Apple axes Maps chap as Jony Ive takes over software design

Sir Jony Ive is now in charge of Apple software as well as hardware, as Apple axes the man behind the Apple Maps debacle.

Sir Jony Ive is now in charge of Apple software as well as hardware, as the folks behind the iPhone axe two senior figures. Marching orders have been issued to the former Dixons boss in charge of Apple Stores, and the man in charge of Apple Maps

Chingford-born Ive, Apple's revered -- and benobbed -- industrial designer, is now in charge of the whole Apple experience as he helms a new department called Human Interface, straddling both hardware and software design.

One of the casualties is Scott Forstall, who was in charge of iOS. While he developed iOS and introduced Siri, he also oversaw the arrival of Apple Maps. Oops.

The own-brand Apple Maps app replaced Google Maps on iPhones and iPads earlier this year, and turned out to be a cavalcade of outdated or flat-out missing data. It was bad enough for Apple boss Tim Cook to issue a public apology -- although word on the street is that Forstall refused to sign his name to the mea culpa.

So what does this mean for future Apple products? The look of iOS and OS X may be refreshed and brought closer together, for a start. Under Forstall's tenure, iOS featured a heavily skeuomorphic aesthetic. Skeuomorphism involves making the interface look like real things: the ebook app looks like a bookshelf and a paperback, for example, while the Notes app looks like a pad of notepaper, complete with page-turning effects.

All very well, but in recent versions the heavy use of leather-effect backgrounds and even fake stitching made many apps look dated. With luck Jony Ive will steer Apple's software towards the clean lines and sleek style his hardware designs are famous for.

Meanwhile, Apple has also parted company with the British boss of the retail side of the business, John Browett, who joined the Californian company from Dixons here in the UK (a move that had anyone who'd ever been in a Dixons scratching their head in puzzlement).

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