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Inside Apple's 2011: Steve Jobs' achievements, battles and crises

post #1 of 31
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For Apple, 2011 marked a year of incredible accomplishments, capping a decade of deftly executed strategies including the development of Mac OS X, ten years of the iPod and the ten year anniversary of Apple Retail stores. But the year was also marked with technological tragedy, from Steve Jobs' final struggle with cancer to the cataclysmic earthquakes and tsunamis in Japan and flooding in Thailand.

Mac App Store revolutionizes PC software distribution

The year began with Apple launching Mac OS X 10.6.6 Snow Leopard with support for the Mac App Store, an initiative Jobs had outlined in an October presentation focusing on Mac OS X 10.7 Lion. Jobs said Apple wouldn't wait for Lion to launch the new digital downloads marketplace, promising it would launch by itself in the next 90 days.

Apple subsequently launched the Mac App Store weeks ahead of schedule at the beginning of January, and throughout 2011 it completely shifted how desktop software was sold. This month, the company announced a year long figure of 100 million downloads.

Apple shifted its own consumer iLife and iWork suites to digital downloads, eventually adding its entire lineup of Pro Apps to the store as well, from Aperture to Final Cut, Motion, Compressor, Logic Pro and MainStage. Apple also made available its Remote Desktop package, as well as the new FaceTime for Mac. The company's biggest release, however, was Mac OS X Lion, which shipped in July as the first digital download of a commercial PC operating system.



Apple also released Mac OS X Server as a $50 App Store download, a radically simplified version of the package that formerly sold for $500. While more accessible to small office users, the package drew complaints from enterprise users who found the scaled down software ill fitted for their large deployments. Apple had also backed out of the server hardware business, canceling the Xserve at the beginning of the year and offering a Mac mini Server appliance in its place.

More than just bringing the iOS App Store to the Mac, the new marketplace for desktop software dramatically shifted software prices downward, with Apple shaving hundreds of dollars from its higher end software packages in the transition from paper boxes and discs to digital downloads. By discounting its software, Apple made its own titles more competitive while lowering the bar for what third parties could ask for their competing titles, ranging from Microsoft's Office to Adobe's Lightroom to Avid and even Microsoft's Windows, a package the company has struggled to raise the price of with a series of "editions" and upgrade options. The $29.99 Mac OS X makes any version of Windows now look awfully expensive.

In addition to shifting the price of software, the Mac App Store has also changed how desktop users obtain their software, greatly minimizing the need for an optical drive in a continuation of how iTunes and the iPod made CDs and DVDs far less necessary. Combined with network disc sharing and the new firmware Internet Repair install and restore features Apple delivered alongside the new 2011 MacBook Air models running Mac OS X Lion, the optical drive appears slated for retirement, at least among Mac users, starting 2012 as a new decade of Mac OS X development.



Jobs takes leave, continues working with iPad 2

Less than two weeks after the Mac App Store launched, Jobs announced he would take a medial leave of absence while remaining in his role as chief executive and staying involved in major strategic decisions.

While battling his health issues, Jobs continued to make regular public appearances. In February, Jobs joined a small group of Silicon Valley tech luminaries to meet with President Barack Obama in a discussion aimed at promoting technological innovation in an effort to boost the U.S. economy. Jobs presented Obama with a prerelease iPad 2.



Jobs made a surprise appearance introducing the iPad 2 in March, his first in front of an audience. The revamped new tablet went on to obliterate competition from firms that had spent billions to challenge the iPad, ranging from Google's Android 3.0 Honeycomb used by Motorola and Samsung to a flurry of tablets by Asus, Lenovo, Samsung and others running Microsoft's Windows 7 to HP's webOS TouchPad to RIM's PlayBook, all four of which were absolutely crushed by the iPad in 2011.



Jobs had previously described the iPad as "the most important thing Ive ever done," according to Michael Arrington, who observed, just prior to the release of the original iPad, that "coming from the man who has created so much, thats saying something."

On page 2 of 3: Jobs introduces iCloud, forces ahead open standards

Jobs introduces iCloud, shuts down the PC-centric "digital hub" he booted up

Jobs also appeared at Apple's summer Worldwide Developer Conference in June to introduce iCloud as the "next big insight," replacing the PC "digital hub" he had introduced around the iMac ten years ago. In its place, Jobs would deliver upon his vision for bringing to the masses the type of cloud storage network technologies that had been put into place at NeXT in the early 90s. Rather than requiring a link to iTunes to set up new iOS devices, Jobs outlined a "PC Free" setup for iOS 5 that would enable users to link directly to iCloud and related features including iTunes Match without needing a local "digital hub," a major change in Apple's mobile device strategy.

