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Apple has 'big plans' for 2014, Tim Cook hints

Apple has "big plans" for 2014, promises Tim Cook while praising the "innovation" of the iPhone 5S, iOS 7 and the new Mac Pro.

Apple has "big plans" for 2014. In a letter to employees, Apple CEO Tim Cook hints at the future, while also praising the "innovation" of the past twelve months including the iPhone 5S, iOS 7 and the new Mac Pro.

"This holiday season, tens of millions of people around the world, from all walks of life, are experiencing Apple products for the first time. Those moments of surprise and delight are magical, and they're all made possible by your hard work," gushes Cook in an email to employees revealed by 9to5Mac.

"First and foremost, we introduced industry-leading products in each of our major categories in 2013, showing the breadth and depth of innovation at Apple. We extended our lead in the smartphone market with iPhone 5s; launched iOS 7, an extraordinarily ambitious project; released OS X Mavericks for free to our customers; introduced the iPad Air and the iPad mini with Retina display; and this week began shipping the Mac Pro from a manufacturing facility in Austin, Texas." So the breadth and depth of Apple's innovation includes a phone that looks the same as the last one but comes in gold, software that now has pastel colours, and tablets that are a bit thinner than the last one.

That said, the iPhone 5S fingerprint scanner and the stunning Mac Pro are pretty innovative, though.

Cook also highlights the company's charity work. Special Apple products were recently included in a multimillion dollar auction for Bono's charity Red, with a crimson-coloured Mac Pro fetching £597,444 and some gold EarPods going under the hammer for £281,900.

"And finally, Apple is standing up for what we believe is right," says Cook, who recently spoke out against discrimination with memories of burning crosses in his home in Alabama. "We know that equality and diversity make our company and our society stronger, so we’ve urged the U.S. Congress to support workplace protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. We are also laser focused on our contribution to several environmental initiatives and we will increase our efforts even more in this area in the future."

Apple has in the past been criticised for its environmental impact, as have many technology companies. The fruit-flavoured iPhone-flinger claimed this year that all its data centres and 75 per cent of its corporate facilities are now powered by renewable energy -- although that figure does include offsetting.

"We have a lot to look forward to in 2014," concludes Cook, "including some big plans that we think customers are going to love. I am extremely proud to stand alongside you as we put innovation to work serving humankind’s deepest values and highest aspirations. I consider myself the luckiest person in the world for the opportunity to work at this amazing company with all of you."

Apple has this week signed a deal to bring the iPhone to China, opening up a vast new market for the company. 

What has Apple got in store? The rumoured iWatch? The long-rumoured iTV? A completely new look for the iPhone 6? The comments are below or head to Facebook to let me know what you think of Apple's 'innovation' this year -- and what you'd like to see in 2014.