It’s been a busy, bumpy year for Apple since Steve Jobs died last Oct 5. The company won a massive jury award against Samsung for patent infringement and in April it became arguably the most valuable company in history when its market capitalisation passed US$600 billion for the first time.
At the same time, Apple made a rare u-turn after a flap over the EPEAT environmental standard and the software on its newest iPhone left something to be desired.
There will be much pontificating Friday about how Apple performed in its first year without Jobs. To help you make up your mind, here are 10 of the biggest happenings in the world of Apple over the past 12 months.
Oct 10: iPhone 4S flies out the gate
Pre-orders for the iPhone 4S hit 1 million on the first day, according to Apple, breaking the record set by the iPhone 4. More than four million units are sold over the first three days. Some customers complain the battery drains too fast, and Apple tackles the issue with a software update.
Dec 12: eBook price cartel?
Regulators in Europe accuse Apple and five book publishers of colluding to set prices for e-books. The U.S. files a similar complaint a few months later. Last month, Apple and four of the publishers offered to end the dispute in Europe by allowing Amazon.com and other retailers to resume discounts and promotions for at least two years. In the U.S., Apple is expected to go to court over the matter next year.
Jan. 26: Trouble at the mill
Apple comes under fire when The New York Times publishes a story describing poor working conditions at factories in China, where its products are made. The issue dogs Apple throughout the year, with a subsequent investigation calling out unsafe conditions and worker abuse. A labour group said recently that conditions are now improving.
March 7: New iPad spawns ‘heatgate’
Apple launches the new iPad, with 2048-by-1536 display, 5-megapixel rear-facing camera and 4G access. Consumer Reports initially says the tablet overheats, causing a stir, but eventually the watchdog group gives it its blessing.
June 11: Ivy Bridge takes over
Apple unveils new Macs with Intel Ivy Bridge processors, including a MacBook Pro with a groundbreaking 15.4-inch, 2880 by 1800-pixel display.
June 28: A hardware boss steps down, then back up
Apple’s top hardware engineer, Bob Mansfield, announces his plans to retire. He is the top hardware engineer for Apple’s iPhone, iPad and other products. Two months later he reverses his decision and decides to stay.
July 9: Falling out with the greens
Apple withdraws its products from the EPEAT environmental rating system, raising concerns among environmentalists and making it hard for organisations with green purchasing requirements to buy its products. Soon after, Apple admits its misstep and rejoins EPEAT.
August 24: A cool billion
A jury awards Apple $1.05 billion in damages after it wins a massive patent infringement lawsuit against Samsung. The Korean firm has since appealed, claiming juror misconduct. It’s one of numerous court battles Apple is waging against Android smartphone makers worldwide, including one with Motorola Mobility.
Sept. 12: Five million iPhone 5s
Apple announces the iPhone 5 with a larger display and support for LTE networking. The reviews are mixed, with some disappointed the phone does not have NFC, but Apple still sells 5 million iPhone 5s over the first weekend. Soon after, customers start finding inaccuracies in Apple’s mapping software, which replaced Google Maps in iOS 6.
Sept. 28: Apple Maps loses its way
In an about-face, CEO Tim Cook apologises for the mapping software problems and Apple posts instructions for how users can access other map services from their device, including Google Maps.