Upon returning to Apple in 1997, Jobs had outlined the future of cloud computing at that year's WWDC. By the end of 2011, Apple delivered upon the initial premise of iCloud, with support in Mac OS X Lion, iOS 5, and in its iCloud web applications. The company is continuing work to enhance and expand upon those efforts.



Six months earlier, Samsung had unveiled at CES its own "digital hub" strategy, following in Jobs' footsteps from ten years prior but substituting the iMac with its "Smart TVs" running Adobe Flash and apps authored in AIR.

Jobs kills off Flash, Silverlight and forces ahead open standards: HTML5 and H.264

Along with Samsung, Google, HP, RIM, and a variety of other tablet makers had supported Flash in an effort to differentiate their products from Apple's Flash-free iOS devices. But by the end of the year, Adobe would concede defeat for Flash on mobile products, deferring instead to support the open HTML5 specification as Jobs had recommended years earlier.

Microsoft also abandoned its own Silverlight platform this year, similarly citing iOS as the reason it shifted its support to HTML5. Microsoft's push to embrace more open standards and technologies reflects its failed battle with Apple's iPod, MP3s and H.264/AAC, which Microsoft waged for years at astronomical costs. Its own efforts to push proprietary DRM with Windows Media Audio and WMV (aka VC-1) not only crashed with the failed HD-DVD format, but also its iPod competitor PlaysForSure and the company's Zune products, which it finally decided to terminate this year to focus on smartphones.

Google, which strongly backed Adobe's Flash both in Android and in YouTube and its other web properties, continued its own largely ineffectual efforts this year to push Adobe's proprietary Flash alongside its "royalty free" but patent encumbered WebM video codec in a bizarre effort to attack the ISO's H.264 video specification as "not open enough" because it involved patent licensing just like its own proprietary apps for Android or Flash itself.

While promoting itself as open, Google also closed access to its Android 3.0 code throughout the entire year. That left Apple's WebKit as the only truly open, major platform throughout 2011. The WebKit open source project, which Apple has used to push the open HTML5 specification it helped to develop alongside Google and other partners, has long been the largest open development platform, exceeding Android's roughly 50 percent share of all mobile devices by nearly a factor of two.

Last October, Jobs pointed out during an Apple conference call that "Google loves to characterize Android as 'open' and iOS and iPhone as 'closed.' We find this a bit disingenuous and clouding the real difference between our two approaches." He added that "many Android OEMs, including the two largest, HTC and Motorola, install proprietary user interfaces to differentiate themselves from the commodity Android experience. The user's left to figure it all out. Compare this with iPhone, where every handset works the same."

Jobs also described various Android app stores as "a mess for both users and developers" and noted that "many Android apps work only on selected handsets, or selected Android versions," alluding to the fact that most Android phones still run an OS release roughly a year old, and often can't be updated for 3 to 6 months after Google makes an update available, observations that remained accurate throughout the year.

On page 3 of 3: Jobs unveils new Apple campus, Apple loses Steve Jobs, continues his vision

Jobs unveils new Apple campus

The next day after his early June WWDC appearance, Jobs made a third appearance at the Cupertino City Council to outline his plans for Apple Campus 2, a project to convert HP's abandoned Pruneridge campus into a tree covered green space surrounding a circular building larger than the Pentagon, capable of housing more than 12,000 workers.









Apple loses Steve Jobs, continues his vision

While Apple's most blockbuster year ever, in 2011 the company lost its co-founder at the peak of his accomplishments. Just two weeks after Apple surpassed the market capitalization of Exxon Mobil to become the most valuable public company, Jobs announced he could "no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apples CEO," and recommended that Tim Cook serve as his replacement.

Jobs continued to sit on Apple's board as Chairman until October 5, when the company announced Jobs had passed away, just one day after announcing his final product to see released at Apple, the iPhone 4S packing the Siri technology he had presided over the development of through the past year.

Two as yet unreleased projects Jobs also oversaw that have not yet been fully released as products involve two other acquisitions Apple made in 2011. The first, C3 Technologies of Sweden, is a 3D mapping company Apple acquired in August, and the third map-related firm the company has bought up recently.



