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The year in Apple: Cupertino rides roller coaster through 2012

26 Dec 2012
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Apple saw its 2012 year hit record numbers as the company also struggled to maintain quality standards in its first full year without Steve Jobs.

The company's stock hit record highs over the course of the year as new product launches helped make Apple one of the richest corporations in history, while a shoddy product release brought one of the firm's most embarrassing moments in its history.

Patent disputes were an ongoing theme for Apple in 2012. The company fought through a number of legal challenges over the year, both as plaintiff and defendant against a list of Android device vendors which included Samsung, HTC and Motorola.

The Samsung case played out throughout 2012 as the company moved to block the import of Samsung Galaxy devices in a number of countries around the globe due to patent infringements. Apple was partially successful in its efforts, securing legal victories in the US which lead to a $1bn penalty against Samsung.

The strategy was less successful in the UK. Not only did Apple lose its claim of patent infringement, but the court also forced the company to issue a public apology for its claims.

Apple's litigious streak carried on to other Android vendors as well. The company filed similar infringement claims against HTC and Motorola, accusing the vendors of violating its patents related to the iOS device family.

While Apple spent much of 2012 in court, the company also made headlines in 2012 with a series of new mobile devices. Perhaps the most anticipated handset launch in years occurred in September when the company unveiled the iPhone 5.

The iPhone 5 represented a design departure from Apple as the company for the first time extended the screen size of the handset to keep pace with the larger form factors offered by competing Android devices.

The new iPhone proved a hit for Apple, moving some five million units in its first weekend of sales alone.

Not all was well with the launch, however. Apple's decision to drop the Google Maps application and go in-house with its own mapping tool blew up in the company's face when the tool proved buggy and inaccurate.

The software was so poor that chief executive Tim Cook was moved to issue a public apology to customers and begin an overhaul of the iOS management team.

Overshadowed by the drama from the iPhone 5 release was the unveiling of a new iPad model. The 7in iPad Mini added a small-tablet option to the iPad family and expanded the range of the iOS line to compete with the growing tablet market.

The strong sales helped to send Apple's stock soaring higher than ever. The company logged record numbers in its quarterly reports yet again. The company made history in September when its stock price surpassed the $700 mark.

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Shaun Nichols

Shaun Nichols is the US correspondent for He has been with the company since 2006, originally joining as a news intern at the site's San Francisco offices.

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