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HolidayBuyer's Guide

Year in review: Apple's iPhone takes center stage

Although the iPhone seemed to overshadow all other Apple news, there was more--including the release of Leopard and more competition for iTunes.


Apple's iPhone takes center stage

By Tom Krazit
Staff Writer, CNET
Published: December 17, 2007, 4:00 AM PST
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Apple took several bold steps this year, proving that it's one of the most influential companies in the technology and media worlds.

Presumably you've heard of the iPhone. Apple's first attempt at cracking the mobile phone market was received with almost unprecedented coverage from both the technology and mainstream media. The iPhone was first introduced in January at Macworld, and made its debut on a balmy June night to lines of customers all over the country. We, along with hundreds of our colleagues, were there as iPhone madness swept the country for a day.

As the year progressed, Apple sold 1.4 million iPhones by the end of September and rolled the device out to customers in the U.K., Germany, and France.

Not everything went as smoothly as planned, as controversies over the $200 cut in the price of the iPhone just months after it arrived, as well as the retaliatory steps Apple took to relock hacked iPhones, rankled some early adopters. But without a doubt, the iPhone made the mobile phone industry sit up and realize that Apple had made a breakthrough with average consumers in terms of design and user interface, and that it would have to come up with an answer.

This year was not just about the iPhone, however. Apple totally in September, bringing the iPhone's interface over to the iPod Touch, and tweaking the iPod Nano in a more video-friendly manner. Six years after it was first introduced, the iPod continued its run as Apple's single most successful product ever, and shipments during this holiday season are expected to top last year's 21 million units.

Apple also saw a great deal of momentum around the Mac. The company continued to benefit from the PC industry's overall move toward notebooks, but didn't do much with the basic MacBook Pro and MacBook design during 2007. It did launch the all-in-one iMac in August with the titanium-gray color scheme used on the Mac Pro and MacBook Pro.

And although it had to be delayed four months to make sure the iPhone launched on time, Mac OS X Leopard, the sixth version of the company's operating system, sold 2 million copies the first weekend it went on sale. That was about 9 percent of the total Mac installed base, an astonishing number for a major operating-system upgrade. Although some complained about problems with the first version of Leopard, those seemed to subside following the release of Mac OS X 10.5.1.

As the year closes, however, perhaps the most turbulent area of Apple's business is the iTunes Store, which is facing competition like never before. Amazon launched its own music store this year, and television networks like NBC have signaled they want to take the online distribution of their shows back into their control. The iTunes Store is still the preeminent place to find (legally available) music and TV shows on the Internet. But as we turn the clock to 2008, this is one area that will bear watching: can these new competitors catch up to Apple's online juggernaut?

2007 Highlights

Finally, Apple answers the call for iPhone

After years of speculation, Apple reveals its iPod mobile phone, as well as a home networking device, at Macworld.

January 9, 2007

Jobs calls for DRM-free music

Record companies are the ones who demand digital rights management technology, not Apple, CEO says in open letter.

February 6, 2007

Apple aiming for TV breakthrough

Tech companies haven't had much success in the living room. Can the iPod maker do any better with its Apple TV?

March 12, 2007

Apple puts a leash on its Leopard

Delays OS release to October as it pulls engineers from the Leopard team to help get the iPhone out by June.

April 12, 2007

Board defends Jobs amid hefty profits

Board issues statement supporting Apple CEO just before company reports solid increases in revenue, profit, and shipments of Macs and iPods.

April 25, 2007

Jobs brushes aside backdating concerns

Some institutional shareholders castigate CEO for role in stock option scandal, but most praise him for making them richer.

May 10, 2007

A method to the iPhone madness?

Love it or hate it, the frenzy around Apple's iPhone is forcing consumers to think about what they want from a mobile device.

June 29, 2007

iPhone supply lives to sell another day

Customers lined up in droves, some for days, but plenty of the phones are still available for the taking.

June 29, 2007

Earnings soar as iPhone shipments revealed

Fueled by strong sales of Macs, profit jumps 73 percent; company reports 270,000 iPhones sold in about 30 hours.

July 25, 2007

Apple homeward bound with new iMacs, iLife

It's back to basics at Apple with updated hardware and software for those aiming to organize their digital lives.

August 7, 2007

Apple slaps back at NBC in iTunes spat

A day after reports said NBC would not renew its iTunes contract, Apple announces it will not offer NBC's new TV shows.

August 31, 2007

The iPod is growing up

If rumors are true and Apple releases an iPod with Mac OS, it will have developed an interesting little computer.

September 4, 2007

iPhone price cuts leave mixed feelings

Some delighted it now costs $200 less, but others wonder if Apple needed to stimulate demand for the closely watched device.

September 5, 2007

iPhone, you'll be a computer, soon

By opening the iPhone up to third-party applications, Apple will give the world a chance to see just what this thing can do.

October 17, 2007

The steady advance of Mac OS X

With Leopard's arrival, Apple shows that small morsels can be more satisfying than biting off more than you can chew.

October 26, 2007

Additional Headlines

Apple's 802.11n accounting conundrum

Apple aiming for TV breakthrough

Ex-Apple CFO says Jobs advised of stock options accounting

Apple basks in iPhone buzz

Statistics, Mac OS and Windows

Photos: Meet the iPod Touch, new Nanos

Owners of unlocked iPhones hosed by software update

The Great iPhone Hack, round 3

Apple earnings soar, 1.4 million iPhones sold to date

Report: NBC wanted a cut of iPod revenue

Leopard early adopters suffer for the rest of us

Apple considering raise for Jobs?