In 2009, Apple purchased Placebase, a Google Maps competitor, sparking speculation that it was looking to decrease its dependance on Google technology for the Maps application on the iPhone. Last year, it acquired Web-based map company Poly 9, which had developed a "cross-browser, cross-platform 3D globe" product. Apple also began using its own databases for location-based services, and posted positions throughout the year looking for applicants to help "radically improve how people interact with maps and location-based services."

A second major acquisition by Apple was finalized in December, involving Israeli firm Anobit. While involving the company's "Memory Signal Processing" technology for optimizing the reliability, performance, efficiency and endurance of flash memory, the purchase appears to dovetail into a series of acquisitions Apple has made in the past half decade involving chip design, including Intrinsity in 2010 and P.A. Semi in 2008. Those acquisitions appear to have contributed to the development of Apple's A5, which were used to power this year's iPad 2 and iPhone 4S.



Apple under Tim Cook

Apple continues under Cook, who Jobs recommended as chief executive after serving Apple for 13 years as its chief operations officer. Cook turned around the company's operational mess and turned Apple into a brutally competitive machine, making key, billion dollar investments in components and technologies. Cook's deft handling of Apple's operations, while also managing portions of Jobs' executive role throughout the year as his health worsened, enabled Apple to weather such storms as the earthquakes and tsunamis that devastated Japan and shut down key component manufacturing there.

Cook also managed Apple's operations through flooding in Thailand that disrupted the manufacture of hard drives (although many of Apple's key products now use sold state memory rather than conventional disks) and targeted the handling of regional crises such as Hurricane Irene, which shut down retail stores on the East Coast.



Cook's Apple itself has disrupted the global market, shifting demand away from disk drives and DRAM and toward NAND flash memory while features such as the company's aluminum unibody designs have left "Ultrabook" competitors incapable of delivering competitive products.

A report by the Wall Street Journal described Cook as molding Apple with a more streamlined operating structure with improved internal communication, and Cook has expressed a strong regard for the principles of supplier responsibility in labor and human rights, health and safety, the environment, ethics, and management commitment among the companies Apple does business with, promising to perpetuate the culture Jobs instilled in the company he crafted.

Inside Apple's 2011: Mac hardware and Mac OS X
Inside Apple's 2011: iPod, iPhone & iPad
Inside Apple's 2011: iOS, Apps & iCloud
post #2 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

While promoting itself as open, Google also closed access to its Android 3.0 code throughout the entire year.

Corrections,
Android 3.0 source code was released in mid-November, not quite making closed access for "the entire year".
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post #3 of 31
It was the year of the iPad not the copycats.
post #4 of 31
Apple innovates, the rest imitates.
post #5 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

Corrections,
Android 3.0 source code was released in mid-November, not quite making closed access for "the entire year".

Not so much a correction as you being pedantic. I suppose if it Honeycomb was still locked today you'd say that we can't be sure it was locked for "the entire year" because we don't know if Google would open up before new year hits.

edit: Personally, I would have been more precise but that's just the way I roll*.


* Not literally rolling.

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #6 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Not so much a correction as you being pedantic. I suppose if it Honeycomb was still locked today you'd say that we can't be sure it was locked for "the entire year" because we don't know if Google would open up before new year hits.

Since it isn't then it's of no matter guessing then. We all have our pedantic moments I guess.

If it wasn't one of his favorite clubs to use in talking points I probably wouldn't have bothered mentioning it. I have no idea why a discussion of whether Google is open or not was included in the first place or in any way pertinent to the article. Wasn't it supposed to be about Apple in 2011 and Steve Jobs accomplishments and crises?
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post #7 of 31
I honestly wonder that if most of the VP's at Apple were not there if Apple wold continue as the company it is today?
An Apple man since 1977
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post #8 of 31
I have enjoyed this last 10 years. Living through a period of faster than usual innovation.

But it was Steve that did that. Committees fumble along, and do advance, but it is individuals with a spark that pick up the pace.

It is the American Peoples' love of individual achievement that allows them to maintain a faster pace than other countries, but they seem willing to throw the individual to the lions these days. e.g. if the group needs healthcare then the individual be damned.

I have been an Apple fan for a long time, but I wonder if I was really a Steve fan all along? If a new startup with a similar genius comes along, will I switch allegiances?
post #9 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

Since it isn't then it's of no matter guessing then. We all have our pedantic moments I guess.

