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Posts tagged with "Month in Review"

October 2012 In Review

We’re back again with another month in review, and what a month October has been. On the news front there was, of course, the October 23rd Apple event which saw the launch of the iPad mini, fourth generation iPad,  13” MacBook with Retina Display, new Mac mini and iMac. Apple also had their fourth quarter earnings call and remembered the first year anniversary since the passing of Steve Jobs.

October was also chock full of new apps and big app updates. Tapbots in particular had a big month with the launch of Netbot and Tweetbot for Mac, Marco Arment launched The Magazine, Loren Brichter made his comeback with Letterpress, Pocket released a Mac app, and iPad drawing app Paper got a big update.

On the stories front, Federico has had a lot of fun putting together a number of guides and tutorials this month and we’ve collected them all together below. Federico also interviewed Loren Brichter for the launch of his new Letterpress app, talked about the leadership changes at Apple and I mapped out the entertainment ecosystems of Apple, Google, Microsoft and Amazon.

Be sure to check out our previous Month in Review posts here

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August 2012 In Review

August has been the lull between July’s Mountain Lion release and September’s inevitable iPhone announcement. But that’s not to say it was a quiet month - it certainly wasn’t. On the news front, we saw Apple and Amazon reacting to Mat Honan’s ‘epic hacking’, the first Mountain Lion update, internal promotions at Apple and of course - the verdict in the Apple v. Samsung trial. August also saw big Pixelmator, Things, Instagram, Drafts and Buzz Contacts app updates amongst a bunch of other updates and new release apps. Finally, in the stories department, we wrote up a bunch of how-to’s and I talked about the rise of third party services and fall of Google in iOS. Be sure to stay tuned this September, it’s going to be a big month.

You can review past ‘Month In Review’ posts here.

The Highlights


Everything Else


July 2012 In Review

July was an interesting month for MacStories as we covered the launch of the latest version of OS X, Mountain Lion, and launched our first eBook. Containing all our Mountain Lion coverage from the site in addition to exclusive articles, the book was a challenging but immensely rewarding project. With the exception of some advice from a few trusted people, we handled the book’s creation entirely by ourselves and are very proud of the end result. If you haven’t grabbed a copy yet, it’s not too late to change that — and remember that 30% of all proceeds will go directly to the very worthy cause that is the American Cancer Society.

Besides Mountain Lion, the other notable pieces of news were Google’s acquisition of Sparrow, and the all-but-confirmed rumour that the next iPhone and iPad mini will be announced on September 12th. Apps-wise, July was a quiet month as developers readied theirs for Mountain Lion, but we did see the release of the Tweetbot for Mac alpha along with Rovio’s new franchise, Amazing Alex. For stories, we had two great interviews, an excellent piece on discovering and making music on the iPad, talked about the apps and tools we use to write more efficiently, and created some hands-on examples of what the rumoured 7.85” iPad would look and feel like.

Jump the break for the full month in review, and feel free to read previous ‘Month in Review’ editions from 2012.

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June 2012 In Review: WWDC Edition

June was all about WWDC. The big draw cards of the event were undoubtedly iOS 6 and the new Retina MacBook Pro, but there was also the refreshed MacBook Air and MacBook Pro lines and Mountain Lion which will launch sometime in July. Beyond WWDC, Rovio had another big month, Google released two new iOS Apps (Chrome and Google Drive) and there were some rumors about the next version of iTunes from trusted publications.

On the apps front, it was a bit of a slower month with WWDC taking most of the attention, but there were still some highlights including the spectacular Reeder 3.0, vjay, and Launch Center Pro. Some noteworthy editorials from June was Cody’s look at the new Podcasts app, Federico’s musings on OS X in ‘Different and Familiar’, Gabe’s thoughts on why upgrade pricing isn’t coming to the App Store, and my look at In-App Purchases for games and the conflict between economics and good will to consumers.

You can view previous editions of “Month in Review” here.

WWDC ‘12

This year’s WWDC centred around three things: new and updated Mac hardware, Mountain Lion and iOS 6. So to kick off, Apple unveiled refreshed MacBook Air and MacBook Pro lines that saw nice spec bumps with the jump to Sandy Bridge processors and the inclusion of USB 3. But the real spotlight of this section of the keynote was the new 15” Retina MacBook Pro that features a gorgeous Retina display and new, thinner hardware profile - and as is standard with any new product, Apple swiftly debuted a new ad featuring it. There was also the silent Mac Pro update that wasn’t really an update and then the new iPad Smart Case, updated Airport Express and updated USB SuperDrive.

Jumping to the software announcements, Apple revealed that Mountain Lion would arrive sometime in July for just $19.99 ($10 less than Lion). It features a tighter integration of iCloud, in-built dictation, Facebook and Twitter integration and several iOS influences from Notification Center to Game Center, Notes and more now arriving in OS X.

