Apple

Apple Talk: Good times, bad times for Apple in 2010

All the pyrotechnics from the iPad sky rocket to the Ping damp squib…

...Jobs returned to the company he founded. A former IBM CFO, York was acknowledged for his part in turning Big Blue around.

Jobs said in a statement: "Jerry joined Apple's board in 1997 when most doubted the company's future. He has been a pillar of financial and business expertise and insight on our board for over a dozen years. It's been a privilege to know and work with Jerry and I'm going to miss him a lot."

After the iPad's successful launch, the company shifted its focus to the iPhone with the announcement of new software that would feature on the yet-to-be-announced new model.

iOS 4 was to feature multitasking, a unified email inbox, a new way of organising apps and some iPad features, including the iBooks e-reader.

In May, Apple's market capitalisation of about $222bn edged past Microsoft's $219bn for the first time since 1989. It was an incredible moment. When I first started covering Apple in the late 1990s, its market capitalisation normally sat between $5bn and $10bn. Apple's had an incredible decade.

It is now the biggest tech company in the world and the second biggest corporate entity behind Exxon Mobil overall. A huge transformation for the company that was struggling to survive until Jobs returned to the helm back in the late 1990s. No wonder Fortune named him CEO of the decade.

Steve Jobs at the iPhone 4 launch

June began with Steve Jobs unveiling the iPhone 4 and ended with the Antennagate furore
(Photo credit: James Martin/CNET)

In recognition of the company's stellar growth, this column also changed its name to Apple Talk from the now inappropriate Minority Report.

June kicked off with the Worldwide Developer Conference and it was all about one thing - the iPhone 4.

The industrial design of the device was no surprise - gadget blog Gizmodo had already published detailed images of a test unit that had been inadvertently left in a bar by an Apple employee.

The fourth-generation iPhone introduced FaceTime video-calling, multitasking, and a new uninsulated stainless steel design, which acted as the phone's antenna - more on that in a moment. When the iPhone hit the stores in late June, the queues were huge, inevitably.

Then Antennagate struck.

It started as a trickle of YouTube videos with users complaining that holding the iPhone 4 in certain way caused the signal to drop out. Soon the trickle became a tsunami. Apple announced it was changing the way the phone displayed bars showing reception strength. The company responded badly to the criticism and there was outrage on the web.

Apple announced an iPhone-related press conference. There was heady talk of a mass product recall. No chance.

The Apple top brass merely revealed that all phones suffered from signal attenuation when gripped tightly. It did concede that the antenna issue was bothering some customers and offered free cases through a web-based programme.

Did Antennagate harm iPhone sales? Not a chance. The company would report record-breaking sales of the device with record-breaking revenues to match. When it announced its fourth quarter results in October, Apple was making revenues of $20bn a quarter for the first time in its history.

The company did have more bad news to announce about the iPhone - the white iPhone 4 was having serious manufacturing issues and was delayed until 2011.

Meanwhile, Mark Papermaster, the SVP of devices hardware engineering that Apple lured from IBM, also left the company. Were the two incidents related?

September saw Apple bring out new iPods, a new, reimagined Apple TV and a rare bum note in the form of an iTunes-based social network called Ping.

There was also a huge surprise in the form of...

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