If it wasn't one of his favorite clubs to use in talking points I probably wouldn't have bothered mentioning it. I have no idea why a discussion of whether Google is open or not was included in the first place or in any way pertinent to the article. Wasn't it supposed to be about Apple in 2011 and Steve Jobs accomplishments and crises?

Did a google search of AI, and I couldn't find any mention of DED pointing that out before. Perhaps you can cite where he's used this "favorite club"?

Also, the discussion of Google being "open or not" was based on WHAT STEVE JOBS SAID. Also, one can't list Jobs' accomplishments & battles for 2011 without addressing Android, where Google tried to take it, and how it failed.

And since this is 2011 and not 2010, DED is addressing Honeycomb more than Google TV!
post #10 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corrections View Post

Did a google search of AI, and I couldn't find any mention of DED pointing that out before. Perhaps you can cite where he's used this "favorite club"?

You might want to search again, you can do a simple search on this site and get examples
post #11 of 31
Steve Jobs will be missed for years to come for the things he brought to humadkind.
post #12 of 31
Damnit everytime I watch a video of Steve Jobs now from *ANY* era, it always seems like he's just getting started.

Everytime I see his picture or watch a video of him I cannot believe he's dead, it takes a few seconds to strike me, then I go... Ah, shite. But looking at his 2011 pictures, there was probably little chance he would make it into this year.

Happy New Year everyone, and Steve Jobs, we'll be missing you this year, and for many, many more to come.
post #13 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corrections View Post

Did a google search of AI, and I couldn't find any mention of DED pointing that out before. Perhaps you can cite where he's used this "favorite club"?

Also, the discussion of Google being "open or not" was based on WHAT STEVE JOBS SAID. Also, one can't list Jobs' accomplishments & battles for 2011 without addressing Android, where Google tried to take it, and how it failed.

And since this is 2011 and not 2010, DED is addressing Honeycomb more than Google TV!

Daniel, in less than a minute I found a complete article you wrote on it right here at AI:
http://www.appleinsider.com/articles...artphones.html

Your RoughlyDrafted blog has more mentions, the latest one from Aug 15th.
They're fairly easy to find if you want to find them.
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post #14 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

It is the American Peoples' love of individual achievement that allows them to maintain a faster pace than other countries, but they seem willing to throw the individual to the lions these days. e.g. if the group needs healthcare then the individual be damned.

Yep. I'm an 'Individual' i.e. self employed, who had his health insurance cancelled by his long time health insurance company (and no claims in decades) after an emergency procedure in 2000. They chose 'not to renew' after the bills were settled. Since then this 'Individual' having a pre existing condition has no chance what-so-ever of good insurance. I pay over $500 a month for catastrophic with a 10k deductible.

If, however I worked for a large company, i.e. was a member of a 'Group' I'd have no problems.
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini, SE30, IIFx, Towers; G4 & G3.
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Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini, SE30, IIFx, Towers; G4 & G3.
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post #15 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

So explain [again]

Please don't. We have a whole subforum (that shouldn't exist) for this sort of thing.
post #16 of 31
Thanks (again) for the recap. I'am not sure about Steve Jobs involvement with Siri.
Isaacsons biography of Steve Jobs indicates (to me) that Steve jobs wasn't involved at all.

J.
post #17 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by jnjnjn View Post

Thanks (again) for the recap. I'am not sure about Steve Jobs involvement with Siri.
Isaacsons biography of Steve Jobs indicates (to me) that Steve jobs wasn't involved at all.

J.

Maybe not in the development of Siri, that was all Stanford, but there is a big difference between Siri the app and Siri which is imbedded in the iPhone4's OS. He might have had some hand in that.
post #18 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

Daniel, in less than a minute I found a complete article you wrote on it right here at AI:
http://www.appleinsider.com/articles...artphones.html

That's some impressive research, given that link was embedded in the above article.

However, at issue is your claim that this was ever repeated ("a favorite club") between the first time it was reported and this end of year summary--you know, the year long period where "open" Android development was a completely phony lie.

Citing the original links in the article in an effort to portray the article as inaccurate (because facts were "repeated too often", even though you can't back that up) while you also claim that Android was essentially open because its code was released a few weeks before then end of the year (and after it was rendered obsolete by 4.0) is a pretty mind-blowing example of the depth of your intellectual skills.