Then there was iOS 6. The headline features here were the new Maps app, Facebook Integration, added Siri functionalities, Do Not Disturb, Passbook and more. If you want to learn more, go check out our complete overview of iOS 6, Federico went into great detail and covers everything you would want to know from the keynote and things you may have missed. iOS 6 arrives sometime this Fall.

Finally, we also have our tidbits and links article regarding this year’s WWDC keynote which features some interesting nuggets of information that didn’t quite deserve their own dedicated post. If you want to watch this year’s keynote, you can do so here. As part of every WWDC, there is the Apple Design Awards. This year the winners included, Limbo, Jetpack Joyride and Paper amongst other very worthy winners - you can check out the full list here.

Developers who missed out on tickets to this year’s WWDC didn’t have to wait long this year to watch the recorded videos of the developer sessions, with the full catalogue of videos going live just four days after the event concluded.

Conclusion to the “4G” iPad issue in Australia

When Apple this year unveiled the third generation iPad, it labelled one of the models “4G + WiFi” across the world - despite the 4G only being compatible with US and Canadian networks. In Australia, the ACCC intervened and pursued legal action against Apple for misleading Australian consumers of the iPad’s 4G capabilities (it didn’t work with the 4G network operating in Australia). This month saw the legal issue conclude with Apple agreeing it mislead consumers and paying an AU$2.25 million fine plus AU$300,000 in costs to the ACCC. I took some time to read the judgement and posted some interesting details in an article covering the court’s acceptance of the fine.

Rovio has yet another big month

It seems as though we can’t go a month without at least some big news from Rovio. This month it was because their latest game in the series, Angry Birds Space hit 100 million downloads in 76 days - and that was right at the start of June. Now, just in the last few days we’ve seen the trailer for Rovio’s next big game; Amazing Alex which is set to launch in July on iOS and Android.

Ping, Podcasts and the next iTunes

Soon after this year’s WWDC, AllThingsD’s John Paczkowski reported that Ping will be removed from the next version of iTunes. What followed in the last week of June was the launch of a new iOS app from Apple that was dedicated to playing and discovering podcasts. It had been somewhat expected after the developer preview of iOS 6 lacked a link to podcasts in the iTunes Store app. There was also the report from Bloomberg which suggests that the next major release of iTunes will see improved sharing functionality and deeper iCloud integration.

Google iOS Apps

June saw the launch of Google Chrome for iOS which features draggable tabs and sync for bookmarks and tabs as well as the launch of Google Drive for iOS. Google also pumped out a Gmail for iOS update that added notification support.

Everything Else

The Highlights

Everything Else

Inspiring UIs

May 2012 In Review

May was a huge month for new apps and app updates with everything from Spotify for iPad, Diet Coda and TouchArcade launching to Flipboard, Sparrow and Tweetbot seeing sweet updates - and that’s only scratching the surface, there was a lot more. As for news, we saw another Siri ad (this time with John Malkovich), confirmation of the Mac App Store sandboxing deadline of June 1st, WWDC Keynote announcement and Rovio had two big pieces of news. Finally, we had some great stories go up in May and Lukas keeps writing awesome app reviews in his Inspiring UIs series. So without further ado, jump the break and enjoy the recap of May and sorry we’re a few days late this month!

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April 2012 In Review

April was a little bit of a slower month, with no keynotes or big announcements from Apple - with the exception of yet another huge earnings call. However, MacStories did celebrate its third birthday on April 20th, and welcomed our seventh MacStories writer, Lukas Hermann, who is focused on reviewing some great apps with Inspiring UIs - you’ll see a list of those articles below the break. In news, we did see the announcement of WWDC this month (it sold out in less than 2 hours) and some incredibly successful Kickstarter projects. On the apps front there continued to be a number of app updates for the new iPad, two Tweetbot updates, Clear 1.1 and Read It Later relaunching as Pocket. Lastly, we had a number of great stories this month including a great one on iCloud in which Federico interviewed some of the developers who have implemented it and what their thoughts on it are.

WWDC 2012

On April 25th, Apple “finally” announced WWDC 2012, to be held over June 11th to 15th this year in San Francisco. The $1599 tickets went on sale immediately at around 8:30am EDT and promptly sold out in less than 2 hours. Along with the WWDC dates and tickets, Apple also announced that nominations for the 2012 Apple Design Awards were open - so if you are a developer an want to suggest an app for the award you can do that here. If you’re a student and missed out on WWDC tickets (or they were too expensive), you have until tomorrow May 2nd to lodge an application for a WWDC Student Scholarship.

