Bob Mansfield's abrupt return to Apple from retirement earlier this year came as a bit of a surprise, but according to a report from AllThingsD, Mansfield's coming back to Apple was directly related to iOS vice president Scott Forstall leaving the company. Citing anonymous sources, ATD says that the timing of Mansfield's return to Apple was "not coincidental." In fact, another source said "I think Bob was much more willing to commit to two more years once he knew Scott was on his way out." This information lines up with what we have heard from our sources concerning Forstall's exit and Mansfield's return.
Apple announced that 13-year veteran Mansfield's retirement in June, but then revealed at the end of August that he would be staying on with the company and would report directly to CEO Tim Cook. It wasn't exactly clear at the time what Mansfield's role would be at Apple, but when the company announced that Scott Forstall would be leaving at the end of this year, it said that Mansfield would be heading up a new group called Technologies, which includes Apple's wireless and semiconductor teams.
Mansfield's timing was 'no coincidence'
There has been a fair amount of discussion as to why Forstall is leaving the company, and a lot of it centers around that he was not very well liked by the other members of Apple's executive team, including hardware designer Jony Ive and Mansfield himself. The final blow to Forstall may have been the iOS 6 Maps debacle, which Forstall allegedly wouldn't take responsibility for. But given the apparent tensions between executives at Apple's highest echelon, it's likely that Forstall would have made an exit sooner rather than later.