MacUser review of the year: Part 2

by Kenny Hemphill on December 31, 2012

As June ticked over into July, and summer seemed further away than ever, most of the mainstream media was busy covering the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations and previewing London 2012.

George Michael was still a few weeks away from finding out that crashing into Snappy Snaps was only the second worst career move he’d ever make and Emeli Sandé had discovered that Adele’s shoes fitted her more snugly than she could ever have dreamed.

By comparison, Google’s Glass, a 3D virtual reality technology demonstrated by sky-diving Google employees was as dull as the weather. The Nexus Q, a spherical media player designed to hook into Google’s Play online store was marginally more interesting, but only because of the 32 colour-changing LEDs that were ringed around it.

Apple found itself in trouble in Italy for failing to make customers sufficiently aware of their statutory rights, Atari hit 40, and the EU ruled that we have the right to sell software we’ve bought whether it was supplied on a physical medium or not. Oh, and the rumours of a 7in iPad were so deafening that MacUser felt comfortable previewing it as ‘Coming Soon.’

August lived up to its reputation as a month where big news stories hit day after day, with no shortage of competitors for front page headlines. The Independent’s LA correspondent, Guy Adams had his Twitter account suspended after criticising NBC’s coverage of the Olympics, journalist Mat Honan had is iCloud account hacked and, more remarkably, extracted an admission of responsibility from Apple.

Later in the month, Twitter caused a storm of protest among developers by placing strict limitations on the use of its API, a rival network, App.net launched, and MPEG issued a draft specification for H.265.

There was only one story that mattered in September: the launch of a new iPod nano, which reverted to its tall, thin shape and regained the ability to play and record video, and a new iPod touch range in multiple colours. Oh, and Apple also launched the iPhone 5. But few cared about the taller screen, the support for 4G, or the new Lightning Dock connector. Despite the collective shrug, the new iPhone sold out within an hour of being made available for pre-order.

It wasn’t all good news for Apple, however. It was forced to apologise to users for the disastrous Maps app in iOS 6, and it ran into trouble with Swiss railway operator SBB over the look of the clock on the iPad in the new operating system.

Perhaps the most anticipated product in Apple’s history was unveiled in October when Phil Schiller held an iPad in one hand and proclaimed that the pencil-thin mini weighed the same as a pad of paper and was the iPad Apple had meant to make all along. It was, said just about every review, an iPad you had to pick up and use before you could really appreciate its brilliance. The rest said that it was just an iPad 2 in a smaller case, but we ignored them.

Apple also launched the iPad with Retina Display that day, confusing everyone who had thought that the new iPad was an iPad with a Retina Display. Most ignored Apple’s daft name and called it the iPad 4.

Days before Halloween, Tim Cook flexed his CEO muscle and and sacked retail chief and former Dixons head, John Browett, and made sure that Scott Forstall will have the best-tended garden in Palo Alto. He also persuaded Bob Mansfield to put his retirement on hold in return for several million dollars-worth of stock options.

November brought few fireworks, save for the departure of Windows chief, Steven Sinofsky from Microsoft. Apple’s iTunes head, Eddy Cue joined the board of Ferrari, ensuring that the software for future models will be a bug-ridden, ill-thought out, kludge-filled mess. Foxconn told us what we had known for weeks: that it was having trouble keeping up with demand for the iPhone 5. And Apple’s stock re-bounded having fallen as low as $508 a share.

Richard O’Dwyer and his family received an early Christmas present when the Sheffield student reached a deferred prosecution agreement with US Immigration and Customs and finally had the threat of extradition and a US jail sentence removed. Rupert Murdoch shut his iPad newspaper, The Daily and Tim Cook announced that Apple would move production of one Mac range to the US.

Also in December, Instagram upset Twitter users, Eric Schmidt dissed Microsoft, and we discovered that iOS 6 users spend four times as much on apps as their Android counterparts.

And, finally, on Christmas Day 328m iOS and Android apps were downloaded and 17.4 million new devices were activated. Some people will do anything to avoid the washing up.

2013 promises to be, well, another year. Whatever it holds, if it concerns Apple, or matters to Mac users, MacUser will report it in print, online, on your iOS device and on Twitter.

Thanks for being here in 2012 and a very guid New Year to ane an’ a’.

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