Apple’s Q2 2012 Earnings Call

Yet again, Apple had a stunning quarter - its second best ever, only beaten by the last (holiday) quarter. Apple sold 35.1 million iPhones, 11.8 million iPads and saw $39.2 billion in revenue for the quarter. Our full post includes the usual graphs that really highlight the growth Apple has had in nearly all aspects of their business over the past few quarters and even years.


April saw what was perhaps the most serious malware incident the Mac has ever seen with ‘Flashback’. Apple, after taking some time to respond, eventually revealed they will provide a Flashback removal tool - which they soon did, as well as provide a Java update to remove various Flashback variants. F-Secure also released an automated Flashback removal tool (and did so before Apple released their tool).

Kickstarter Projects

The Pebble e-paper watch saw an absolute explosion of support when it launched on Kickstarter this month. As of today, about $7.5 million has been pledged to the project - far exceeding the initial goal of $100,000. Then there is the Bydge, an iPad dock that’ll turn your iPad into somewhat of a MacBook look-a-like. Not everyone is a fan of the premise, and it hasn’t set the world on fire, but it has also easily surpassed the $90,000 goal on Kickstarter with about $360,000 pledged so far (and there’s still a month to go).

Everything Else:



The Really Big Reviews

Everything Else

Lukas’ Inspiring UI Series


March 2012 In Review

March was the month of the new iPad, an updated Apple TV and the announcement of a dividend and share repurchase program. It was most certainly a ‘big’ month. If a new iPad wasn’t enough, we also got a lot of new apps (alongside all those being updated for the Retina Display) and big app updates - everything from Angry Birds Space (world productivity took a dive that week) to both iA Writer and Byword iPhone apps launching to Camera+ 3.0 and our eyes were in heaven after Instapaper was updated to support the Retina Display with some truly beautiful new fonts. On the story front, Federico tackled the issue of what was the best aspects of our favourite iOS text editors, talked about the ‘Apple Community’, Cody reviewed the new iPad and I expressed sadness and frustration with lies of Mike Daisey.

Jump the break to get a full recap of March 2012. You can also jump back to see what happened in January and February of this year.

The New iPad

On March 7th, Apple held its iPad keynote - announcing the third generation iPad, simply calling it the ‘new iPad’. It featured a Retina Display, improved rear camera, quad-core GPU with the new A5X processor and support for 4G networks. We posted a review roundup, featuring the highlights from various reviews on the internet, as well as our own review by Cody. Apple announced that in its opening weekend it sold 3 million of the new iPads.

The (updated) Apple TV, iOS 5.1,  iPhoto for iOS and more from Apple’s iPad event

Alongside the new iPad, Apple also released an updated Apple TV with support for 1080p content as well as new UI that was also released for the existing Apple TV. Co-inciding with the release of the new iPad was the release of iOS 5.1 which included some bugfixes and new features such as an improved activation method to use the lockscreen camera. Apple also announced the iOS version of iPhoto which was made available for $4.99 a short time later.

More minor announcements included the availability for AppleCare+ for the new iPad, iTunes 10.6 and the release of the “Apple Configurator” app after the event. Apple also bumped the over-the-air download limit from 20 MB to 50 MB to reflect larger app sizes due to Universal apps that included graphics for the Retina iPad and iPhone - as well as larger download caps that exist today. Finally, you saw Apple update a whole bunch of their own apps for the new iPad and Retina Display.

We also posted a complete round-up of the event and a bunch of minor details about the event that you may have missed. You can also watch the recording of the event here.

25 billion apps downloaded

On March 3rd, Apple announced that 25 billion apps had been downloaded from the App Store. To mark the milestone it revealed a new “All-Time Top Apps” section on the App Store. A few days later, Apple revealed that the 25 billionth app downloaded was ‘Where’s My Water? Free’ by Chunli Fu who is from  Qingdao, China - she won a $10,000 iTunes gift card.

Apple announces dividend and share repurchase program

Somewhat out of the blue, Apple announced on a Sunday afternoon that it would be holding a conference call early the next day (Monday) to announce the result of discussions by Apple’s board on what it would do with Apple’s cash balance. As was widely expected, Apple announced it would begin issuing quarterly dividends of $2.65 per share. It also announced a $10 billion share repurchase program to begin in FY2013.

Fair Labor Association releases preliminary report on Foxconn conditions

The Fair Labor Association released a preliminary report on its findings from inspections at Foxconn that were conducted earlier this year. In what now seems like planned positive PR ahead of the report’s release, Tim Cook visited Foxconn a few days before the report was published and photographs were distributed to media of the visit.

Angry Birds Space

Rovio this month released Angry Birds Space, the fourth in the series (after the original, Rio and Seasons). Unsurprisingly, the game did incredibly well and managed to receive over 10 million downloads in less than 3 days. Particularly awesome was this analysis of the physics used by the game, a great follow-up to the original investigation into Angry Birds physics.

