems to point toward an increased level of efficiency and stability within the company. Cook has shed members culpable for negative press and has placed troublesome elements of the company into more experienced hands.

Given the wide-open window in early 2013 and the expectation of an announcement of the successor to OS X 10.8, perhaps we might see the results of these newfound responsibilities sooner rather than later.