From the smash debut of the iPad to the coming of the Mac OS X Lion to a knee-jerk ban on bikinis in the App Store, Apple has had one dramatic year.
By Tom Kaneshige
October: Back to the Mac
Apple makes two huge announcements for the Mac: an ultrathin MacBook Air that swaps a hard drive for flash storage built into the motherboard, and a sneak peek at the next Mac OS X—called Lion—that will tap into the best features of iOS, including a Mac App Store.
October: Rise of the Droid
An NPD Group report shows Android overtaking the iPhone in the great smartphone OS battle in the third quarter—that is, Android OS was installed in 44 percent of devices compared with 23 percent for the iPhone. That didn’t stop Apple CEO Steve Jobs from blasting Android as a fragmented platform in the same month during an earnings call.
Jobs hastily calls a press conference to address AntennaGate. Concerns had cropped up that the newly designed antenna in the iPhone 4 dropped calls when users held the phone a certain way. Apple tried to hide the problem by saying it was a software glitch. Finally, Jobs fesses up and provides iPhone 4 owners with a “bumper.”
June: iPhone 4 in Your Face
Apple delivers the iPhone 4 with video chat technology called FaceTime. Apple sells 1.7 million units in the first three days. Jobs demonstrates FaceTime by calling Apple design guru Jonathan Ive. “Hey Jonny, how ya doing?”
May: On Top of the Tech World
Apple’s market cap rises to $222 billion and beats Microsoft’s market cap, making Apple the most valuable technology company in the world. (For the record: Apple’s market cap broke the $300 billion mark on the first Monday of 2011.)
April: Case of the Stolen Prototype
Apple loves to shroud itself in secrecy. But when that veil breaks, as it did when a lost iPhone 4 prototype at a Silicon Valley bar was sold to Gizmodo, Apple goes ballistic. Shortly after the leak, Apple had the police break into a Gizmodo editor’s home and seize his computers. A classic cloak and dagger tale.
April: iPad Blasts Off!
Apple makes history with the launch of the iPad. The tablet trips up high-flying netbooks, makes surprising inroads into the enterprise and marches toward the established PC market, en route to becoming the tech story of the year.
February: Bikini Ban
Apple reveals its ugly, controlling ways by suddenly banning apps that show images with too much skin, as in sexual content. Never mind that these apps had already been approved on the App Store. Never mind that apps from major brands, such as the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Calendar, weren’t banned. Apple’s image as a lonely rebel among Big Brother institutions takes a serious beating.
Tom Kaneshige covers Apple and Networking for CIO.com. Follow Tom on Twitter @kaneshige. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline. Email Tom at firstname.lastname@example.org.