From tiny innovations to big brawls, this is how Apple rolled in 2016

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Thank Jobs, 2016 is finally over!
Thank Jobs, 2016 is finally over!
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

2016 Year in Review Cult of Mac 2016 sent Apple for a wild ride full of fantastic new products, crazy controversies and tons of extra drama with its rivals.

Tim Cook and his colleagues probably can’t wait to jump into 2017. But before we start looking toward Apple’s future, let’s take a quick look back at all the stories that made 2016 a year Apple fans will never forget.

Consumers say Apple and Samsung make too many smartphones

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The iPhone 6s is selling like hotcakes.
Do you really need to upgrade every year?
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

When it comes to smartphone upgrades, consumers now think that companies like Apple and Samsung release too many new models and don’t put enough effort towards recycling.

A new study from Greenpeace surveyed over 6,000 people in the U.S. China, Russian, Mexico, Germany and South Korea and found that the average person has at least three phones at home, and more than half said they more than half said they would be okay with changing phones less often.

Popular fitness app makes U.S. debut in time for New Year’s resolutions

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No weights, classes or gym. The Freeletics app designs a workout program that uses your body weight.
No weights, classes or gym. The Freeletics app designs a workout program that uses your body weight.
Photo: Freeletics

You have a gym membership, but you’ve talked yourself out of going. You paid for a personal trainer and found reasons to cancel.

Maybe fitness can be achieved through your smartphone or smartwatch, but the excuse that now grinds the revolution to a halt is too many apps from which to choose.

Freeletics, a workout app that made its U.S. debut earlier this month, wants to make this an easy choice. First, it invites you to join more than 7 million other users, a community, the company says, grows by more than 6,000 users a week.

‘Peak smartphone’ is why Tim Cook is so hot for switchers

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Apple CEO Tim Cook gladly welcomes Android users to make the switch.
Apple CEO Tim Cook gladly welcomes Android users to make the switch.
Photo: Roberto Baldwin/The Next Web (2014)

Apple convinced us we couldn’t live without a smartphone. Now many of us have a smartphone in hand and Apple may be facing the curse side of the blessing — finding new customers for the iPhone.

Credit Suisse recently issued a report to investors that further fuels speculation that iPhone sales will dip for the first time since Apple introduced it in 2007. The upshot: Smartphone ownership is approaching 100 percent. We’re nearing “peak smartphone.”

How to shield your kid from smartphone cyberbullies

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It's never too soon to start teaching your kids to be safe online.
It's never too soon to start teaching your kids to be safe online.
Photo: Marcus Kwan/Flickr CC

Gabriella van Rij thinks we all need to be kinder to each other — especially online. To that end, she’s leading a kindness movement aimed at eliminating the cyberbullying that can happen when kids get their mitts on the hottest gifts around: smartphones and tablets like the iPhone and iPad.

“The truth is,” says van Rij, “smartphones can be weapons in the wrong hands.”

Pope says nope to smartphones at dinner

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Pope Francis welcomes the presence of smartphones - but not at dinner.
Pope Francis welcomes the presence of smartphones - but not at dinner.
Photo: Catholic Herald

We know Pope Francis is a fan of technology. He is on Twitter with 8 million followers and when in public, the guy never turns down a selfie request.

But His Holiness wants us all to put away our smartphones when seated at the dinner table.

Japanese helper-bot is as adorable as it is ridiculous

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This guy has traded in his smartphone for a RoBoHon.
This guy has traded in his smartphone for a RoBoHon.
Photo: Sharp/YouTube

Now if Cupertino really wanted to make Siri something special, they would give her a head, arms and legs, and make her dance when she plays music.

Sharp Electronics has either jumped ahead of Apple or jumped the shark tank with an animated robotic smartphone called RoBoHon. It does everything your current smartphone does but with moving appendages, an adorable, futuristic face and a sweet voice to make it a very personable sidekick.

Outdoor battery charger saves you from having to completely rough it

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The goBAT 6000 can charge your smartphone up to three times during your outdoor adventures.
The goBAT 6000 can charge your smartphone up to three times during your outdoor adventures.
Photo: SCOSCHE

The whole point of rustic camping or any outdoor adventure is to unplug from the world. But your iPhone and all its apps are so darn useful to your active lifestyle, your idea of rustic still needs a place to recharge the battery.

SCOSCHE Industries has a portable battery pack to help keep things primitive, well for 2015 anyway. The goBAT 6000 can handle mud, water and dubious weather, and has the power to charge your smartphone three times.