2014 Apple review: Tim Cook’s big year

Network World | Dec 23, 2014

Was 2014 the year that Tim Cook finally made his mark on Apple? Business is going great and the company is starting to think different than the Steve Jobs era.

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WAS 2014 THE YEAR THAT TIM COOK FINALLY MADE HIS MARK ON APPLE?
BUSINESS IS GOING GREAT AND THE COMPANY IS STARTING TO THINK DIFFERENT THAN THE JOBS ERA. HERE’S OUR APPLE YEAR-END REVIEW.

The big product of the year was the iPhone 6, sporting a new look and feel on both the inside and outside.

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Tim Cook
CEO, Apple

iOS got a major refresh, it’s first since 2007, and Apple finally answered the demands of consumers with a large-screen model, something that Steve Jobs had always been said to be against.

The phone went down well with consumers. The lines at the Apple Store in Palo Alto were around the block and helped Apple hit an iPhone sales record - 39 million in the third quarter.

Soon after launch, a video posted online by YouTube personality Lewis Hilsenteger created a storm when he showed how easy it was to bend an iPhone 6 Plus. The media called it Bendgate, a frenzy ensued and just as quickly died. Apple said only nine people had complained of bending phones.

iOS brought new interactive notifications and multitasking screen features. It also has HealthKit that puts all of your fitness and health data from apps into one place.

The launch of iOS 8 wasn’t quite as smooth at first. Apple’s first update to correct a number of bugs was quickly pulled after customers reported problems connecting to a cell network and using TouchID. A fix to fix the fix was later released.

Apple’s tablet business continues to slow, but Cook says he still believes in the business. He demonstrated his commitment with a couple of new models, the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3.

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Tim Cook
CEO, Apple

In more signs of the Tim Cook era, the first two major products under the CEO don’t have the i name- they’re Apple Pay and Apple Watch.

Apple Pay is a payment system that lets you make a credit or debit card payment simply by tapping your iPhone to the NFC chip reader in a payment terminal.

Apple was careful to line up partners more than 500 banks and all major credit card companies are working with Apple Pay.

But it’s facing pushback from large retailers that have a competing mobile payment app called CurrentC. WalMart, CVS, Rite Aid and other retailers disabled the NFC payment function on in-store terminals to block mobile payments from Apple Pay.

Now onto the Apple Watch, the company’s highly-anticipated smartwatch. Apple showed it back in September, but we still don’t know that much about it.

Apple’s competitors came out with a slew of smartwatches this year, but none of them have become a market-defining product. Some people are expecting the Apple Watch to be just that. Stay tuned in 2015.

Another way that Tim Cook stamped his mark on Apple- the $3 billion dollar acquisition of Beats Electronics.

Apple doesn’t typically make large acquisitions, rather choosing to develop new products on its own. But this deal brought Apple the Beats headphones business, the Beats Music subscriptions service, and some high-profile acqui-hires: co-founders Jimmy I-veen and Dr. Dre.

Apple found itself briefly in the scandal spotlight when nude photos of celebrities were leaked online. Hackers got access to naked images of actresses and models, including movie star Jennifer Lawrence, that were stored in Apple’s iCloud.

Apple said the leaked photos were not because of a breach in any of its cloud systems, but rather a targeted attack on user names, passwords and security questions. Still, after the incident, Apple strengthened iCloud security.

After seeing all of the new products this year,it was time to say goodbye to one.
The iPod Classic, launched in 2001, is no more. Tim Cook said it was pulled because Apple could no longer get the necessary parts.

And that’s our 2014 Apple review. Thanks for watching and be sure to check out our other year-end videos. In San Francisco, Melissa Aparicio, IDG News Service.