You are so absolutely lacking in your ability to grasp basic logic its mesmerizing that you can line up gibberish in a way that is, for the most part, grammatically and syntactically correct.
post #19 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post

Damnit everytime I watch a video of Steve Jobs now from *ANY* era, it always seems like he's just getting started.

Everytime I see his picture or watch a video of him I cannot believe he's dead, it takes a few seconds to strike me, then I go... Ah, shite. But looking at his 2011 pictures, there was probably little chance he would make it into this year.

Happy New Year everyone, and Steve Jobs, we'll be missing you this year, and for many, many more to come.

I totally feel the same way. It feels strange not hearing announcements from Steve, future predictions or a battle cry toward a competitor. There is just a sad silence.

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post #20 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corrections View Post

That's some impressive research, given that link was embedded in the above article.

However, at issue is your claim that this was ever repeated ("a favorite club") between the first time it was reported and this end of year summary--you know, the year long period where "open" Android development was a completely phony lie.

Citing the original links in the article in an effort to portray the article as inaccurate (because facts were "repeated too often", even though you can't back that up) while you also claim that Android was essentially open because its code was released a few weeks before then end of the year (and after it was rendered obsolete by 4.0) is a pretty mind-blowing example of the depth of your intellectual skills.

You are so absolutely lacking in your ability to grasp basic logic its mesmerizing that you can line up gibberish in a way that is, for the most part, grammatically and syntactically correct.

A great construction of strawmen Daniel. One of the better ones I've seen recently.
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post #21 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post

Damnit everytime I watch a video of Steve Jobs now from *ANY* era, it always seems like he's just getting started.

Everytime I see his picture or watch a video of him I cannot believe he's dead, it takes a few seconds to strike me, then I go... Ah, shite. But looking at his 2011 pictures, there was probably little chance he would make it into this year.

Happy New Year everyone, and Steve Jobs, we'll be missing you this year, and for many, many more to come.

Well said! ditto ⬆
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post #22 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

Well said! ditto ⬆

Well said! ditto ⬆x2

I have full confidence in the team Steve had put together before he passed. I think the next ten years will be even more interesting in what Apple will bring to the forefront.
post #23 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corrections View Post

That's some impressive research, given that link was embedded in the above article.

Yet you claimed you had never said it before? It seems to be a habit of yours to make these types of mistakes
post #24 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by HammerofTruth View Post

Maybe not in the development of Siri, that was all Stanford, but there is a big difference between Siri the app and Siri which is imbedded in the iPhone4's OS. He might have had some hand in that.

Of course I don't mean the development of Siri before apple bought it in 2010. That was a combined DARPA effort.
Did you read the one (or the two) lines in the book about Siri and Steve Jobs?

J.
post #25 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

A great construction of strawmen Daniel. One of the better ones I've seen recently.

A "strawman" is when you build a phony argument and attack it rather than addressing the real arguments of the person you are debating.

That is what you did: side-skirt the real issues with Android briefly noted in the article while drumming up phony "errors" and then lie that they were incorrectly repeated frequently and then attempt to distract from the argument entirely by inventing an entirely new ad hominem attack unrelated to the facts in question.

I'm not concerned that you're waging a personal attack upon me (par for the course here), I'm just pointing out that you are not in command of the language you are using, and you are also completely unable to address any arguments without changing the subject to something else, because you have no point to make. You are a troll, and not a very smart one.

Were I DED, I'd have banned you and your group think and/or shadow accounts ("Dick Appletree" fanning, hypoluxa) and erased your comments and blocked your IPs. I don't think I've ever seen DED comment on AI articles. Not hard to imagine why: the discussions here are nearly always hijacked by morons like yourself, and are not moderated worth a damn by AI.

If AI had any sense, it would instate Facebook comments that don't really allow phony people to make anonymous comments along the lines of your ignorant crap.
post #26 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corrections View Post

Were I DED, I'd have banned you and your group think and/or shadow accounts ("Dick Appletree" fanning, hypoluxa) and erased your comments and blocked your IPs. I don't think I've ever seen DED comment on AI articles. Not hard to imagine why: the discussions here are nearly always hijacked by morons like yourself, and are not moderated worth a damn by AI.

If AI had any sense, it would instate Facebook comments that don't really allow phony people to make anonymous comments along the lines of your ignorant crap.

Let's see, you were proved wrong, and your response is to want to ban everyone that discovered it?

