2018 was a landmark year for Apple, one that saw the Cupertino company grow up to new heights as a business, including a thrill that saw it surpass the $ 1 trillion in market value to become the first US company to beat that mark.
And yet, when Apple's stock rises higher than ever, the year as a whole for the company was strange, with new software and hardware that either largely maintained or bought outdated products back to the status quo, but didn't really see the company moving the innovation marker in the future.
The year started with more of a decoration than a bang, with the delayed HomePod speaker finally shipping in early February. The loudspeaker itself was great from a hardware perspective, but a price of $ 350, some furniture-staining events and limited software support have seen Apple's entry into the smart speaker range escape while rivals such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home have flourished.
On the iPad front, we saw two completely different updates for Apple's tablet: a new, budget-friendly entry-level iPad with training in mind, and the powerful iPad Pro upgrades from the fall. The hardware is still some of the best tablets in the business, at least compared to other mobile operating systems like Android. But Apple has more than ever insisted that the iPad is a complete computer replacement … and whatever your feelings on that path, the software in the current form of iOS 1
In fact, the company's major software updates – iOS 12, macOS Mojave and watchOS 5 – were some of the most low-key updates from Apple for some time, instead taking the time to lay the foundations for major upgrades in future.
iOS 12 may not have brought many great features to the iPhone or iPad, but it was free of the seemingly endless stream of errors last year iOS 11 suffered. Instead, this year's update made a successful speed increase, especially for older units. Screen Time is also a timely addition – though it is still a limited tool, Apple at least begins to think about the impact these devices have on our lives.
Likewise, macOS Mojave may not have failed to fail – dark mode is not exactly a reason to rush out and upgrade, the foundation Apple adds here for further transitions between iOS and macOS with the addition of Marzipan app frames could lead to some major changes further down the line.
2018 was also an interesting year for the Mac: Apple's mainstream computers, such as the iMac and MacBook Pro, didn't get a lot of love, but later it received only a small specification and update in June. But on the other hand, Apple finally gave users what they've been asking for for years in an updated Mac Mini and MacBook Air.
But the fact that Apple is still slow to update its computers to the latest and largest internal specifications remains attached. Well, a new MacBook Air is great, but if Apple can't maintain specifications to keep up with times, it will be quickly redefined by the competition. And the fact that big products like last year's iMac Pro and Touch Bar-less MacBook Pro went all year round without a special upgrade not exactly an encouraging start. Instead, MacBook made headlines for hardware issues with its butterfly keyboards, which Apple eventually had to fix with a new protective membrane on its updated models. The latest, most powerful Core i9 MacBook Pros has also suffered from a bizarre lack of "digital key" that resulted in degraded performance to Apple issued a fast patch.
Apple Watch received the most attention from some of Apple's hardware this year and after several misfires, Apple seems to be finally resetting.
For iPhone, it's still the biggest and most crucial part of Apple's business, but this year Apple apparently took the year with its iPhone updates. The iPhone XS and XS Max can be the finest hardware Apple has released, but the changes are incredibly incremental compared to last year's iPhone X and iPhone XR, while the most powerful "base" model around iPhone costs more than the cheapest new iPhone from in last year. And despite improvements to the camera, Apple is still stuck and playing up to Google's Pixel software. Instead, it had to fix the new iPhone's "Beautygate", where an error in Apple's imaging software resulted in very over-processed images.
And of course, it's still the missing AirPower charger, which Apple announced back in 2017 next to the iPhone X. AirPower still hasn't sent and in addition to Apple has Almost not completely mentioned it from the site, suggesting that there are major issues with the product.
Given that this is a report card, Apple must be tagged for what it did not this year: unlike companies like Facebook or Google, Apple did not suffer any major breaches of security or scandals where it was revealed to have given access to the personal information of millions of users. Which, unfortunately, is something to be welcomed. Privacy and security have long been a selling point from Apple, and in 2018, where it seemed almost everyday, was an endless series of security issues, the company's fairly immaculate track record volumes speak.
All in all, Apple had a fine 2018, throwing up some of the gaps in its lineup and building a better foundation for the future. It may not have been the most exciting year, and there are still big questions about whether Apple can continue to develop its strategy ahead, or whether it will continue to make improvements this year or just let those products melt in ambiguity for another. half a decade. But hopefully, 2019 will start giving some answers to these questions, and some new leaps ahead.
Final grade: B
Verge 2018 report card: Apple
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- Gold Stars
- Continued industry leader in security
- Stable software
- Solid, secure, product updates
Need for improvement
- Hardware issues
- HomePod fizzled out
- ] Sales momentum iffy