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This article was published on December 31, 2010

Apple in 2010: Major screw-ups turn into a banner year

Apple in 2010: Major screw-ups turn into a banner year
Brad McCarty
Story by

Brad McCarty

A music and tech junkie who calls Nashville home, Brad is the Director TNW Academy. You can follow him on Twitter @BradMcCarty. A music and tech junkie who calls Nashville home, Brad is the Director TNW Academy. You can follow him on Twitter @BradMcCarty.

Steve Jobs @ WWDC 2007photo © 2007 Ben Stanfield | more info (via: Wylio)There aren’t any other companies, that we can think of, that can manage to pull off what Apple has in 2010. For a company that prides itself on producing game-changing, amazing products, 2010 proved to be ups and downs like we haven’t seen previously.

The iPad

Let’s back things up to the early part of 2010. Rumors were flying about the Apple tablet that would eventually become known as the iPad. Once the public finally saw it, the calls about it being nothing more than an oversized iPod Touch began. Even we here at TNW gave our list of what sucked about the device. For many, the hardware was heavy, underwhelming and under-capable.

But then the Internet and app developers started playing the game, because Apple typically has the Midas touch when it comes to its devices. Between Gmail, Flipboard and Wired, it became quickly clear that the game of applications and web development had changed. Suddenly, it didn’t matter whether we thought that the name was goofy or if we already had an iPhone, everybody seemed to want Apple’s new toy.

The iPhone 4

iPhone 4photo © 2010 Tyler | more info (via: Wylio)A bit later in the year came the iPhone 4. First, there was the fact that it was still tied to either AT&T or T-Mobile in the US. Even now, at the end of the year, we’ve not actually seen a CDMA or LTE version of the phone. But what came after was an absolute PR nightmare that Apple somehow managed to either ignore or spin into a positive.

To begin, there was the issue of the battery. Somehow there was a rumor of a battery that managed to last 38 hours with heavy use. But simply, it wasn’t true. While a couple of respected tech journalists stuck by their story, our own Zee did his homework and found that the battery life was sadly no better than any previous version.

Then, in case you missed it, Apple had a bit of an antenna issue. Calls were being dropped at ridiculous rates, spawning rumors of class actions lawsuits, new iPhone models and even a recall. Somehow, Apple managed to appease its customers by spending $175 million to provide free bumper-style cases for the crippled device. Now, some months later, we still hear whispers of the problems, but they seem to be largely forgotten. In fact, the demand for the iPhone 4 is still so strong, it seems as if the problems had never happened.

iTunes Compromised

The great part about iTunes is that it’s easy to spot most of the scams. The problem is that Apple doesn’t seem to like to do anything about problems once they’re spotted. Back in July, we noticed one scam that was apparently purchasing applications using in-app transactions and compromised accounts. What’s most interesting, though, is that Apple not only refused to own up to the problem publicly, it went so far as to provide a “fix” that seemed to be completely unrelated to the problem at hand.

This isn’t an isolated issue, either. Over the next few months, we started to hear about more and more issues with the iTunes Store. Just this past November, we wrote about another such happening and we continue to get tips about fraudulent purchases on a near-weekly basis. It’s a problem that Apple needs to address publicly, moreso than just admitting that it has happened, and yet iTunes had a great year.

And so I ask you, my TNW faithful — Is there another company in the world that can launch two products that get lambasted so heavily, yet end up managing to shift their industries? Could any other company get away with literally thousands of dollars in fraudulent charges without any explanation? Somehow, the Apple force field has managed to turn 2010 into a record-setting year for the Cupertino company. 2011 should be hugely interesting…but at what cost?

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