Wow, AI at its best there folks

And unlike you, I am using my real name, I am not a phony like you posting ignorant crap.
post #27 of 31
Quote:
in a bizarre effort to attack the ISO's H.264 video specification as "not open enough" because it involved patent licensing just like its own proprietary apps for Android or Flash itself.

Vintage Dan. I lol-ed so much.
post #28 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by jfanning View Post

Let's see, you were proved wrong, and your response is to want to ban everyone that discovered it?

Wow, AI at its best there folks

And unlike you, I am using my real name, I am not a phony like you posting ignorant crap.

he is very right.

you and other like you are only poluting this place.

really, useless people.. almost every thread ends with @androiders@ poluting it and|or people like you.
post #29 of 31
[QUOTE=pedromartins;2018031]removed the insults/QUOTE]

Sorry, I forgot that AI is only allowed to have pro-Apple material on it, true or false.
post #30 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

Corrections,
Android 3.0 source code was released in mid-November, not quite making closed access for "the entire year".

Technically 3.0 source was never released. 4.0 was released, but they did not tag what parts make up the 3.0 release, so unless you go thru every line of code, guess which is actually untouched code left from 3.0 and compile that, it isn't available. Anything that existed in 3.0 and was overwritten in 4.0 will not still be in the code either most likely, since they don't call it out. Honeycomb has never been "open" and it still isn't. You have Gingerbread and before or ICS. They don't want people using a jacked up, shoddy tablet OS on a phone.
post #31 of 31
To my great discomfort, I am seeing a huge increase in Samsung Galaxy Tab users in Hong Kong in just a few months. As one of the world's trendiest cities for gadgets, all you have to do is see what phone/tablet people are using on the MTR train to get a good sense of what current market preferences are. Half a year ago, it was iPhone 4. Now its 4.5" and 7" Samsungs. Copycats they may be, people seem to have waken up from the reality distortion field after Steve's pass away, and begin to realize that a 4.5" combi saves you carry 2 devices (iPhone+iPad) and a 7" tablet is much more joy to carry than a 10". Apple can easily lose its leadership if not careful. The final fall of Kodak is one classic example.





Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

For Apple, 2011 marked a year of incredible accomplishments, capping a decade of deftly executed strategies including the development of Mac OS X, ten years of the iPod and the ten year anniversary of Apple Retail stores. But the year was also marked with technological tragedy, from Steve Jobs' final struggle with cancer to the cataclysmic earthquakes and tsunamis in Japan and flooding in Thailand.

Mac App Store revolutionizes PC software distribution

The year began with Apple launching Mac OS X 10.6.6 Snow Leopard with support for the Mac App Store, an initiative Jobs had outlined in an October presentation focusing on Mac OS X 10.7 Lion. Jobs said Apple wouldn't wait for Lion to launch the new digital downloads marketplace, promising it would launch by itself in the next 90 days.

Apple subsequently launched the Mac App Store weeks ahead of schedule at the beginning of January, and throughout 2011 it completely shifted how desktop software was sold. This month, the company announced a year long figure of 100 million downloads.

Apple shifted its own consumer iLife and iWork suites to digital downloads, eventually adding its entire lineup of Pro Apps to the store as well, from Aperture to Final Cut, Motion, Compressor, Logic Pro and MainStage. Apple also made available its Remote Desktop package, as well as the new FaceTime for Mac. The company's biggest release, however, was Mac OS X Lion, which shipped in July as the first digital download of a commercial PC operating system.



Apple also released Mac OS X Server as a $50 App Store download, a radically simplified version of the package that formerly sold for $500. While more accessible to small office users, the package drew complaints from enterprise users who found the scaled down software ill fitted for their large deployments. Apple had also backed out of the server hardware business, canceling the Xserve at the beginning of the year and offering a Mac mini Server appliance in its place.

More than just bringing the iOS App Store to the Mac, the new marketplace for desktop software dramatically shifted software prices downward, with Apple shaving hundreds of dollars from its higher end software packages in the transition from paper boxes and discs to digital downloads. By discounting its software, Apple made its own titles more competitive while lowering the bar for what third parties could ask for their competing titles, ranging from Microsoft's Office to Adobe's Lightroom to Avid and even Microsoft's Windows, a package the company has struggled to raise the price of with a series of "editions" and upgrade options. The $29.99 Mac OS X makes any version of Windows now look awfully expensive.

