The company said Monday Scott Forstall is leaving after 15 years at Apple. He was considered a protege of Steve Jobs, the company's previous chief executive officer and founder who died of cancer last year, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.
Forstall was in charge of the operating system that runs the iPhone and the iPad and oversaw the creation of Apple's mapping software that was full of humiliating mistakes, including simply misplacing many locations.
Apple also said John Browett, the company's retail chief, is leaving.
Browett, the former CEO of Dixons, a British retail chain, never quite fit in at Apple, the Times said.
In August, Browett apologized for a design for store staffing that he was forced to withdraw.
Analysts said the departures put more decision-making power in the hands of CEO Timothy Cook and the company's head industrial designer, Jonathan Ive.
"Tim Cook was always Steve Jobs' right-hand man. Jony Ive was his golden boy," said Gene Munster, an industry analyst at Piper Jaffray.
Other analysts applauded the shakeup, some because it was a sign that Cook would hold Apple to the same high standards that Jobs did.
"Tim Cook needs to make these kinds of changes occasionally to keep forward progress," said Colin Gillis at BGC Partners.
Craig Federighi, who is the head of the operating systems for Mac computers will also take on more responsibility, overseeing the operating software for mobile devices, which the company plans to integrate.
Other analysts considered that a good move, as well, since decision making for the operating systems would be handled by one executive, which is often more efficient than two.
Eddy Cue, the head of the company's online services, will take over the firm's maps and Siri software systems.