Apple in 2017: A year of epic proportions

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Apple year in review 2017
Did any company have a better 2017 than Apple?
Image: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Cult of Mac's 2017 Apple year in review 2017 was a pretty damn good year for the world’s most profitable tech company.

Apple did much more than rake in more cash than any company this year. Cupertino also pushed out its most impressive product lineup ever, laid the groundwork for the future of augmented reality, moved into a new spaceship campus, battled other tech giants and got tossed into the political spotlight.

Apple dominated the tech scene in 2017 more than any other company. Here’s a recap of some of the year’s most memorable Apple moments.

January

iphone 7
Apple rode the iPhone 7 Plus’ wave into 2017.
Photo: Apple

2017 started off with one of Apple’s biggest legal battles ever as the company feuded with longtime partner Qualcomm. The two sides traded jabs at each other in the press and in court throughout 2017, but all the drama started in January when Apple filed its first lawsuit against the San Diego-based chipmaker for overcharging on royalty fees.

Apple also lost one of its key coders in January: Chris Lattner, the creator of the Swift programming language, left for Tesla. And Apple knocked heads with the Trump administration after a travel ban to the United States from several Muslim nations.

Thanks to strong iPhone 7 sales, Apple snapped a streak of three quarters in a row of shrinking revenues, putting the company on pace for a historical fiscal year.

February

apple earnings
Apple’s moneymaking machine rose to a new level in 2017.
Photo illustration: Steve Smith/Cult of Mac

Following a strong financial report, Apple shares hit all-time highs a few times during February. Mega-investor Warren Buffet decided to double down on his AAPL shares. And Apple was named the most admired company for the 10th straight year.

While Apple’s year got off to a great start, its biggest rival Samsung struggled as its chief officer became embroiled in an embezzling and perjury scandal. Apple and Trump also got into another disagreement after the president reversed a transgender bathroom ruling.

March

iPhone 7
The RED iPhone 7 launch wasn’t that exciting.
Photo: Steve Smith/Cult of Mac

WikiLeaks kicked March off by dumping the CIA’s entire hacking arsenal online, giving the public and foreign nations a look at some of the country’s hacking tools. Apple said it had already patched most of the leaked exploits, though, so customers didn’t need to worry. The leak had no effect on Apple’s stock price, which hit a couple new highs during the month.

The first new Apple products of 2017 were introduced in March as Apple debuted a new (RED) iPhone 7, 9.7-inch iPad, Clips moviemaking app and some new Apple Watch bands. iOS 10.3 brought the new Apple File System, Find My AirPods and more.

The iPhone also was the main talking point in politics after a Republican congressional leader suggested that poor people should give up their iPhones in order to afford healthcare.

April

Apple car
Apple’s Lexus has been upgraded with lots of new sensors.
Photo: Idiggapple/Twitter

Details of Apple’s work on self-driving cars emerged in April after California gave Apple the green light to start testing its autonomous vehicle technology on public roads. Vehicles equipped with Apple’s sensor arrays were spotted in public shortly thereafter and some training documents leaked as well.

iPhone chipmaker Imagination Technologies revealed that Apple is developing its own graphics processing units for iPhones. The news puts the British tech company in financial jeopardy, as it’s dependent on Apple for revenues. (A number of Imagination’s top employees have already been hired by Apple for the project.)

Rumors also started to spring up that Apple is working on a mysterious satellite project that’s being led by Dropcom co-founder Greg Duffy. Apple’s fight with Qualcomm intensified during April, too, as Apple deemed its contract with Qualcomm to be unacceptable and stopped making royalty payments altogether.

May

Tim Cook
Tim Cook received a warm welcome from students at Auburn University.
Photo: Tim Cook/Twitter

Apple charged into May beating Wall Street’s expectations during its Q2 2017 earnings report. The company posted its second straight quarter of profit growth. Services played a big role in Apple’s big boost as the App Store, iTunes, Apple Music and iCloud started to become the size of a Fortune 100 company.

Tim Cook revealed Apple created a $1 billion fund to boost U.S. manufacturing. The move appeared to be a response to criticism from Trump and other Americans for making the iPhone in China. Gorilla Glass was the first company to receive money from the fund.

In retaliation for not paying royalties, Qualcomm tried to get a court to order an import ban on iPhones into the United States. It also asked a court to force iPhone suppliers to keep paying it royalties during the company’s standoff with Apple.

June

Michelle Obama at WWDC
Michelle Obama addresses Apple developers at WWDC.
Photo: Kenny Batista

WWDC 2017 launched Apple fans into summer with a host of new products and software that showed the company was just as good as ever. The company teased an all-new iMac Pro and HomePod smart speaker during the developers conference. Apple also came out with a new 10.5-inch iPad Pro to go with the first beta of iOS 11, which brought a ton of new multitasking features to the tablet.

Apple also made its first step into the world of augmented reality with ARKit. The new API platform made it easy for developers to build augmented reality apps, turning the iPhone and iPad into the world’s biggest AR platform. macOS High Sierra, tvOS 11 and watchOS 4 were also shown at the annual event.

