A couple of days ago, we kicked off our obligatory review of the year with a look at South Korea’s Samsung, not only the king of Android, but the king of smartphones. Uhm, in terms of volume shipped.
Now we turn our attention to Samsung’s biggest client and sworn enemy, the second biggest smartphone shipper and king of the tablets, Tim Cook’s Apple.
We’ll follow the same format as Monday, so that’s a quick look at 2011, a big magnifying glass examination of 2012, and a glimpse at 2013. Ready? Go!
2011 was pretty close in terms of estimated smartphone shipping stats. For example, IDC’s 2011 report put Samsung at #1 in smartphones with 19.1% share, with Apple in second place on – wait for it – 19%. Brilliant.
Meanwhile, Gartner actually put Apple in first place - for both Q4 2011 and the year as a whole.
In any case, Samsung had a billion Galaxy smartphones on offer, while Apple only had a small selection of iPhones. Hence, as logic dictates, the iPhone was the biggest selling individual phone (iPhone 4 Q1-Q3, iPhone 4S in Q4).
Apple kept a typically low profile in January and February, letting CES and MWC blow past while the rumour mill speculated over the iPad 3.
The third generation iPad materialised as the “new iPad” in March, with a Retina display, quad-core graphics, and a 5MP rear camera. Yours truly bought one for reviewing iOS games. Just saying.
Fast-forward to June, and we met iOS 6 at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). That was the first time we officially learned of (*cough*) Apple Maps.
To no one’s surprise, the iPhone 5 didn’t appear at WWDC, instead launching in September. By that point, the rumour mill had already painted a fairly vivid picture of the iPhone 5, so we were fully expecting the 4in display. All previous iPhones had been 3.5in.
Amusingly, very few people cried “What about the iPad mini?” following the iPhone 5 launch. It had been rumoured for a while, and it was proposed that it might join the iPhone 5 on stage. But nope.
In the weeks following, the iPad mini rumours persisted, with some camps certain it was imminent, while others refused to believe the thing existed – or at least that it’d be released.
With a dual-core A5 processor and resolution of 1024 x 768, the iPad mini is effectively a small iPad 2. Starting at £269, it’s expected to sell by the bucketload this Christmas.
As for the fourth generation iPad, it’s an absolute beast, with a dual-core A6X processor and quad-core graphics, enhanced front camera, and increased LTE bands. Oh, and an iPhone 5-style Lightning connector.
Throw in the fifth generation iPod touches, and that’s five new iDevices in 2012. Five! Good lord. And hey, I only bought two of ‘em. Ahem.
Of course, no iPhone launch would be complete without some sort of controversy. This year it was actually iOS 6, which of course extends to other iDevices.
Specifically, Apple removed Google Maps and YouTube as default iOS apps. YouTube was available to download from the App Store, but Google Maps disappeared entirely.
Fortunately, Google Maps made its return to iOS 6 last week, and it’s better than ever. Great stuff.
As we mentioned in the Samsung 2012 review, Apple was in and out of court, asserting that the South Koreans were ripping off the iPhone and iPad, and infringing on a number of patents.
Apple was awarded $1 billion in damages, though that’s being appealed as the case – and several others – drag on. Yawn.
Oh, there was one amusing twist to the tale, with the Apple/Samsung apology story.
Oddly, despite largely well-received products, Apple’s shares have been all over the place of late, setting a record high ahead of the iPhone 5 launch, but more recently recording the biggest single-day loss since 2008.
What’s happening? Well, Analysts are concerned about iPhone profits having “likely peaked”, with further concerns about the loss of Steve Jobs.
There are muchos question marks concerning Apple in 2013. Will it unveil a fifth generation iPad in February/March considering the fourth gen has only just touched down? Or is October the new month for iPads? But surely that’s too close to the iPhone’s new slot? Unless the iPhone moves back to summer. And when will the iPad mini 2 appear?
There are also claims that Apple will take its processor business elsewhere, flipping the bird at Samsung in the process.
And that concludes our look at Apple’s past, present and future. Next time, on 2012 in review… Nokia, maybe?