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2012 in Review: Apple


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.

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Apple Updates OS X Mountain Lion to Version 10.8.2

As had been rumored, Apple released today version 10.8.2 of OS X Mountain Lion. This release coincides with the release of iOS 6 and unifies several features that will allow for a more seamless transition between devices.

The update brings Facebook integration to the Mac for the first time, allowing users to share photos and web pages simply by pressing the now ubiquitous share button within a given application. It also allows for posting a status directly from Notification Center, just as iOS 6 does.

Of interest to many users is the ability to merge a phone number with an iCloud email address. This will allow users to seamlessly send and receive iMessages on a Mac from their regular mobile number, as well as to send and receive FaceTime calls in the same manner.

See Apple’s Support site for a complete listing of all new features.

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iOS 6 Is Available For Download

iOS 6 is available for download via iTunes or software update on iOS devices. As we explained in our review, the latest version of Apple’s operating system for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch brings over 200 new features including 3D Maps with turn-by-turn navigation, Passbook, panoramic photos, and increased functions for Siri, Apple’s voice assistant. The update is available on the iPhone 3GS, 4, and 4S, the second and third generation iPad, as well as the 4th generation iPod Touch.

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Verizon Said to Be Offering iPhone 5 In-Store Pre-orders As Early As Tomorrow Morning

A source within Verizon Wireless retail has confirmed that Verizon will begin taking iPhone 5 pre-orders as early as tomorrow morning (Friday Sept. 14). Our source also indicated that there it is very likely that customers who preorder in-store tomorrow will be receiving their orders a a day earlier than those that order online, as they will be shipping from different warehouses.

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Where Is Apple Heading, and What Does The Future Hold?

An iPhone 5 showing Apple’s new turn-by-turn navigation

It seems these days that everyone has an opinion about where Apple is heading. The current popular thing to do seems to be to say that Apple has lost its way and is out of ideas. Dan Lyons, creator of the satirical ‘Fake Steve’ blog wrote one such opinion that was published by the BBC. Mr. Lyons claims that Apple is simply going through the motions and has become an imitator rather than an innovator. He actually had the audacity to question what the venerable Sir Jonathan Ive has been doing with his time since Apple is merely slapping on a slightly larger screen and adding support for LTE. His argument was countered by Adam Banks in his article which was ironically published by the BBC as well.

In order to understand what the future holds for Apple, one must understand what Apple is about, what it stands for, and what drives it. All discussion and understanding must start there or it will undeniably be inherently flawed.

So, what is Apple about, anyway?

Apple is on a mission to make the best possible products that provide the best possible user experience. What drives it is the ultimate quest for the ultimate experience. What it stands for is substance and style over sensationalism and speed of change. It seeks to journey well, and take us all with it. The care and respect that Apple displays for its users is something that is entirely uncommon from a device manufacturer. Companies like Samsung, HTC, and Motorola try to dazzle us with new, now, and next. They think that real innovation means just adding more. More power, more screen space, and even more consonants in words like Maxx. Some incorrectly assert that Apple has only increased its screen size to keep up with Android devices. I believe that this really couldn’t be further from the truth, and that Apple finally increased the size of the iPhone screen when it found a way to do it and not only add something to the list of features, but to add something to the user experience without taking anything away that previously existed (i.e. being able to comfortably operate it with one hand). For Apple, the total experience trumps specs, hands down.

An excerpt from Apple’s iPhone 5 promo video reveals the painstaking details in manufacture

During the iPhone 5 promotional video, the element that I found the most striking was when Sr. VP of Design, Jony Ive was explaining their newest manufacturing techniques, whereby the body of an iPhone is laid on a conveyor belt and two cameras take photos. Almost instantly the “The inlay is matched to the housing in a highly sophisitiated process”, said Sir Ive. Computers match the best pieces to go together instantaneously out of 725 different cuts that could be a possible match. He goes on to say that “…the variances from product to product, we measure in microns. We believe that going to such great lengths is the only way that we can deliver this level of quality”.

Mr. Ive makes it very clear in the video that this is a simple design. He also makes it clear that in order to make something this simple, Apple had to go to great lengths and push the boundaries of what was previously possible  with current manufacturing techniques.

So, where is Apple heading?

A machine selects the piece that is the closest fit for the housing of an iPhone 5 instantaneously

The answer to that question is simple. Apple is heading toward whatever they can determine makes the user experience better. They are headed toward increased precision and quality in manufacturing. Apple is not in a race with anybody else. They are on their own journey carving out their own path, and it makes absolutely no sense to those who do not first understand and embrace what Apple is about.

As the song says, “If you don’t know me by now, you will never ever know me”.

Here’s to hoping you have a great launch day, and the best unboxing, followed by the best user experience yet!

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Apple Announces All New Redesigned iPod Touch

Apple announced not only the iPhone 5 during today’s keynote, they showed us new iPods as well, most notably, the 5th generation iPod Touch. At only 6.1mm thin, this new design is almost as thin as the iPod Nano. Sporting an aluminum back and weighing in at a mere 88 grams, it is the lightest iPod Touch that Apple has ever launched.

The redesigned iPod Touch also features the same new 4″ display that accompanies the iPhone 5 and is powered by an the A5 chip which boasts a dual core processor , dual-core graphics, and a CPU that is up to two times faster than the current generation. Battery life has been increased as well, giving the new iPod Touch up to 40 hours of music playback.

Photo Credit: The Verge

This is a huge update for Apple’s flagship iPod as it is also receiving a built in iSight camera. The  camera has also been upgraded to include an LED flash, 5 megapixel sensor, backside illumination, hybrid IR filter, five-element lens, f/2.4 aperture, and the sapphire crystal lens. Panorama mode, which fully integrates panoramic photography into iOS using the native camera app has also been added. Apple touts the device as being able to rival point and shoot cameras. It appears that with the upgraded photo capabilities, Apple is attempting to further encroach on the ailing point and shoot market by adding the iPod Touch Loop which is essentially a bracelet that goes around your wrist while attaching to the device, making it perfect for use as a camera while lessening the chances that you will drop and break it. The FaceTime HD camera shoots at 720p, includes backside illumination, and face detection.

The 5th generation iPod Touch also supports Air-Play Mirroring for the very first time. This is a huge step forward for this device as it will allow for games to be played and mirrored onto a TV connected to an Apple TV box. Apple has also chosen to add support for its virtual assistant, Siri and is offering the device in a choice of 5 different colors.