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Apple in 2013: iOS 7, iPhone 5C and iPad Air mark a mixed-bag year

Analysis But there are hints of more to come in 2014
Tue Dec 31 2013, 10:30
Apple logo on New York store

GADGET DESIGNER Apple has had an interesting 2013.

During the past 12 months, a lot has gone on in Cupertino. Apple unveiled its iOS 7 operating system to a mixed reception, and released the iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S smartphones. It also launched the iPad Air, its first iPad Mini with Retina display and its completely revamped Mac Pro desktop PC.

The iPhone 5S smartphone was applauded for its Touch ID sensor and 64-bit chip, the iPad Air tablet was lauded for its extremely thin and light design, and the Mac Pro desktop was celebrated for its consumer market-leading specifications. But it's still fair to say this year has been a mixed bag for Apple, with the firm's iOS 7 mobile operating system and iPhone 5C handset not going down quite as well with the general public.

Let's start with iOS 7. iOS 7 is the first major update to Apple's mobile operating system since the first iPhone was released in 2007, so it comes as little surprise that the extensive changes made to it haven't been received well by all users.

The release, which shows Apple trying to reimagine iOS 7, revealed a design that's a big departure from previous iterations of iOS. Apple threw out textures and replaced them with minimalist, flat designs, replaced previous swiping and tapping animations with sweeping transitions and parallax effects, and reworked its own apps inside and out.

While iOS 7 has broken early adoption records, with 75 percent of iPhone users having installed the software two months after its release, it has also received a lot of criticism, largely due to its reworked design and new motion features, which some users claimed made them ill.

This, for Apple, is a major break from previous iOS releases. While disgruntled iDevice users have often taken to Twitter to complain about bugs and installation problems, the widespread criticism of iOS 7 is perhaps one of the largest backlashes Apple has ever faced.

The iPhone 5C has faced similar criticism, but this is perhaps not entirely Apple's fault.

Leading up to the launch of the colourful smartphone, speculation was rife with chatter that the iPhone 5C would be the first affordable Apple smartphone, perhaps priced at around £300. But those dreams were dashed when Apple revealed that the handset would be available from £469 – not much cheaper than the flagship iPhone 5S handset.

However, 2013 hasn't brought only bad news for Apple, with its iPad Air tablet and Mac Pro desktop receiving critical acclaim along with the iPhone 5S. This year has also paved the way for an exciting 2014 for Apple, and we are excited about what next year might hold for the firm.

With the release of iOS 7, it seems likely that Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) next year will build on this so far poorly received mobile operating system, hopefully with Apple having listened to the negative feedback.

The launch of the iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S hints that Apple could have multiple new phones up its sleeve next year, and given Apple's product history they are likely to be more than incremental updates. Rumours have suggested that Apple is testing larger screens for its next-generation smartphones, so the firm could be set to release a curved-screen handset.

The iPad Air is perhaps the best reason to be excited about Apple in 2014, as the firm's new naming scheme hints that the long-rumoured iPad Pro could be about to become reality.

Of course, we could be hoping in vain, but Apple has to pull something out of its hat to reverse some of the disappointments that it handed to its loyal customer base this year. µ


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