It took until September for Apple to release a significant new product, but the wait was well worth it. From the release of the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus to the introduction of the Apple Watch, 2014 was the year Apple proved yet again never to count them out.
The following are the top 10 Apple stories of the year.
Tim Cook comes out
On Oct. 30, Tim Cook told the world that he was gay.
The Apple CEO never hid his sexual orientation from those around him, noting “I actually don’t think it is going to be very big news within Apple. As he says in the piece, plenty of people know that he is gay. It’s never been a big deal. No one has ever treated him or he’s never detected being treated any differently. Within Apple there will be a lot of people who will be proud of him and happy for him, and then by 9:05 go back to the work they have to do.”
So why go public?
Throughout my professional life, I’ve tried to maintain a basic level of privacy. I come from humble roots, and I don’t seek to draw attention to myself. Apple is already one of the most closely watched companies in the world, and I like keeping the focus on our products and the incredible things our customers achieve with them.
At the same time, I believe deeply in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, who said: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’ ” I often challenge myself with that question, and I’ve come to realize that my desire for personal privacy has been holding me back from doing something more important. That’s what has led me to today.
The iPhone 6 Plus and “Bendgate”
As it turned out, the number of iPhone 6 Plus users who accidentally bent their handsets was very small. So small, in fact, that the story quickly went away.
The iMac with Retina 5K display
The MacBook Air was long expected to be the next Apple product to get the Retina display treatment. In fact, it was the 27-inch iMac with a 5K Retina display that made it past the finish line first.
Apple buys Beats and other companies
In 2014, Apple purchased Beats Electronics for $3 billion. This was the biggest of at least 20 acquisitions the company made during the year.
Apple’s confirmed acquisitions in recent months included the micro-LED company LuxVue, the “social” search engine Spotsetter, the “Pandora for books” BookLamp, the “Pandora for talk radio” Swell, and the Newsstand-optimized digital magazine platform Prss.
Apple and IBM team up
In September, Cupertino finally unveiled its long-rumored “iWatch.” The Apple Watch will finally make its debut in early 2015, and represents the first new product line of the Tim Cook era.
The U2 moment
Apple thought it would be a nice idea to give iTunes customers a free copy of U2′s latest album, “Songs of Innocence.” Instead, the giveaway will likely be remembered as Apple’s least thought out idea of the year.
What Apple learned: People love receiving freebies — except when they are automatically installed on their iOS devices, thereby taking up valuable storage space.
This summer, hackers broke into certain iCloud accounts and released naked photos of celebrities, including Jennifer Lawrence. Apple removed the vulnerably, but its credibility did take a hit, at least temporarily.
NFC-based payment systems aren’t new. However, it wasn’t until Apple Pay was released that the technology had a chance to make significant inroads with the mainstream.
Apple’s stock splits and soars
In April, Apple announced a rare stock split. On June 6, Apple’s shares split on a 7-to-1 basis.
With three days of trading left in 2014, Apple’s share price is on fire. For the year, AAPL is up nearly 43 percent. Since 2009, the stock has soared 309 percent.
What are you favorite Apple stories of 2014?