From starting off as a higher end luxury product to becoming a must have piece of gadgetry, Apple has come a long way since its inception. And more so, the period post Steve Jobs, who was the face and founder of Apple. Most of us were waiting with bated breath to see what the company had in store for in 2012. This year was definitely a roller-coaster ride for this tech giant with its highs and lows.
iPhone, Apple’s most successful product, marked its fifth year in the market with the bringing of next instalment of iPhone, the iPhone 5 and even more than that with its sales crossing a whopping 200 million. 2012 saw the launch and release a new iPhone, the slimmer and sleeker iPhone 5 which in just 2 weeks of its release, recorded sales of 6 million units!
Apart from the iPhone, the upgraded Macbook Pro was another product that was much awaited this year. This new updated device launched in October, saw a slight variation with a lighter body (almost a pound lighter!) and cleaner look. But what was most talked about was the laptop’s new feature, the much hyped – retina display. And as promised by Apple, the MacBook Pro display pushed the boundaries of what is known as ultra-high definition. The laptop not only clicked with Apple fan boys, it also earned its place within the critics’ circle who praised the brighter screen of the laptop deeming it much superior than its predecessors.
The Cupertino-based company also launched a slightly smaller version of the iPad – the iPad mini. This is the first of its kind for Apple in the tablet market, and it boasted a 53% reduction in weight compared to its fuller size counterpart. Apple also added a new member to its extensive music inspired family, the Ear pods, which came after a long wait of three years and went very well with Apple followers as well as critics. Even the Apple TV, saw an upgrade in March, a market that is being eyed by the company for a while now.
As always with the new hardware, Apple also launched its latest software to go with it, the iOS 6. For the first time though, Apple excluded YouTube and Google maps from this OS, and had their own little surprise for their consumers, a Map app that ran on Apple’s own mapping system. This was a very brave move, indeed, and was intended to challenge the undeniable domination of Google in the digital map world. And how did it go, well to make it short and sweet, it was sort of a disaster /fell down in shambles, much like the Brooklyn Bridge collapsing on the Apple maps itself. Tim Cook soon posted a public apology on Apple’s official website, and the maker of the app, Scott Forstall, was asked to step down from his position.
Apart from the various product launches and software updates, Apple also made it to the news for many other reasons this year. Among these was the salary of Tim Cook, Apple’s new CEO. The $378 million salary package that Cook receives makes him world’s highest paid CEO till date. 2012 also saw Apple fighting it out with tech majors like Samsung and Google as well as other, not so known, companies like Proview. This year also saw Apple take the position as the number one brand in the world, beating IBM, Google, Microsoft and McDonalds.
From replacing Microsoft as the most valuable company in the world, to its market capitalization equalling the GDP of Switzerland, Apple has come a long way in 2012. According to analysts, who have followed Apple’s progress through the years, what Apple has achieved in the last 12 months is something companies have not achieved in 12 years. Despite the astonishing economical might achieved by the company in 2012, this year also brought about Apple’s worst day (in its history) at the market. Apple shares fell by 6% and the tech giant’s worth dropped by almost $34.9 billion.
Apple had quite the time locking horns on the patent battlefield. Ever since the spring of 2011, Apple has been battling out various patent issues and infringement of various intellectual properties with the next big name in the market- Samsung. Steve Jobs, during his last months, was obsessed with Android and wanted to battle it out with Android phone manufacturers. Although Apple may have won the initial battle with Samsung paying them about a billion dollars in damages, wars tend to leave both sides sore, and more so in this case, as Samsung also makes chips for Apple’s iPhones.
Like the litigation on the various patent infringements was not enough, this year also saw Apple fighting it out with a company called Proview over the name of its tablet, iPad. Proview, a company in China apparently, had launched a product by the name of iPad (internet personal access device). Although Apple has rights to the name in most parts of the world, in China it had not registered for the trademark for the name iPad. Threatened by sales being affected in its second largest market, Apple settled the whole dispute for a whopping $1.6 billion.
This year also saw a couple of first timers from the tech giant. Tim Cook, Apple’s current CEO made his first public appearance in the D10 conference held earlier this year. The “All things D” conference is a pretty big thing when it comes to technology, and this year saw the entry of the CEO Tim Cook as the face of Apple. He spoke about his vision for Apple post Steve Jobs, Apple’s new fascination for the TV market, China and a lot more. The absence of Jobs was felt, but it was interesting, never the less, to see what its new leader had in store for us.
Thus, 2012 marked the beginning of a new era for Apple. Analyst have already deemed iPhone 5 as the leader for the year to come, but all we can do now is wait and watch to see what new frontiers Apple will open in the world of technology in the coming year- 2013.