2012 in review: Apple

2012 in review: AppleA 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!

Apple’s 2011

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’s 2012

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.

Ultimately, Apple scheduled an event for October 23, revealing not only the iPad mini, but – somewhat surprisingly – the fourth generation iPad. What the…?

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.

That mightn't have been such a problem, but Apple Maps was somewhat lacking, and the police recently described it as “dangerous”. Heck, Apple even issued a public apology.

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.

Apple’s 2013

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?

Read more about: Apple iPad 4Apple iPad miniApple iPhone 5Apple iPad 3Apple iPhone 4Apple iPhone 4SiOS

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9 comments

JanSt / MOD  Dec. 19, 2012 at 14:11

They should go back to 12 months cycle. There's nothing 'revolutionary' every 6 months. Same goes for all manufacturers. Burst your bubble before it bursts you.

lcurdie / MOD  Dec. 19, 2012 at 16:15

If the 4in iPhone 5S arrives in October 2013 with a slightly faster processor, slightly better camera, and NFC, I'm getting a Samsung Galaxy Note 3.

Pondlife  Dec. 19, 2012 at 16:43

What about if it arrives in June?
So getting the Note 3 with it's slightly faster processor, slightly better camera than the N2... ;)

Well it was only one device that had a six month turn around though, the ipod touch had been around for an age and the iphone almost 12 months ;)
Is 4.2 not being called klp a sign that Google is looking to 12m(ish) too. Can't imagine them releasing a range of devices quite this close to christmas in future...

matt101101 / MOD  Dec. 19, 2012 at 17:50

What about if it arrives in June?
So getting the Note 3 with it's slightly faster processor, slightly better camera than the N2... ;)

Well it was only one device that had a six month turn around though, the ipod touch had been around for an age and the iphone almost 12 months ;)
Is 4.2 not being called klp a sign that Google is looking to 12m(ish) too. Can't imagine them releasing a range of devices quite this close to christmas in future...

Note 3: A15 chip, 13mp camera, 3/4GB RAM, 1080p display. I'd put money on no more than one of those being wrong.

It was only the iPad which had a 6 month life, wasn't it? Lets face it, they only brought out a new one so all their iOS devices had the Lightning connector, which makes sense really. I mean, why would they want one iOS device lagging behind all the others until March? The A6X processor was just 'cause they might as well stick the latest chip in, the connector was the reason the device was created.

Pondlife  Dec. 19, 2012 at 17:58

Possible that the old chip couldn't work with the lightning connector too. Mind you I'd expect less ipads get docked anyway.
Still selling the 4 and 4s with the old connector though.

lcurdie / MOD  Dec. 19, 2012 at 18:24

Note 3: A15 chip, 13mp camera, 3/4GB RAM, 1080p display. I'd put money on no more than one of those being wrong.

Yeah, I dare say the Note 2 to Note 3 will be a more significant leap than iPhone 5 to iPhone 5S. I can't see a modest iPhone 5S upgrade generating the usual new-iPhone buzz.

I'd like to see a souped-up iPhone 5S (fair enough for those still on the iPhone 4S or below), and a 5.5-6in iPhone X. Maybe there's a reason Apple went for 7.9in - and not 7in - with the iPad mini. Well, other than the reasons already given.

4in iPhone 5S
6in iPhone X
7.9in iPad mini 2
9.7in iPad 5
13in iPad X

Just a thought. An insane thought, but a thought nonetheless.

Pondlife  Dec. 19, 2012 at 21:22

Can't envisage a 6" iphone tbh.

matt101101 / MOD  Dec. 20, 2012 at 01:42

Can't envisage a 6" iphone tbh.
Would like to use a phablet iOS device. Apple must want to do something about the fact the Galaxy Note series has had an entire, surprisingly successful, market segment to itself for 2 years running now.

matt101101 / MOD  Dec. 20, 2012 at 01:43

Note 3: A15 chip, 13mp camera, 3/4GB RAM, 1080p display. I'd put money on no more than one of those being wrong.

Yeah, I dare say the Note 2 to Note 3 will be a more significant leap than iPhone 5 to iPhone 5S. I can't see a modest iPhone 5S upgrade generating the usual new-iPhone buzz.

I'd like to see a souped-up iPhone 5S (fair enough for those still on the iPhone 4S or below), and a 5.5-6in iPhone X. Maybe there's a reason Apple went for 7.9in - and not 7in - with the iPad mini. Well, other than the reasons already given.

4in iPhone 5S
6in iPhone X
7.9in iPad mini 2
9.7in iPad 5
13in iPad X

Just a thought. An insane thought, but a thought nonetheless.

Bar a bigger iPad (seriously, 13" tablets will be too heavy to hold for more than about 5 mins), I agree with your concepts. I don't think they'll become reality, but I like the ideas.

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