News Scott Forstall on philosophy talk

Published on January 16th, 2019 | by Kirk Hiner


Apple TV began life as a “10-foot user interface”

Back in October of last year, former senior vice president of iOS software at Apple, Scott Forstall, was interviewed by Philosophy Talk at Stuyvesant High School in New York City. Video of that visit has been posted on YouTube, and it’s a very interesting conversation for fans of creative thought, Apple and, more specifically, the Apple TV.

At one point in the conversation, co-host Ken Taylor asked Forstall how he was able to foster creativity under Steve Jobs’ apparent brutal honesty, to which Forstall replied that Apple was always 100% committed to an idea once it was determined that the idea was worth doing. This, apparently, is how the Apple TV came to be.

When working on OS X, Forstall would celebrate a release by rewarding every member in the department with a month to pursue whatever project he or she wanted. Despite the loss of “millions of dollars of salary,” Forstall felt this time was worth it because everyone “…would work so hard that month coming up with incredible ideas.” The Apple TV was born from one of these ideas.

Employees would present their creations to Forstall at the end of the month, and…

“… one I saw was this idea of a 10-foot user interface, and we turned it into the Apple TV. Apple TV was invented because someone was encouraged to do whatever they wanted for a month.

“You can have that kind of environment to support creativity.”

The full video (embedded below)—titled The Creative Live—is an hour and forty minutes long, and the Apple TV is only briefly mentioned. The focus of the episode is on what students can do now to ensure happiness and fulfillment in a variety of careers in their lifetime (Forstall is now a Broadway producer) and whether certain majors cultivate greater creativity in career choices.

Promoted as “the program that questions everything,” Philosophy Talk is produced by KALW on behalf of Stanford University. Each week, the “host philosophers” converse on issues ranging from popular culture to beliefs about science, morality, and the human condition. The program is produced by KALW on behalf of Stanford University. You can learn more about the program at

Now, can someone at Stanford get started on a Philosophy Talk app for Apple TV?

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About the Author

has been writing for the Apple web since 1997, having served as editor of Applelinks and the Technology Tell Apple Channel. In addition to his work with BEST Apple TV, Kirk currently contributes to Mac Gamer HQ and Pure Nintendo. He lives with his wife and three children in small-town Ohio where the land is cheap and the air is (relatively) clean.

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