Scott Forstall's Personality, Origins of iOS, and Lost iPhone 4 Prototype
Businessweek has an in-depth look at Apple's Senior Vice President of iOS Software, Scott Forstall. Readers will be familiar with Forstall from his keynote appearances where he often demonstrates the latest iOS features.
The Businessweek article is a not always flattering look at the man who has been partly responsible for much of Apple's success with the iPhone. Forstall is described as almost as a "mini-Steve" being a detail oriented manager but also one that is difficult to work with.
In fact, the article suggests that Forstall was a major factor in Tony Fadell's departure from Apple in early 2010. Fadell had been called the "Godfather" of the iPod due to his key role in that device's creation.
Forstall and Fadell reportedly went head to head in 2005 when Steve Jobs pitted the two against each other in determining the underlying operating system for the iPhone. The two possibilities were a Linux-based operating system or a Mac OS X based one.
In other words, should he shrink the Mac, which would be an epic feat of engineering, or enlarge the iPod? Jobs preferred the former option, since he would then have a mobile operating system he could customize for the many gizmos then on Apple’s drawing board. Rather than pick an approach right away, however, Jobs pitted the teams against each other in a bake-off.
Forstall, of course, led the shrunken down Mac OS X project and ultimately won, but the bad blood over time was said to be a factor in Fadell's decision to leave.
The profile also reports that Forstall may also been an indirect cause of the lost iPhone 4 prototype in 2010. Forstall reportedly convinced Jobs to allow dozens of his engineers to carry prototypes of the then unreleased iPhone 4. It was one of those employees who lost the iPhone 4 at a Redwood City, California bar where it was picked up and sold to Gizmodo.
Forstall had originally joined NeXT, Inc. after college and came to Apple with Steve Jobs after Apple's acquisition of NeXT in 1996. The NeXT operating system then became the basis for Mac OS X and ultimately the iPhone.