Has Apple given us much to be thankful for this year?


Are you pleased with what Apple delivered this year?
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

You might be sick of the sight of Turkey by now, but you can’t spend enough time being thankful. The big question we have is: Should we be thankful to Apple for the lineup it has delivered in 2015, or was this a year to forget?

Friday-Night-Fights-bug-2Apple certainly hasn’t been slow this year; we’ve had the Apple Watch, Apple Music, iPhone 6s with new technologies like 3D Touch, the new Apple TV, and the giant iPad Pro. But will any of these things stand out as smash-hits in a decade?

Join us in this week’s Friday Night Fight between Cult of Android and Cult of Mac as we battle it out over these questions and more!

Killian-FNFKillian Bell (Writer, Cult of Android): As we’re both Brits, I won’t bother wishing you a happy Thanksgiving. I certainly won’t be thanking you for your friendship, either. But I thought we should embrace this holiday in some way. As this is an Apple blog, let’s talk about all the Apple products we’ve been thankful for this year.

Personally, I’m thankful for my Apple Watch, which I still wear and enjoy every day — but not much else. I’m thankful for 3D Touch, but I still don’t think iPhone 6s is a significant upgrade from iPhone 6, and I’m yet to talk myself into buying an iPad Pro or a new Apple TV. I also still think the 4K iMac is a total ripoff.

Now, I know these aren’t the kind of comments an Apple fanboy like yourself wants to hear on Thanksgiving, so tell me, should I be more grateful for the products Apple has introduced this year — or are you just as disappointed that you won’t be driving an Apple Car to the Cyber Monday sales?

cartoonluke_360.pngLuke Dormehl (Writer, Cult of Mac): The truth is that Apple’s given us so much to be grateful for this year that any other argument is, frankly, ludicrous.

Any conversation really needs to start with the amount of money Apple is making right now, with yet more record quarters in the books, and a booming iPhone business that, astonishingly, is doing better than ever. Right now, Apple is making a massive 95 percent of all smartphone profits worldwide, which is just a mind boggling statistic when you think about it.

But I’m not an Apple shareholder. I want the company to do well, but I’m a fan first and foremost — not an investor. So what have we got to be grateful for this year? Well, Apple finally launched the Apple Watch: the first major new product line launched under Tim Cook’s leadership, which is doing gangbusters in sales compared to every other smartwatch out there. Beyond that, we got some fantastic new Macs, the fourth-generation Apple TV (which was my personal pick for most exciting new Apple launch of the year), new iPads, and, as you mentioned, a brand new iPhone that’s not only Apple’s best yet, but also introduced 3D Touch, which once again proves that Apple can innovate when it comes to smartphones.

So that’s unparalleled profits, some great new gadgets, and new versions of OS X and iOS, to boot. Sure, there’s going to be a “miss” here or there when you’re dealing with a company doing as much as Apple is, but — seriously — how can you suggest this isn’t a year to remember?

I’ve been an Apple fan a bit longer than you have, and — while that’s usually a pretty meaningless statistic — I don’t think it is here. If you were to tell the hardcore Apple fans back in 1995 or, heck, 2005 that we’d get all of this in one twelve month period they’d tell you that you were out of your mind not to be calling this an astonishing year for the company.

We’ve gotten spoiled and, just like the inevitable comedown after a massive Thanksgiving dinner, it’s easy to dwell on the negatives, but 2015 was a great, great year for Apple and its fans. How can you seriously suggest otherwise?

iPad Pro is spectacular, but will it be remembered like the original?
iPad Pro is spectacular, but will it be remembered like the original?
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Killian-FNFKillian: I’m not an investor, either, so I’m not going to be thankful for the amount of cash Apple is raking in. I am an Apple fan, so I’m happy it won’t be dead tomorrow — but with so much money in the bank, I won’t waste my time singing hallelujah because Apple made another hundred million while I typed out this paragraph.

I think the fact that the new Apple TV is your personal pick for most exciting product of the year — over the biggest update to the iPad lineup in years, an all-new MacBook, significant updates to the rest of the Mac family, Apple Watch, and Apple Music — speaks volumes about just how exciting the rest of Apple’s products have been in 2015.

I’m not suggesting 2015 hasn’t been a great year for Apple; any company that makes as much as Apple did this year is doing spectacularly. But that doesn’t mean I have to be grateful for its products if they don’t excite me. Are you thankful for what Samsung or Google has delivered?

Look, I love Apple, and I’d be lost without my Mac, my iPad, and even my Apple Watch now. I’m glad the iPhone is still around and doing incredibly well, and I’ll continue to buy it. But for Apple fans, I don’t think 2015 will be a particularly memorable year later on.

cartoonluke_360.pngLuke: The fact that the Apple TV excites me has nothing to do with the perceived lack of quality of Apple’s other offerings — and everything to do with how happy I am about a really good set-top box.

To be honest, there’s not much that can be said in response to your comments, since you’ve not really countered anything I’ve said. I definitely think Samsung and Google have come out with some interesting concepts this year, but nothing compared to what Apple has released. I even forgot to mention Apple Music in my original post, which just goes to show how much there’s been this year worth talking about.

It’s a total error to think we won’t be talking about 2015 in years to come, though. The Apple Watch may still have limited functionality in its first iteration but, guess what, the Macintosh and the iPhone didn’t take over the world from day one, and we still talk about 1984 and 2007 as significant years for the company — to put it mildly.

If you can’t be thankful for the year of exciting releases that Apple just gave us then… well, I guess you can leave your tech blogger credentials at the door on the way out. If Apple was any other company — and, given your biases, particularly one which trafficked in Android malware products, you’d be praising 2015 as the greatest year that ever happened.

Is the new Apple TV really the most exciting Apple product of 2015?
Is the new Apple TV really the most exciting Apple product of 2015?
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Killian-FNFKillian: The difference with the iPhone and the Macintosh — and the iPod and the iPad — is that they were revolutionary products. And as much as I love my Apple Watch, I’m not going to sit here and pretend it’s as groundbreaking as those other things; it doesn’t do anything rival smartwatches can’t do, and it ships with exactly the same limitations.

The other big difference here is the one between you and me: You’ll only use Apple products, whereas I’m more than willing to try almost anything, and I think that gives me a better understanding of the alternatives to Apple’s latest offerings.

Alongside the iPhone 6s on my desk right now is a Galaxy Note 5, a Galaxy S6 edge+ and a couple of other Android-powered devices, and I’m much more grateful for those smartphones from Samsung — which really are major improvements over their predecessors.

We’re clearly going to have to agree to disagree here, so let’s turn this over to the readers now. Are you thankful for the products Apple introduced in 2015, or are you already waiting for what’s next?

Friday Night Fights is a series of weekly death matches between two no-mercy brawlers who will fight to the death — or at least agree to disagree — about which is better: Apple or Google, iOS or Android?


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