MacMost Now 338: 2009 Apple Year In Review

Take a look back at the year in Apple news. Steve Jobs leaves and returns, new iPods, new Macs, Snow Leopard, AT&T and iPhone controversy, the iPhone 3GS and more.

Video Transcript
Hi, this is Gary with MacMost Now. Well, it's the end of the year, so let's take a look back at 2009.
Well, 2009 started out with news about Steve Jobs. He announced that he is going to be taking a six month leave of absence from his job at Apple while dealing with health issues. And, indeed, we later found out that he had a liver transplant. But he was back at Apple by summer, and in September, in fact, he headed up a set of announcements about the iPod. And, by all reports, he's now back and fully in charge at Apple again.
Of course, in 2009 we saw changes for every single Mac and every single iPod. There were new Mac Pros, new Mac Mini, new iMacs, all new MacBooks. But most of these were just slight upgrades with some feature improvements. So let's focus on the things that were truly new. One was that iTunes got rid of all of its DRM for music, so no more copy protection. By March or so, all the music on iTunes didn't have any of that copy protection anymore, so you can more freely move it around on the different devices you might own and use it on non-Apple devices very easily.
Early on in the year we also got a new version of iLife and a new version of iWork. Both of them labeled 09, they had improvements for almost every application across the board.
New iPod shuffles came out with a little bit of controversy. The very simplified device had no buttons on the iPod itself but they were on the cable to the ear buds. This meant that you couldn't use any other headphones except the ear buds that came with it. But later on in the year we got some third party adapters that allowed us to go back and use our favorite set of headphones.
In other iPod news, later on in the year we got a whole new iPod Nano. While it looked pretty similar to the previous Nano, it actually had a ton of new features in it, including a video camera and pedometer.
The biggest product launch of the year for Apple was the iPhone 3GS. This also included a video camera and a slightly faster processor. The device sold like hotcakes and Apple has seen record sales since its release.
However, the sales of the iPhone 3GS created a bit of a problem for AT&T. With more people using AT&T's 3G network in the United States it seemed to have clogged up the works a bit. AT&T complained and users complained that the network wasn't working so well anymore. AT&T briefly blamed iPhone users for the problem, while at the same time promising to add more bandwidth. Users still complained and the problems still pretty much exist here at the end of the year. Verizon saw an opportunity and has been attacking the iPhone and AT&T for its problems and has been putting out ads claiming that it has a better 3G network. At the same time, of course, it also launched a Google android phone called the Droid which has been a competitor that may at least have stopped people from leaving Verizon to go to AT&T for the iPhone. AT&T also had problems offering MMS services to iPhone users, doing so at the last minute of its promised end of summer deadline. In addition, the tethering feature on the iPhone, while available in other countries, is still not available in the United States on AT&T.
At the same time as the iPhone 3GS launch, Apple also introduced the third version of the iPhone OS for both the iPhone and, of course, the iPhone Touch. This new version has lots of different features, like the ability to communicate with Microsoft exchange servers for businesses and also the long awaited copy and paste functionality throughout most apps on the iPhone. It also opened up the SDK for a lot more functionality and the iPhone Apps store exploded, topping more than 100,000 applications.
There have been a lot of success stories in the iPhone Apps store, but also a lot of developers complaining about the approval process. That it's not very transparent and it's not readily apparent what Apple will approve and what they won't approve, putting a lot of small companies in jeopardy as their business plans hinge around having their iPhone app accepted in a timely manner.
On the Mac side of things, we saw an entirely new operating system, Snow Leopard, Mac OS 10.6. It came out basically as an update to Leopard for only $29. One of the main features of Snow Leopard is a complete re-write of large portions of the operating system to only work on Intel machines. So, Snow Leopard only works on newer Intel machines and won't work on G5's and earlier.
We also got the new versions of two major pieces of software. We go Safari 4 and iTunes 9, both with some pretty major interface changes and new features.
Apple showed a re-commitment to two small pieces of hardware in 2009. The first being Apple TV with a new version of the operating system and discontinuing the smaller hard drive version and going with a larger hard drive version as its main product. Also, we got an update for the Mac Mini, with both a new version of the standard Mini and also a special Mini server that comes with Mac OS 10 server.
Looking at the MacBooks, we went to an all uni-body design for the aluminum MacBook Pros, and only a single white plastic design for the regular Macbook. All the MacBooks now feature a fixed battery that can't be replaced, but has a 7 hour battery life.
The iMacs also got makeovers, replacing all the previous versions with two widescreen versions, and the larger one featuring some new Intel processors, the I5 and the I7.
So, financially, Apple had a fantastic year, even more so considering the recession. They had record breaking quarters, brought in a ton of money, and they gained market share in both mobile phones and on personal computers.
So there's a look back at 2009. One of the things I didn't mention is all of the rumors. I'll take care of that in the next episode, which will look forward to 2010. Until next time, this is Gary Rosenzweig with MacMost Now.

Comments: One Response to “MacMost Now 338: 2009 Apple Year In Review”

    1/3/10 @ 10:28 am

    thanks for this – happy holidays :D

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