Cook reportedly met with Trump in June to discuss government economic inefficiencies. Other top executives from Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, Qualcomm and Adobe also attended the meeting. Cook pushed Trump to make coding a mandatory part of kids’ education.

July

Dwayne Johnson
The Rock and Siri make an unlikely super team.
Photo: Apple

iPhone rumor season launched into full swing with reports that an upcoming 3D face scanning feature would replace Touch ID. Meanwhile, Qualcomm kept its fight with Apple alive, calling for the International Trade Commission to ban all iPhones with an Intel chip. It appears there could be a resolution on the horizon, though, after Qualcomm’s CEO hinted the feud could be settled out of court, if the price is right.

Apple’s other summer activities included the release of its first “movie,” which starred Dwayne Johnson alongside Apple’s digital assistant, Siri. Instead of dissing Trump again publicly, Cook responded to the president’s transgender military ban by saying “discrimination against anyone holds everyone back.”

August

HomePod
Apple says HomePod is “easier than easy.”
Photo: Apple

The biggest Apple hardware leaks of 2017 came from Apple’s own software, after HomePod firmware leaked to the public, revealing nearly all of the details of the iPhone X. A leaked copy of the iOS 11 golden master also provided the names of the devices, camera and processor details, info on the new Portrait Lighting mode, new wallpapers, Animojis and more.

Apple stock price shot to a new all-time high again after the company posted its second-highest Q3 results ever.

Apple’s ambitious TV plans started coming into focus during August as it released the first episode of Carpool Karaoke. After hiring two Sony executives that helped bring Breaking Bad to the screen, Apple reportedly decided it will spend $1 billion on original content in 2018.

September

Tim Cook
Tim couldn’t resist using Steve’s favorite line in his new theater.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s biggest product unveiling of 2017 took place in the newly completed Steve Jobs Theater at Apple Park. The iPhone X, iPhone 8 and iPhone Plus were unveiled to the public. Apple Watch Series 3 and Apple TV 4K also were showcased at the event, featured only a few surprises thanks to the many leaks.

iOS 11 launched to the public, bringing a bunch of important new productivity and multitasking features to the iPad. It also added a revamped Control Center to iPhone, a new Files app, improvements to Photos and the camera, and hundreds of other additions. macOS High Sierra came out, too, along with watchOS 4 and tvOS 11.

After a number of natural disasters struck North America, Apple made big donations to help victims. Apple donated $5 million to Hurricane Harvey and Irma recovery efforts, then donated $1 million more to help with the Mexico City earthquake cleanup. And the Apple community raised an extra $13 million for disaster recovery efforts.

U.S. manufacturing got another boost from the Apple supply chain after Foxconn announced it will build its first plant in Wisconsin.

October

Steve Jobs Theater
The new Steve Jobs Theater at Apple Park.
Photo: Duncan Sinfield

As Apple’s fight with Qualcomm wore into October, reports started surfacing that Apple plans to side-step Qualcomm entirely and make iPhones and iPads that don’t use any Qualcomm chips at all. The two companies’ legal battle is still ongoing.

Tim Cook did a lot of traveling in October, meeting with French President Francois Macron and then the president of China later in the month. Apple finally got the green light to build a data center in Ireland that’s been plagued with hurdles since it was announced. Meanwhile, Ireland was being sued by the European Union for billions in unpaid Apple taxes.

November

iPhone X
The iPhone X is magical.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

iPhone X, the most anticipated Apple product of 2017, launched at the beginning of 2017 with huge lines at Apple stores across the world. With its new Face ID feature and bezel-free display, the iPhone X packed some of the biggest changes since the original iPhone. Shipping estimates quickly slipped to five to six weeks due to the huge demand.

Apple Park finally opened its doors to the public in November after being under construction for years. Non-employees can only go inside the visitor center but you can see an AR version of Apple campus and buy unique merchandise only available at the Apple HQ.

Apple also posted its best Q4 earnings ever during November, thanks to the launch of the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus and reignited growth in China. To the disappointment of audiophiles, Apple announced that its HomePod speaker wouldn’t be out in 2017.

December

The new iMac Pro brings awesome firepower to the desktop this December.
The new iMac Pro brings awesome firepower to the desktop.
Photo: Apple

Apple finished off 2017 with a bit of controversy after some iPhone owners discovered their old devices got faster if they replaced the battery. As a result, Apple confirmed that it slows down CPU speeds on iPhones with older batteries so that the device doesn’t draw too much power and cause crashes.

With Apple Park finally completed, Jony Ive returned to working directly over Apple’s design leaders and team. Apple bought Shazam for around $400 million, which may have made it the company’s biggest acquisition of 2017, but it’s hard to tell because Cupertino doesn’t disclose such details.

Apple also launched the iMac Pro just in time for Christmas. The costly machine has earned rave reviews so far, but many Apple fans are waiting to see what goodies 2018 has in store.