Analysts praise Apple's exec overhaul, see hints of future sea changes
Few downsides in the short-term from iOS dev chief's exit
Computerworld - Apple's executive shake-up earlier this week is a sign that design is the "tip of the spear" for the company, but the reorganization won't disrupt the firm's product delivery and may produce some groundbreaking moves, analysts predicted today.
On Monday, CEO Tim Cook said that Scott Forstall, who was a senior vice president in charge of iOS development, was leaving the company in 2013, and would serve as an advisor in the interim. Additionally, John Browett, who led Apple's retail efforts, was also out.
Forstall has been with Apple since 1997 -- and before that at NeXT, the computer and software company former CEO Steve Jobs started in 1985 after being forced out of the firm he co-founded. He was responsible for iOS, the mobile operating system that powers the two most-profitable lines in Apple's portfolio, the iPhone and iPad.
His departure received the lion's share of attention from bloggers, pundits and analysts.
"To me, this clearly shows that the tip of the spear is design," said Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, of Forstall's removal and the splitting of his responsibilities among three others.
Jony Ive, formerly head of industrial design, will now also control what Apple calls "Human Interface," the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) of software.
Craig Federighi, who only recently was promoted to lead OS X development, will now lead development of both that operating system as well as iOS. Meanwhile, Eddy Cue -- Apple's chief executive for its online and iTunes products, will assume responsibility of Siri and Maps, two oft-criticized projects Forestall handled.
"This is a doubling down on integrating hardware and software design," said Moorhead of Ive's new role. "There's now just one decision maker."
"[Steve Jobs] was the head product manager, the head designer, the head marketer," said Ezra Gottheil of Technology Business Research. "Ive is the perfect choice [as a replacement] on design. He may not be a software engineer, but that's actually an advantage. He will represent the user [in software design discussions], and will be able to say, 'The user must have this experience ... help me find a way to do that.'"
Others agreed, seeing Ive as the winner in the reshuffling who's been given enormous power by Tim Cook, a CEO who doesn't seem to be at all interested in the design side.
At the same time, the departure of Forstall -- most saw it as a firing, or claimed anonymous sources within Apple characterized it that way -- also shows Cook's hand. Cook has been CEO since August 2011, shortly before Jobs' death.
"This puts an exclamation point on Cook's decisiveness," said Moorhead. "This was not tentative. This is Tim Cook's company as of that call [to Forstall]. You can attribute the iPad Mini, the iPhone 5 to Jobs, but this is clearly Tim Cook."
What the changes won't do, analyst said, was change Apple's short-term plans or impact sales.
"For consumers, this doesn't really matter," said Carolina Milanesi, an analyst at Gartner. "They're not going to buy an iPad because of this."
"I don't think this much changes the cadence of releases," said Moorhead. "After all, it takes time to make any changes, it's going to take Ives time to make changes."
- Apple has bigger plans than just song ID with Shazam deal
- Mac Pro shortage sets record as worst Mac production debacle
- Apple slates WWDC for June 2-6, sets up ticket lottery
- Apple patches Safari's Pwn2Own vulnerability, two-dozen other critical bugs
- Microsoft's free OneNote vaults to top of Mac App Store chart
- Apple discounts iPhone 5C 8%-9% in five markets via storage cuts
- Apple hands stock worth $12.1M to top execs in retention deal
- Hands on: Apple's Mac Pro is the fastest Mac ever
- Apple CFO to retire in September after he cashes in $53M stock award
- Apple's CarPlay to spark mobile apps war in your car
- Path Selection Infographic Path Selection Infographic
- Hyperconvergence Infographic A wide range of observers agree that data centers are now entering an era of "hyperconvergence" that will raise network traffic levels faster...
- Preparing Your Infrastructure for the Hyperconvergence Era From cloud computing and virtualization to mobility and unified communications, an array of innovative technologies is transforming today's data centers.
- How WAN Optimization Helps Enterprises Reduce Costs If you wanted to break down innovation into a tidy equation, it might go something like this: Technology + Connectivity = Productivity. Productivity...
- Cloud Knowledge Vault Learn how your organization can benefit from the scalability, flexibility, and performance that the cloud offers through the short videos and other resources...
- LIVE EVENT: 5/7, The End of Data Protection As We Know It. Introducing a Next Generation Data Protection Architecture. Traditional backup is going away, but where does this leave end-users? All Macintosh White Papers | Webcasts
Our new weekly Consumerization of IT newsletter covers a wide range of trends including BYOD, smartphones, tablets, MDM, cloud, social and what it all means for IT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!