) -- In a massive announcement,


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has announced that Scott Forstall, head of Apple's mobile operating, iOS, is leaving the company. Many believed Forstall would eventually become Apple CEO, and was seen as remarkably similar to Steve Jobs in personality.

Forstall will leave Apple next year, and in the meantime serve as an advisor to CEO Tim Cook in the interim. Forstall had a a lot of power and revenue under his control as head of iOS.

Apple's head of retail, John Browett, is also leaving the company. The Retail team will report directly to Cook until a replacement has been found. Browett had been on the job nine months, and was one of Cook's first major hires as CEO.

"We are in one of the most prolific periods of innovation and new products in Apple's history," said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO in a press release. "The amazing products that we've introduced in September and October, iPhone 5, iOS 6, iPad mini, iPad, iMac, MacBook Pro, iPod touch, iPod nano and many of our applications, could only have been created at Apple and are the direct result of our relentless focus on tightly integrating world-class hardware, software and services."

Replacing Forstall as the head of iOS is Craig Federighi, who will lead both iOS and OS X.

With Forstall leaving, there are major shakeups at Apple, as Jony Ive, Eddy Cue, and Bob Mansfield will take on new and expanded roles. Forstall leaving is a major announcement and potentially damaging for the company, but Ive and Mansfield being given more control is certainly a strong positive.

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Ive will "provide leadership and direction for Human Interface (HI) across the company in addition to his role as the leader of Industrial Design." Cue, who has been in charge of iTunes, will take on the added responsibility of Siri and Maps, which was seen as something of a disappointment earlier this year as part of the mobile operating system.

Mansfield will head a new group, Technologies, combining all of Apple's wireless teams. Mansfield had tried to retire earlier this year, only to be pulled back in.

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-- Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York


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