In addition to shifting the price of software, the Mac App Store has also changed how desktop users obtain their software, greatly minimizing the need for an optical drive in a continuation of how iTunes and the iPod made CDs and DVDs far less necessary. Combined with network disc sharing and the new firmware Internet Repair install and restore features Apple delivered alongside the new 2011 MacBook Air models running Mac OS X Lion, the optical drive appears slated for retirement, at least among Mac users, starting 2012 as a new decade of Mac OS X development.



Jobs takes leave, continues working with iPad 2

Less than two weeks after the Mac App Store launched, Jobs announced he would take a medial leave of absence while remaining in his role as chief executive and staying involved in major strategic decisions.

While battling his health issues, Jobs continued to make regular public appearances. In February, Jobs joined a small group of Silicon Valley tech luminaries to meet with President Barack Obama in a discussion aimed at promoting technological innovation in an effort to boost the U.S. economy. Jobs presented Obama with a prerelease iPad 2.



Jobs made a surprise appearance introducing the iPad 2 in March, his first in front of an audience. The revamped new tablet went on to obliterate competition from firms that had spent billions to challenge the iPad, ranging from Google's Android 3.0 Honeycomb used by Motorola and Samsung to a flurry of tablets by Asus, Lenovo, Samsung and others running Microsoft's Windows 7 to HP's webOS TouchPad to RIM's PlayBook, all four of which were absolutely crushed by the iPad in 2011.



Jobs had previously described the iPad as "the most important thing Ive ever done," according to Michael Arrington, who observed, just prior to the release of the original iPad, that "coming from the man who has created so much, thats saying something."

On page 2 of 3: Jobs introduces iCloud, forces ahead open standards

Jobs introduces iCloud, shuts down the PC-centric "digital hub" he booted up

Jobs also appeared at Apple's summer Worldwide Developer Conference in June to introduce iCloud as the "next big insight," replacing the PC "digital hub" he had introduced around the iMac ten years ago. In its place, Jobs would deliver upon his vision for bringing to the masses the type of cloud storage network technologies that had been put into place at NeXT in the early 90s. Rather than requiring a link to iTunes to set up new iOS devices, Jobs outlined a "PC Free" setup for iOS 5 that would enable users to link directly to iCloud and related features including iTunes Match without needing a local "digital hub," a major change in Apple's mobile device strategy.

Upon returning to Apple in 1997, Jobs had outlined the future of cloud computing at that year's WWDC. By the end of 2011, Apple delivered upon the initial premise of iCloud, with support in Mac OS X Lion, iOS 5, and in its iCloud web applications. The company is continuing work to enhance and expand upon those efforts.



Six months earlier, Samsung had unveiled at CES its own "digital hub" strategy, following in Jobs' footsteps from ten years prior but substituting the iMac with its "Smart TVs" running Adobe Flash and apps authored in AIR.

Jobs kills off Flash, Silverlight and forces ahead open standards: HTML5 and H.264

Along with Samsung, Google, HP, RIM, and a variety of other tablet makers had supported Flash in an effort to differentiate their products from Apple's Flash-free iOS devices. But by the end of the year, Adobe would concede defeat for Flash on mobile products, deferring instead to support the open HTML5 specification as Jobs had recommended years earlier.

Microsoft also abandoned its own Silverlight platform this year, similarly citing iOS as the reason it shifted its support to HTML5. Microsoft's push to embrace more open standards and technologies reflects its failed battle with Apple's iPod, MP3s and H.264/AAC, which Microsoft waged for years at astronomical costs. Its own efforts to push proprietary DRM with Windows Media Audio and WMV (aka VC-1) not only crashed with the failed HD-DVD format, but also its iPod competitor PlaysForSure and the company's Zune products, which it finally decided to terminate this year to focus on smartphones.

Google, which strongly backed Adobe's Flash both in Android and in YouTube and its other web properties, continued its own largely ineffectual efforts this year to push Adobe's proprietary Flash alongside its "royalty free" but patent encumbered WebM video codec in a bizarre effort to attack the ISO's H.264 video specification as "not open enough" because it involved patent licensing just like its own proprietary apps for Android or Flash itself.

While promoting itself as open, Google also closed access to its Android 3.0 code throughout the entire year. That left Apple's WebKit as the only truly open, major platform throughout 2011. The WebKit open source project, which Apple has used to push the open HTML5 specification it helped to develop alongside Google and other partners, has long been the largest open development platform, exceeding Android's roughly 50 percent share of all mobile devices by nearly a factor of two.

