Apple just had one of the best years any company has ever had.In 2010 it was firing on all cylinders, releasing new hit product after new hit product, which resulted in a record year of sales, and a strong stock performance.
As we enter into 2011, we thought it would be good to pause and take a look at all Apple accomplished in 2010.
It’s pretty amazing, and we’re not sure we’ll see another year from Apple or anyone else like this in the future.
After months of speculation, Apple revealed the iPad. Despite the awful name for the product, it has been a great success. Apple is expected to sell 12 million units this year. It owned the tablet market all year, and sent rivals scrambling to catch up.
It's difficult to understate how successful this launch was. It basically defined a new form of computing, one we think will be around for a long time to come.
When the iPad was first coming out, Apple went to war with Adobe, trashing Flash. While Flash hasn't gone anywhere, HTML5 has grown in leaps and bounds laying the groundwork for Flash to become an irrelevant platform in the next few years. Apple, Google, and Microsoft all spoke of supporting HTML5. When you have those guys working together on the same thing, you can bet it's going to be big.
The iPhone 4 had a choppy start. First it was discovered in a bar, then posted on Gizmodo blowing out any sense of surprise or secrecy. Then it was hammered by Antennagate, which revealed the phone lost its signal when covered in the lower left corner.
But, it managed to survive those challenges and come out on top. Last quarter Apple sold 14.1 million iPhones, a record.
Antennagate was a massive PR disaster for Apple. It stuck with the company and with the iPhone. Apple did a pretty good job tamping down the controversy by giving everyone free iPhone 4 cases. It acted a little too late to completely clean the stain, but it reacted in a way that placated consumers.
2010 was an amazing year for the iOS app ecosystem. In June Apple said it paid developers $1 billion for applications.
Beyond that, we saw Angry Birds go into another stratosphere. We saw Disney buy Tapulous. And ngmoco was sold to DeNA returning all the money Kleiner Perkins put into its iFund.
Bottom line: investments in Apple's ecosystem are paying off.
Apple's entry into advertising this year has been a mixed bag. On the one hand, it has produced beautiful ads and charged a premium for them. On the other hand, it's still struggling to traverse the ad landscape developing relationships and getting enough advertisers to fill impressions.
It wasn't all awesome for Apple in 2010. There was Ping, its music social network, which landed with a thud.
Apple's first MacBook Air 'missed the mark' according to analyst Gene Munster. The recently redone Air? It seems like it found the bulls eye. The computer drew rave reviews and seems to be doing brisk sales. It's not the best selling Mac out there, but it sure seems to pave the way for future Macs to come.
By the end of the year, thanks to the success of the iPad, you can see Apple has done a pretty good job diversifying itself.
In addition to revenue, Apple's pile of cash is growing to ridiculous levels. It's hard to overstate how much money it's making today...
We don't see 2011 being as amazing for Apple as 2010, but it's going have a new Mac OS, 'Lion' which it teased recently, along with plans for a Mac app store.
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