Big Apple exec changes: iOS VP Forstall is leaving; Jony Ive and others step up

Big changes are happening in Apple’s executive roster: It announced today that Scott Forstall (above), the vice president in charge of iOS, and head of retail John Browett are leaving.

Meanwhile, design guru Jony Ive, senior vice president Bob Mansfield, SVP of Internet software Eddy Cue, and VP of Mac software Craig Federighi are all taking on more responsibilities.

As iOS head, Forstall was responsible for controversial new releases like Apple’s Maps app and the virtual assistant Siri. Consumers seem to have gotten used to Siri not living up to its cute TV commercials, but Apple chief executive Tim Cook had to issue a full-on apology for its Maps software, which has been criticized for being hilariously (and sometimes dangerously) inaccurate. Cook went as far as to recommend alternative map applications until Apple’s Maps app is updated.

Given just how much of a mess the Maps fiasco has been for Apple, it’s not too surprising to see Forstall stepping away. He’ll be advising Tim Cook until he officially leaves Apple next year, according to the news release today. Cue will be taking over work on Siri and Apple Maps.

As for Browett, Apple says that it’s currently seeking out a replacement executive. For now, Apple’s retail team will report to Tim Cook directly.

Ive, often considered one of the most obvious successors to late Apple CEO Steve Jobs, will step in to lead human interface design across the company. It’s a big step up for Ive, and it means that his minimalist design sensibility will soon appear in software, on top of the hardware design he’s already in charge of. Federighi will now lead iOS development, in addition to OS X.

Mansfield is getting the most intriguing promotion today: He’s heading up a new group called “Technologies,” which will bring together all of Apple’s wireless and semiconductor teams, the latter of which have “ambitious plans for the future” according to the news release.

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