Apple's iOS senior vice president Scott Forstall, who has overseen the operating systems and software for the iPhone and iPad since the devices launched, will leave the company next year.
Forstall's departure will be a major change for the company -- he joined the corporation with Steve Jobs 15 years ago when Apple acquired NeXT, and played a crucial part in building the Mac OSX operating system, as well as iOS. He also managed partnerships with iOS developers, and helped launch Apple's social game platform Game Center.
Apple has offered no reason for Forstall's departure, but a report from the New York Times indicates that there was friction between him and other executives at the company, and that his involvement in Apple's recent troubles with its buggy Maps app may have played a part. He will serve as an advisor for CEO Tim Cook in the interim.
A number of executives at Apple will take over Forstall's previous responsibilities -- Industrial Design SVP Jonny Ive will now handle "Human Interface" design for iOS, Internet Software and Services SVP Eddy Cue will oversee Siri and Maps, former Hardware SVP Bob Mansfield will manage a new Technologies group for the company's wireless products, and Software Engineering SVP Craig Federighi will lead the iOS and OSX teams.
Apple also announced that recently recruited Retail SVP John Browett will be leaving, and that the Retail team will report directly to Cook as the company searches for a replacement.