Apple's biggest stories of 2015

A look back at a turbulent year for Apple.

apple tim cook
Credit: REUTERS/Robert Galbraith
An eventful year

As is to be expected, Apple had a wild year in 2015. Over the past 12 months, we saw the company reach new financial highs and release a number of new products. From the highly anticipated Apple Watch to Samsung finally agreeing to pay Apple for patent infringement, not a month in 2015 went by without some sort of big and memorable Apple story. With 2016 fast approaching, we've compiled a list of the most interesting and noteworthy Apple stories from the past year.

1 apple watch
Credit: Apple
Apple Watch release

After years of speculation and months of build up, Apple this past April finally released its first wearable, the Apple Watch. Arguably the biggest Apple story of 2015, the Apple Watch represents the first new product category Apple entered since the 2010 release of the iPad. Interestingly enough, Apple has yet to release any sales figures regarding its new wearable. Nonetheless, Apple's wearable appears to be a growing success, with Tim Cook noting that Apple continues to sell more units in each successive quarter.

2 iphone
Credit: Apple
iPhone 6s release

Continuing Apple's longstanding tradition of mobile innovation, 2016 saw the release of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. In addition to the usual smattering of hardware enhancements and camera improvements, Apple's new iPhones introduced us to 3D Touch, a new gesture that allows the device to recognize the pressure being applied to the display. While pundits would have you believe that iPhone sales have already peaked, Apple’s new iPhone models set a new weekend launch record, moving over 13 million units during its first three days of availability.

3 apple tv
Credit: Apple
Apple TV 4

After years of treating the Apple TV like a hobby, Apple in 2015 finally gave its famed hockey puck the upgrade it deserves. For starters, the new Apple TV remote has Siri functionality built right into the remote, thus making it extremely easy to find the programming you're looking for without having to type it in slowly. Additionally, the new Apple TV comes with support for its own full-fledged App Store, thus paving the way for developers to deliver truly captivating and exciting new gaming experiences.

4 apple car
Credit: Apple
The rumored 'Apple Car'

The biggest Apple rumor of 2015 centered on one thing and one thing only: Apple building its own car. While the idea at first glance seemed utterly preposterous, it's hard to ignore mounting piles of evidence pointing in that direction. Over the past 12 months, Apple hired a number of former auto industry executives, including more than a few Tesla engineers, and has reportedly assembled a team in the hundreds tasked with exploring the development of an electric vehicle. In fact, Bloomberg even went so far as to predict that Apple would have a car ready to go by 2019.

5 macbook
Credit: Apple
New MacBook

2015 saw a new laptop release from Apple in the form of a completely revamped MacBook. Built to be ultra-portable, the new MacBook is extremely thin and, in a controversial design decision, only features one port - a USB-C port. Also noteworthy is that both the trackpad and keyboard feature new designs to allow for a thinner form factor. Though priced on the expensive side, the new MacBook is built for portability, not power.

6 samsung
Samsung pays Apple

It wasn't all that long ago that Steve Jobs threatened to “go thermonuclear” on Google. Shortly thereafter, Apple in 2011 began suing a number of Android manufacturers, the biggest of which was Samsung. Following a contentious legal battle that spanned the globe, Apple, in its most high-profile trial, managed to secure a nearly $1 billion judgment against Samsung. Following a few more years of back-and-forth legal battles, and a reduction in damages it owed, Samsung finally agreed to pay Apple in December, seemingly putting an end to a fascinating and drawn-out legal battle.

7 ipad pro
Credit: Apple
iPad Pro release

With iPad sales on the decline for a number of consecutive quarters, Apple in late 2015 released a brand new iPad that it hopes can help rejuvenate sales. Dubbed the iPad Pro, Apple's new iPad incorporates a giant 12.9-inch screen, improved speakers, a whole lot of RAM, and, above all else, support for a new and innovative stylus dubbed the Apple Pencil.

8 apple music from thinkstock
Credit: Thinkstock
Apple Music release

Though iTunes once dominated the music industry, the world has since moved on to streaming and subscription-based models. Faced with the rise of competing services like Pandora and Spotify, Apple this year finally joined the party with the release of Apple Music. Priced at $9.99/month, Apple is hoping that it can leverage its immense iOS user base and generate a new and substantial revenue stream. Though the initial rollout of Apple Music was plagued by innumerable bugs, not to mention quirky and inconsistent UI design, Apple has since improved upon its new streaming service immensely.

9 apple tv
Credit: Apple
Apple abandons its TV subscription service

One of the most intriguing Apple rumors of 2015 centered on Apple's supposed interest in rolling out a live TV subscription service. Originally intended to coincide with the release of the 4th-gen Apple TV, the subscription service was reportedly going to include a selection of 20 to 25 channels with a price point in the $40 range. But, as it turns out, the latest reports indicate that Apple is dropping its TV subscription plan due to ongoing disputes with content producers regarding both pricing and bundling issues.

10 ios 9
Credit: Apple
iOS 9 release

2015 saw the release of iOS 9, Apple’s latest mobile OS. Notably, Apple’s primary goals with iOS 9 were to improve overall stability and enhance system performance. Nonetheless, the update still includes a number of impressive new features, including transit directions built into Apple Maps, enhanced Siri functionality, and a low battery mode to get the most out of your device when juice is running low.

11 steve jobs movie
Steve Jobs movie

While not the first Steve Jobs biopic, the release of JOBS this past October was one of the year's most anticipated films. Written by Aaron Sorkin, the film sadly did not live up to expectations. In a word, the film was a flop and did not resonate with viewers in the slightest. Speaking to this point, the film was pulled from theaters just a few short weeks after its initial run.

12 apple success
Credit: REUTERS/Mike Segar
Big money

Despite all of the negative attention and pessimism that seemingly follows Apple around like a black cloud, the company's fiscal 2015 was its most successful in history. It sold more iPhones and made more money than ever before. In the process, Apple stock also went for a wild ride. Though down at the moment, Apple at one point set a new market share record when its stock crept into the $130+ per share range.

13 ipad decline
Credit: Apple
Declining iPad sales

Another big Apple story in 2015 focused on the ongoing and curious decline in iPad sales. Despite Apple’s best efforts with the iPad Mini and iPad Air, Apple’s tablet sales continued to trend downward quarter after quarter. In fact, Mac revenue during Apple's most recent quarter was higher than that of the iPad. Looking forward, it remains to be seen if the iPad Pro can help reverse this trend.