Everything Else


The Really Big Reviews

Everything Else

March Quick Reviews

Retina & Universal

iPhoto for iOS Review

The Essence of a Name

On Reviewing Apps

Getting Your iPad App Ready for the new iPad

Comparing My Favorite iOS Text Editors

Daisey’s Lies Take Us Two Steps Backwards

iPad (3) Review: You Won’t Believe It Until You See It

The Apple Community, Part II

Regarding Apple’s Edge and the new Apple TV Interface

A Series of Clicks

The (Semi)Skeuomorphism

MacStories Reading Lists

MacStories Reading List: February 26 – March 4

MacStories Reading List: New iPad Special Edition

February 2012 In Review

February sure went by quickly, but that certainly doesn’t mean there was a shortage of news, reviews and editorials - in fact it was quite the opposite. After a pretty big January with their education announcement and financial earnings, Apple didn’t slow down in February. They released new ads, previewed Mountain Lion, continued the PR battle over supplier responsibility and confirmed the (presumed iPad keynote) media event for March 7th. February was also a big month for Apps with an updated Tweetbot for iPhone and new Tweetbot for iPad, Clear, Photoshop, Vimeo 2.0 and VLC amongst others. Whilst we continued to focus on providing you, our readers, with great editorial content we discussed topics such as the iPad as a PC, supplier responsibility, greed and iOS 6 wishes amongst others.

Jump the break to view the full review of February 2012. You can also view January 2012 in Review here.

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January 2012 In Review

Starting this month we’re launching a new, month-in-review feature that will summarize the past month’s big news stories, apps and editorials that we have published on MacStories. Each month we’ll give links to all those big stories and give a summation of the big events: for example, this month we detail Apple’s Education Event and include links to all the important articles related to it. We’ll also include links to new apps, app updates and app reviews that we think are worthy of your attention. Finally, we’ll be including links to our standout editorial stories from the past month - the stories we are most proud of.

We hope you enjoy this new feature and find it useful. Our hope is that it gives some perspective on the events of the past month, particularly when news flows so fast these days.

Apple’s Education Event

The big news of January was probably Apple’s Education Event that was held on January 19th in New York. The education-themed event saw the release of iBooks 2.0 which featured the ability to read new multi-touch books and, specifically, textbooks. In order to promote the creation of these new multi-touch books, Apple also released the free iBooks Author application for OS X, allowing virtually anyone to create a beautiful and interactive book for the iBookstore. The event also saw the release of an iTunes U app for the iPhone and iPad to give students and teachers more control over their courses.

Apple’s Q1 2012 Earnings Call

The other significant piece of news from January was Apple’s Q1 2012 earnings call in which Apple revealed it had just had the best quarter in its history, posting $46.33 billion in revenue, selling 37.04 million iPhones and 15.43 million iPads during the blowout quarter. The Next Web pointed out an interesting statistic that by selling 37.04 million iPhones during the 14 week quarter, Apple had actually sold more iPhones than babies had been born during the same time period. We also posted some of the more interesting details and statistics from the earnings call in a follow-up post which is well worth the read. A final article related to the earnings call is the one about how the iPhone ASP rose in Q1 2012, despite the addition of the “free” iPhone 3GS.

Apple Continued To Rollout Products Internationally

January saw the next big wave of iPhone 4S launches in China and 21 other countries on January 13th, making the 4S available in over 90 countries. Apple’s recently launched iTunes Match also became available in 19 additional countries around Europe and South America - taking the total number of countries with iTunes Match to 37 - making it another quick international rollout.

Supplier Responsibility

This month the issue of working conditions at Apple’s suppliers again came under close inspection. It started with the NPR program ‘This American Life’ investigating the issue in one of its episodes. Apple then released its annual Supplier Responsibility report (earlier than last year) and revealed its list of suppliers for the first time. Towards the end of the month, The New York Times featured an editorial on the issue - focusing on Apple. We also linked to a paidContent article that put the NYT article into perspective and rationally laid out the reality that Apple can’t solely change manufacturing overnight.


January saw the untethered A5 jailbreak finally being released, to the joy of many iPhone 4S and iPad 2 owners who had been holding out for a jailbreak for quite some months. In fact the demand for the jailbreak saw nearly 1 million downloads of the tool in just the first 24 hours. Jailbreak certainly hasn’t become irrelevant just yet.

New SVP of Retail

On January 31, Apple announced John Browett has been hired as new Senior Vice President of Retail, a position left open since Ron Johnson left Apple to become the new CEO of J.C. Penney. Browett has been the CEO of European technology retailer Dixons and previously held various executive positions at Tesco, including CEO.

Everything Else

New apps, updates to apps and reviews that we published in January 2012.

January Quick Reviews

A selection of the best editorial pieces that we published on MacStories in January 2012.

January MacStories Reading Lists