“In many ways, Forstall is a mini-Steve. He’s a hard-driving manager who obsesses over every detail. He has Jobs’s knack for translating technical, feature-set jargon into plain English. He’s known to have a taste for the Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG, in silver, the same car Jobs drove, and even has a signature on-stage costume: black shoes, jeans, and a black zippered sweater.”
The iPhone 5 is a more radical upgrade to the iPhone than iOS 6 is to iOS. Opinions on iOS becoming oldish abound. Before WWDC 2012, many had high hopes on seeing new and radical changes to the aging iDevice operating system. Today, not only iOS 6 is seen as a small step forward, many points their finger at failing initiatives like Siri and Maps. The latter being one of the most visible failure of Apple in a long time. How this came to be? Is it a problem of setting expectations to the right level or a more unforeseen one, like a leadership issue?
Last year, the Siri introduction was tagged as being a technology still in beta stages for a good reason. Because the technology was a work in progress, Apple had to set the expectations accordingly. This did not prevent many to criticize Siri performance but this bashing is nothing compared to this year Maps fiasco. There is two reasons for that. First, there was nothing compared to Siri in place on iOS so we couldn’t compare. In the case of Maps, we had Google’s version for years and we quickly found out how worst Apple’s version was. Second, when demoing Maps at WWDC 2012, it was like if it was the best of its class on every front: user experience, integration with other parts of the operating system, content and accuracy. Clearly, this was misleading and expectations wasn’t set at the right level.
But who is to blame? One might look at Apple iOS leadership, Scott Forstall. Is he too anxious to release technologies that are unfinished? Could Apple wait another year before kicking out Google Maps out of iOS and allow for a transition period? This would have been a bit awkward to offer two mapping solutions. The more I see this, the more I think this is a personal decision by Mr Forstall that was based on the desire to kick Google out as soon as possible first then put their mapping solution in the hand of millions of users to get a vast amount of feedback on the content. This is very risky and we see how hard Apple is feeling the heat.
Should Apple change iOS leadership in the wake of the Maps backlash from the users? It may be too soon to say but if I was Tim Cook, I would put Mr Forstall on notice.
To complete my point of view here, have a look at Tim Bajarin article at Tech.pinions.
Yesterday I closely followed the Appl evs Samsung live blogging via the Twitter hashtag #appsung and I was delighted.
Phil Schiller and Scott Forstall were the two interesting man who testified and gave very insightful information on Apple, the creation of the iPhone and of the iPad. Here are my favorites quotes.
Schiller was asked what his first reaction was when seeing Samsung’s first Galaxy S phone:
I was pretty shocked at the appearance of the Galaxy S phone and the extent to which it appeared to copy Apple products and the problems that would create for us.
Scott Forstall answering the question: Did you copy Samsung?
We wanted to build something great. No reason to look at anything they had done.
Scott Forstall on the history of the iPhone creation
For secrecy reasons, Jobs wouldn’t hire anybody from outside of Apple to work on what you’d see on the iPhone screen.
iPhone’s code name was “purple” and locked down building in Cupertino for that purposed, Forstall called the “Purple Dorm” because 24/7 job
The sign outside Apple’s top secret iPhone building said “Fight Club” after the movie, b/c 1st rule was “You don’t discuss F.C.”
I never directed anyone to copy anything from Samsung.
These are gems because we rarely get this kind of information directly from Apple but only via rumours. I think these are even more insightful than Steve Jobs bio. At some point I even thought this trial was even better than a traditional Apple media event to launch a new product.
We all know how much Steve Jobs was important to Apple. Apple was Steve and Steve was Apple some would even say. But, to be successful, Tim Cook doesn’t have to be the only one exposing the public image of Apple like Steve Jobs did. In fact, it will be really refreshing to see two or three different guys take the stage at the next Apple event just like it was on October 4th. We can go back to the last three of four Apple events to see that Steve wasn’t the only man on the stage. Tim Cook was there but Phil Schiller was too as well as Scott Forstall. they did a great job, specially M. Forstall.