MacMost Now 806: 2012 Apple Year In Review

Apple released a lot of new hardware in 2012, including new iPads, iMac, MacBooks and iPods. There was also a lot of controversy surrounding patents, working conditions and the Maps app. Take a look at the major Apple news highlights of 2012.

Video Transcript
Hi this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's episode let's take a look back at 2012.

Apple released a whole lot of new hardware in 2012. But it also was a year with some controversy. So let's take a look.

Everyone expected Apple to release a new iPad in 2012 but we didn't expect to have two generations of iPad. Both the 3rd and 4th generations appeared this year only six months apart. The 3rd generation had the new retina display,the first Apple device larger than the iPhone that had one. That was the new big feature as well as the new processor. The 4th generation really didn't change much except that it used the new lightening connector. The lightening connector replaced the old dock connector in all Apple iOS devices this year.

What was also interesting about the iPad was the name. The first was the iPad, the second was the iPad 2, but the 3rd was not the iPad 3 but simply the new iPad and officially called on the Apple site, the iPad 3rd generation. So Apple is dropping the idea of naming each generation of iPad, just calling everything the iPad and tacking on a 3rd generation, 4th generation there for official purposes like ordering from the website.

But that wasn't it for the iPad. We got, of course, the iPad Mini which is basically a smaller screened iPad without the retina display but otherwise has a lot of the same features as the full size iPad but with a much lower price. The iPad Mini was a big hit. Apple sold a lot of them and it is really hard for some people to choose between the lighter smaller iPad Mini or the larger iPad with a faster processor and retina display.

Apple also brought the retina display to the MacBook line with the new MacBook Pro. There is now a 13" and 15" MacBook Pro with this retina display that replaced the previous MacBook Pro although they are still available for sale at a cheaper price.

Another new thing about the new MacBook Pro is that there is no optical drive. This was the year that Apple got rid of the optical drive in both the MacBook Pros, it is already gone from the MacBook Airs and now it is also gone from the new iMacs.

The new iMacs are also a big hit featuring a much thinner design of course since the optical drives are not there. They, however, don't have a retina display yet. Maybe that is something we can look forward to next year.

On the software side Apple released Mac iOS 10.8 MountainLion which included new Apps for reminders, notes, messages, and further integration with iCloud, Facebook, Twitter, and also new features like dictation and more airplay features.

The biggest product Apple came out with this year is probably the iPhone 5. It was very anticipated and sold in huge numbers. The main differences between this one and previous generations are LTE connectivity for faster wireless connection and also a taller screen with more pixels.

To match the iPhone Apple came out with a new iPod Touch. It matches the screen size but also they came out with a new iPod Nano which is not an iOS device. It comes in lots of different colors. It is a cheaper device that plays back music and also now plays back video returning video functionality to the iPod Nano line. It was missing in the previous generation.

So what else happened in 2012. Well in the beginning of the year there was a lot of focus on Apple's manufacturing in China. There were some good reports, and some false ones, about conditions in the factories in China used by Apple and other hardware manufacturers. Apple took a lot of focus off by mentioning how much of different computer parts and iPhone parts are manufactured here in the United States. In addition, they also announced that starting next year some Macs will be manufactured in the United States.

2012 also saw a lot of focus on the patent wars. Patent disputes between Apple and other companies with Apple settling with some companies like HDC over patent disputes and winning in court against other companies like Samsung. There are still a lot of appeals and court cases that are pending so this will be continuing probably for the next several years.

Apple tried to take some steps away from its competitor Goggle this year starting with the removal of the UTube App from iOS. The UTube App was a Goggle app that accessed UTube videos. UTube is owned by Goggle. Apple removed that and Goggle responded by giving its own UTube App with advanced functionality to download separately. It is not included with your iPhone.

Then Apple moved away from using Goggle Maps data by creating its own Maps App that used its own set of data owned by Apple. This caused probably the biggest trouble for Apple all year. People did not like the Apple Maps App. They preferred the Goggle Maps App. There were differences like street view versus flyover but also there was some inaccuracies found in the map data that Apple had that were not present in the Goggle Maps data. Apple promises to come out with a new version of Goggle Maps with improved map data. So we will see if they come through with that in 2013.

In addition though having this new Maps App did bring us spoken directions. Something that was missing from the old Goggle Maps app and then Goggle responded, just recently, with coming out with its own independent maps app which will also feature spoken directions. So here at the end of 2012 we find ourselves with not one but two Maps Apps both with advanced functionality over what we had at the beginning of the year. So it is kind of a win for the user.

So there is a look at Apple's year in review. Until next time this is Gary with MacMost Now.