Tek Talk provides periodic non-technical insights into the computer world. It is written by freelance writer and computer enthusiast Ed Collins.

Apple had a good year in 2012




The year 2012 has been both challenging and productive for Apple, Inc.


Obviously, Steve Jobs’ death from cancer left a tremendous void in Apple's operations. But Tim Cook earned respect from Apple’s Board of Directors and staff after assuming the position of chief executive officer. Stock sales soared during the year, and Apple’s financial performance made it the largest capitalized company on the globe.


Additionally, you can point to the successful release of a host of new products, the move-in into a new futuristic corporate headquarters in Cupertino, and much more.


Financially, Apple is rock solid with more than $125 billion in cash, no debt, and continues to produce quality products.


CEO Tim Cook showed his leadership abilities in his first year at the wheel dealing with the iPhone Maps mess and reorganizing his executive staff. He also dealt with embarrassing worker problems at its Foxconn production facilities in China, and fought off aggressive competitors in court trying to steal Apple product patents.


Apple’s Board generously increased Cook’s salary during the year from $900,000 to $1.4 million according to a recent federal regulatory filing. However, this didn’t match his initial generous compensation in 2011 when appointed CEO at $378 million. That came from receiving one million shares of Apple stock, along with performance bonuses given to all executive staff.


In Apple’s latest 4th quarter financial report issued September 29, it showed the company earned $36 billion in revenue for the quarter, with a net profit of $8.2 billion. That compared with $28 billion in revenue during the same quarter a year ago, with a net profit of $6.6 billion.


 No wonder its stock soared to $700 a share before trending down later in the year into the $500’s due to concerns such as a national election, political strife over Washington’s fiscal cliff, and a soft economy. It closed at the end of the year at $531.


The past year was also a good year for producing or updating popular Apple consumer products. iPhone 5 arrived with its usual marketing blitz. Five million phones were sold within three days of its launch on September 21, and publicity such as Time magazine designating iPhone 5 as its “2012 Gadget of the Year” made global headlines.


Apple refreshed several of its personal computers and tablet lines in 2012. The iMac desktops and laptop MacBook Pro’s were significantly upgraded; new third and fourth generation iPads were placed on the market, and Apple launched the long-awaited 7.9-inch screen iPad Mini.


Mountain Lion OS, with more than 200 new features was released. It replaces Lion, the previous operating system, at a nice price of $19.99. Apple TV was upgraded, and iOS 6 was issued at no charge, adding new operating flexibility to Apple’s tablets and smartphone devices. The iLife Suite was also refreshed with a nice upgrade made to iPhoto, GarageBand, and iMovie 11.


All in all it was a very productive year for Apple in spite of a slow economy and receiving increasing pressure from aggressive tablet and smartphone competitors. Now that Cook has emerged from Jobs' awesome shadow, 2013 should be even better. 


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