Last October, Jobs pointed out during an Apple conference call that "Google loves to characterize Android as 'open' and iOS and iPhone as 'closed.' We find this a bit disingenuous and clouding the real difference between our two approaches." He added that "many Android OEMs, including the two largest, HTC and Motorola, install proprietary user interfaces to differentiate themselves from the commodity Android experience. The user's left to figure it all out. Compare this with iPhone, where every handset works the same."

Jobs also described various Android app stores as "a mess for both users and developers" and noted that "many Android apps work only on selected handsets, or selected Android versions," alluding to the fact that most Android phones still run an OS release roughly a year old, and often can't be updated for 3 to 6 months after Google makes an update available, observations that remained accurate throughout the year.

On page 3 of 3: Jobs unveils new Apple campus, Apple loses Steve Jobs, continues his vision

Jobs unveils new Apple campus

The next day after his early June WWDC appearance, Jobs made a third appearance at the Cupertino City Council to outline his plans for Apple Campus 2, a project to convert HP's abandoned Pruneridge campus into a tree covered green space surrounding a circular building larger than the Pentagon, capable of housing more than 12,000 workers.









Apple loses Steve Jobs, continues his vision

While Apple's most blockbuster year ever, in 2011 the company lost its co-founder at the peak of his accomplishments. Just two weeks after Apple surpassed the market capitalization of Exxon Mobil to become the most valuable public company, Jobs announced he could "no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apples CEO," and recommended that Tim Cook serve as his replacement.

Jobs continued to sit on Apple's board as Chairman until October 5, when the company announced Jobs had passed away, just one day after announcing his final product to see released at Apple, the iPhone 4S packing the Siri technology he had presided over the development of through the past year.

Two as yet unreleased projects Jobs also oversaw that have not yet been fully released as products involve two other acquisitions Apple made in 2011. The first, C3 Technologies of Sweden, is a 3D mapping company Apple acquired in August, and the third map-related firm the company has bought up recently.



In 2009, Apple purchased Placebase, a Google Maps competitor, sparking speculation that it was looking to decrease its dependance on Google technology for the Maps application on the iPhone. Last year, it acquired Web-based map company Poly 9, which had developed a "cross-browser, cross-platform 3D globe" product. Apple also began using its own databases for location-based services, and posted positions throughout the year looking for applicants to help "radically improve how people interact with maps and location-based services."

A second major acquisition by Apple was finalized in December, involving Israeli firm Anobit. While involving the company's "Memory Signal Processing" technology for optimizing the reliability, performance, efficiency and endurance of flash memory, the purchase appears to dovetail into a series of acquisitions Apple has made in the past half decade involving chip design, including Intrinsity in 2010 and P.A. Semi in 2008. Those acquisitions appear to have contributed to the development of Apple's A5, which were used to power this year's iPad 2 and iPhone 4S.



Apple under Tim Cook

Apple continues under Cook, who Jobs recommended as chief executive after serving Apple for 13 years as its chief operations officer. Cook turned around the company's operational mess and turned Apple into a brutally competitive machine, making key, billion dollar investments in components and technologies. Cook's deft handling of Apple's operations, while also managing portions of Jobs' executive role throughout the year as his health worsened, enabled Apple to weather such storms as the earthquakes and tsunamis that devastated Japan and shut down key component manufacturing there.

Cook also managed Apple's operations through flooding in Thailand that disrupted the manufacture of hard drives (although many of Apple's key products now use sold state memory rather than conventional disks) and targeted the handling of regional crises such as Hurricane Irene, which shut down retail stores on the East Coast.



Cook's Apple itself has disrupted the global market, shifting demand away from disk drives and DRAM and toward NAND flash memory while features such as the company's aluminum unibody designs have left "Ultrabook" competitors incapable of delivering competitive products.

A report by the Wall Street Journal described Cook as molding Apple with a more streamlined operating structure with improved internal communication, and Cook has expressed a strong regard for the principles of supplier responsibility in labor and human rights, health and safety, the environment, ethics, and management commitment among the companies Apple does business with, promising to perpetuate the culture Jobs instilled in the company he crafted.

Inside Apple's 2011: Mac hardware and Mac OS X
Inside Apple's 2011: iPod, iPhone & iPad
Inside Apple's 2011: iOS, Apps & iCloud
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