December 30, 2012
Applesauce: All Things Apple – December 30, 2012
It’s safe to say that 2012 likely acted as a wakeup call for Apple. While the company was able to release several new products, such as the Retina’d MacBook Pros and iPad mini, they also faced improving competition as well as growing security threats, thanks to Java.
Many chose the refrain “Steve wouldn’t have allowed this” to preside over Tim Cook’s first full year as CEO while other members of Apple’s Top Brass did enough on their own to reveal some of the fraying ends at the Cupertino company. This was also the year of no surprises when it came to iPhone and, overall, a year for Apple to try things differently, to strike out on their own sans Steve and continue working to make the best products in the world.
The Flashback botnet was discovered this spring, affecting as many as 650,000 Macs, some of which were even located at Apple’s 1 Infinite Loop headquarters.
This was only the beginning of the security issues for Apple in 2012, and nearly all of them stemmed in one way or another from a Java vulnerability. Though it wasn’t only Macs that were made susceptible to attack by Java, it did help destroy the illusion of immune Macs that never contract viruses. These Java attacks became so frequent in 2012 that many simply began suggesting that all Mac users disable Java altogether. At this point in Internet history, it’s likely only those who know what Java is will ever need it.
Apple has often been called upon to release a product in order to compete with a new product from a competitor. Most recently, analysts and Apple watchers alike have been pleading with Apple to finally release that 7-inch tablet already for fear that Amazon’s dirt cheap Kindle Fire would eat up all of Apple’s marketshare.
For whatever reason, one of Apple’s longest standing rumors finally came true this year when the iPad mini was unveiled in October.
There had been much speculation about how the iPad mini would fit in with Apple’s existing offerings, as well as if they would even go with the name “iPad mini.”
Rather than shoot to kill Amazon and Google’s small tablet offerings, Apple opted to keep their mini moderately priced, all while including their new speedy connectivity options, such as LTE and dual-band Wi-Fi.
Even the iPhone 5, which was widely expected to ship with a new design and larger screen, faced some greater competition than it had in years past. As this was the first Apple smartphone to ship with LTE connectivity, many had panned the device as “too little, too late.”
While the hardware in the new iPhone is more than impressive, it’s outpaced by other phones. Making this fact even more disturbing is the level of advancement Google has been making with Android. Though Apple still has a solid lead in terms of “best smartphone,” it’s slowly becoming apparent that Apple’s largest advantage is the tight integration between hardware and software.
Apple also released some products to compete with themselves and at the behest of their own users. When Steve Jobs announced the iPhone 4 in 2010, many were blown away by the brand new Retina display, and rightly so. Since then, Mac users had been looking for the Retina display to make an appearance on a Mac laptop. Apple finally made this a reality, creating 2 MacBook Pros, which offer the best of 3 worlds, cramming sheer speed and a beautiful display into a thin and lightweight frame. The developers at WWDC 2012 (an event which sold out in record time) were the first to get their hands on the new, 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display. Showing off these new speed-demons to developers first was a great idea, as these are the same Apple loyalists who have been asking for a newly revised Mac Pro for years.
Though many had thought Apple may begin making new Mac Pros in their new American factories, recent rumors are suggesting it will be Mac Minis instead. This news could further depress those waiting for a Mac Pro. It looks like it’s never coming, guys…
Finally, 2012 was the year for Apple to Think Differently.
They began the year giving private demos of their latest OS, Mountain Lion, to select members of the press. Rather than make a grand announcement for themselves at a WWDC or some other press event, they allowed their favored journalists to break the news for them, not only surprising those who watch Apple closely, but also signifying that perhaps Apple’s shroud of secrecy was beginning to come down.
Apple also decided to release 2 new iPads in the span of one year, breaking with their springtime release cycle. Though such a move likely upset many who had only just purchased what they thought would be a “new” iPad for another few months, many saw this a sign that Apple was able to move quickly enough to stay ahead of the competition.
Returning to secrecy, this was the first year we more or less knew all about the iPhone before it was ever released.
The first leaked images began showing up this spring as many wondered if Apple would release such a product in the summer. From there, the leaked information kept coming in, revealing that the new iPhone would ship with a taller screen, LTE and a new connector.
Each of these features made it to the iPhone 5, and those features we didn’t know about were small and software based.
Though it wasn’t a surprise, many were shocked when they held the iPhone 5 for the first time, noting just how light the phone was, especially in comparison to the iPhone 4S.
Overall, this was the year of Tim Cook’s Apple as he proved that he was able to lead with confidence and strength. When things went wrong, Tim Cook wasn’t afraid to apologize.
Perhaps more importantly, Cook wasn’t afraid to fire those who had made his company look bad, such as Scott Forstall and John Browett.
Many had wondered if Apple would be able to stay in the lead without Jobs at the helm, an honest concern.
Now, as 2012 draws to a close, Tim Cook has shown that he’s willing to do what it take to lead Apple into greatness, and everyone’s favorite British designer is making all the big decisions when it comes to product design. Apple has had a killer year, and their stock prices and sales sheets can show it.
Though many went into 2012 with questions about Apple’s viability, it’s clear to see that Apple will be fine for the next several years.
P.S-Oh, and Apple also fought with Samsung all across the world this year, scoring themselves a $1 billion payout.
I figured perhaps you’ve heard enough of this story, especially considering it’s nowhere near finished.
Image Credit: Photos.com