Barack Obama got Time magazine's nod for Person of the Year, as might be expected, but less expected may have been Apple CEO Tim Cook's selection as one of 4 runners-up. If you've ever wondered who Tim Cook is and what he means for the future of Apple, I urge you to read Lev Grossman's brilliant profile of him. Here's how he describes the way in which Cook contrasts with the late founder Steve Jobs: "Jobs was loud, brash, unpredictable, uninhibited and very often unshaven. Cook isn’t. He doesn’t look like the CEO of Apple, he looks more like an Apple product: quiet, tidy, carefully curated, meticulously tooled and at the same time strangely warm and inviting. He doesn’t look like Jobs, he looks like something Jobs would have made. Cook’s flawless cap of white hair could have been designed by Jony Ive and fabricated in China out of brushed aluminum."
Apple's stock is swooning, actually dipping below $500 yesterday after reaching a high of $704 not so long ago. It's hard to say why, but in the long term the question lingers: will Apple be able to come up with the Next Big Thing? After reading an excellent article by Jeremy Allaire on All Things D, I'm convinced that the answer is yes. And that it will be an Apple HDTV. Allaire's points just make sense, and reading them one gets the sense that this will be an inevitible next step for Apple.
In my post last Saturday I noted discounts from AT&T and WalMart for the iPad and iPhone, and I wanted to higlight those prices again. WalMart is offering the amazing deal of an iPhone 5 for $127 with a 2-year contract. The 30-day promotion began last Friday. You can read more on MacRumors. Note, though, that this offer is only available in stores, and apparently only available at WalMart Supercenters. All Things D reports checking a number of stores and finding inventories and pricing of the phones to be quite inconsistent.
As I suggested would be the case when the iPad mini first came out, it's on track to becoming the most popular iPad, outselling the iPad with retina display, according to market analyst David Hsieh with NPD DisplaySearch. Apparently Apple had expected to sell some 6 million iPad minis in 2012, with most of those sales coming in the December quarter. But according to Hsieh, as reported by CNET, Apple has asked the makers of the display panel for the iPad mini to ship over 12 million of them for the quarter.
Today Apple posted their Best of 2012 lists, including Best Apps of 2012. This is an excellent guide to apps that you should consider for your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
Yesterday the Wall Street Journal once again stoked the rumor mill by reporting that Apple is making more moves toward coming out with a TV. According to AppleInsider, the article says that Apple is currently testing several designs for a large-format HDTV in partnership with the Asian manufacturers Foxconn and Sharp. The article does point out that this doesn't necessarily mean that Apple will manufacture a TV.
What a nice Christmas present. As my fellow blogger James Rhodes noted, Google Maps (free) arrived late yesterday and has the best of everything. It includes crucial features missing in Apple's original app based on Google's technology, and it includes features missing in Apple's new Maps app that arrived with iOS 6. Unlike the earlier version, it now has voice-guided turn-by-turn directions and vector graphics. The latter means that the maps are created on-the-fly mathematically instead of using images.
It's time for end-of-year lists, and Time magazine has weighed in with its top 10 gadgets of the year. The iPhone 5 tops the list, with the magazine especially appreciating the way that Apple fusses over the tiny little details: "Apple may be responsible for more than its share of the tech industry’s great leaps forward, but it’s at least as good at fussing over the tiny little details other companies ignore.
The arrival of new products is many months away, but already we're getting predictions regarding what and when. And note that these predictions aren't completely fanciful: they come from a market analyst who has industry contacts. Peter Misek of investment firm Jefferies says that we'll likely see an iPhone 5S in June or July of next year. He thinks it will have, according to AppleInsider, "a new super HD camera/screen, a better battery, and NFC." He also says that there's a possiblity that the new phone will come in 6 colors, like the new iPod touch, that it will have an IGZO display, and will have a 128GB option.
One of the more interesting tidbits in the past couple days was T-Mobile's announcement that they'll be offering the iPhone next year — but with a difference. They'll not offer subsized phones, like the other carriers do, but instead will either charge full price or will lease the phone to their customers.