Join Current Editorials as we take a look back at the top trends, gadgets, and companies of 2012 in our year-end series “2012 in Review.”
2012 was a tumultuous year for Apple filled with triumph and tribulation. As the first full year without Steve Jobs comes to a close, we are looking not at a company standing still as so many had predicted, but at a company who has revised virtually every product that it sells in the midst of a controversial misstep and a management shakeup.
The year got off to a rocky start as harsh criticism was leveled at Apple’s assembler, Foxconn for their labor practices. Enter Tim Cook – who gathered the data, made changes, and now looks to do more of its manufacturing in the United States.
In the wake of the departure of Apple’s retail darling, Ron Johnson to take the role of CEO of JC Penney, Tim Cook surprised many by turning to John Browett, the former CEO of Dixons. Browett proved to be a poor choice for Apple when he cut retail employee hours and staffing levels. The morale of Apple retail reportedly declined sharply and calls of “Fire Browett” echoed the halls of Twitter. Tim Cook noticed what was happening and fired John Browett. Apple fans and employees rejoiced.
A great number of product refreshes took place in 2012, including the iPad 3 (but you aren’t supposed to call it that) and the iPad 4 (but now it’s ok to call it that?), new iMacs, MacBook Pros, MacBook Airs, Mac Minis, the iPhone 5, and a litany of new iPods. There were also some brand new products introduced, most notably, the iPad Mini, as well as the Retina MacBook Pro.
Software evolved as well as Apple introduced OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion and iOS 6. iOS 6 has been the topic of much controversy due to the ever involving feud between Google and Apple. Google didn’t want to allow Apple to have access to its turn by turn directions, so Apple made its own maps, and although they were beautiful (when you weren’t looking at what appeared to be a collapsing Brooklyn Bridge) much of the map data was incorrect and many (including yours truly) received directions that didn’t take us to our intended destination, or were routed through third world nations (that’s an exaggeration) to get to a local coffee shop.
Realizing that the Maps app was not up to Apple’s standards, Tim Cook (in his benevolent wisdom) issued an apology to users. He asked iOS head Scott Forstall to also apologize, and when he refused to do so, Tim Cook (again in his benevolent wisdom) quickly fired him. Again, Apple fans and employees rejoiced. New Senior VP responsibilities were quickly adjusted in the wake of Forstall’s departure. To summarize: Eddy Cue will now fix what is broken. The venerable Sir Jonathan Ive is now in charge of Human Interaction (this is huge), and Craig Federighi is now responsible for all software. Dan Riccio became Sr. VP of Hardware Engineering when Bob Mansfield “retired” and Bob Mansfield came out of “retirement” to work on something that is presumable amazing (please let it be a hoverboard).
Apple as usual is continuing to be tight-lipped about its future products, but as you can see by taking a quick look back at 2012, Apple is not resting on its laurels. Tim Cook has shown himself over the last year to be a true leader. No he is not Steve Jobs, and he never will be. But Cook has proven over the last year that he is not afraid of change. He is not afraid to admit when he makes mistakes, and he is not willing to simply settle for muddling along. 2013 looks to be an exciting year for Apple regardless of what the stock price manipulating, so-called “analysts” have to say about it. The sate of Apple is strong, and their commitment to making the best consumer products is unwavering, despite the grumblings about lackluster maps.