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Scott Fostall’s departure from Apple could lead to shift in Apple’s software design

Scott Forstall effectively left Apple about a week back when he stepped down from his post as Apple’s Senior Vice President of iOS Software in allegedly acrimonious circumstances. There have been widespread reports about murmurs coming in from within Apple that Forstall was a divisive figure within Apple whose presence at Apple was a constant cause of strife ever since Steve Jobs stepped down as Apple CEO, and Tim Cook took over his mantle.

 

 

 

A number of sources indicate that Scott Forstall divided the design team on his insistence on sticking with the principles of something called ‘skeumorphic design’. This is essentially a term used to describe a software imitation of real world materials, especially older ones. Some common examples of this would be the brass rivets used in jeans all over the world, the brown paper around cigarette filters made to appear like cork, and even the ‘Save’ icon within most applications being a floppy disk, despite them becoming obsolete now.

Forstall used to insist on using faux leather/felt finishes to add a sense of visual flourish to several Apple apps, such as the Calendar and Game Center apps. This was often heavily criticized as it completely went against Apple’s otherwise simplistic design. Indeed, it is telling that one of the two people effectively replacing Forstall’s responsibilities happens to be Sir Jonathan Ive – the poster boy of Apple’s trademark simple and classy design.

As the head of ‘Human Interface’ team, NYT claims that Sir Ive will bring in the austere design of iDevices to the software of Apple products, and do away with Forstall’s divisive and criticized visual flourishes in iOS altogether. This should be quite a relief for the hordes of people who found the skeumorphic designs in iOS an eyesore.

 

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