Apple’s 2020 Year in Review: The Highs and Lows

What a roller coaster ride 2020 has been, even for Apple. The company (like most of us) had other plans for the year, but the worldwide pandemic had something else in store. Even though the year didn’t go as planned, Apple managed to attract a lot of eyeballs (and sales too), now that we all are staring at a screen most of the time. Overall, 2020 has been yet another memorable year for Apple. Let’s take a deeper look at what the company did in our year-end review.

Apple’s 2020 Year in Review

January: No CES for Apple, Yet Again

Face ID Icon Copied By Samsung For CES 2020 Keynote Slide

Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2020 was probably the last in-person conference held this year. Apple, yet again, missed the Las Vegas show this year. For one thing, at least an Apple icon did make an appearance at CES. Samsung was announcing its ‘Samsung Pass’ security services when an icon, similar to Apple’s FaceID icon, made an appearance on the company’s slideshow.

Samsung’s blunder caught the media’s eyes, and everyone made fun of what happened at the event. The press release and the software published by Samsung had a new Iris icon.

Another interesting thing that happened in January was Ming-Chi Kuo’s right prediction about how the Coronavirus outbreak would impact companies like Apple.

February: Outbreak worsens, Stocks Continue to Fall

apple china stores closed lockdown

Coronavirus outbreak continued to grow in February. Following the Chinese government guidelines, Apple closed all the offices and retail stores throughout China until 9th February. But even this mini-lockdown was extended, after a memo sent by Apple to its employees. On February 17th, the company issued a note to all investors announcing that it would not be able to achieve the quarterly expectations of $63-$67 billion in revenue.

Apple’s reliance on China hit the company hard. It shipped only 500,000 iPhones in February 2020, a 60% year-on-year decline. Shares fell by over 11%. Even though the company was bound to miss its quarterly targets, it ensured investors that those “disruptions were temporary.”

March: Stores Remain Closed, New Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro Introduced

New iPad Pro - Magic Keyboard with Trackpad

Apple Stores remain closed throughout the world in March. But, it didn’t really stop Apple from releasing new products. Apple refreshed the MacBook Air, which we can now safely say was the last ever MacBook Air running Intel chip. The March refresh of MacBook Air featured 10th-generation Intel chips and the good-old scissor keyboard.

Apple also announced a new iPad Pro that month. It featured 6GB RAM (on all variants) and the new A12Z Bionic chip. But the most interesting thing released that month was the new Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro. Magic Keyboard, a new fancy $300 (or $350, depending on the variant) keyboard for the iPad Pro ‘floats’ the iPad in the air, and brings physical keys and mouse to the iPad.

In March 2020, Apple took the official call of canceling in-person WWDC. Instead, Apple announced its ‘first-ever’ virtual WWDC event.

April: iPhone SE 2020 Launched, Google and Apple Collaborate for COVID-19 Tracking

Apple Google Collaboration

Long-running rumors came to an end when Apple (finally!) announced the iPhone SE 2020. The phone featured the same outer shell as the iPhone 8, and iPhone 11/Pro’s A13 Bionic processor and a $400 price tag.

In other news of April 2020, the Cupertino-based giant allowed Apple Card users to defer their payments, that too interest-free. Early talks of Google and Apple began when the two giants joined hands to track down the virus. And it wouldn’t be a month without Facebook being defamed about some wrong practices. In April of 2020, a court filing revealed Facebook’s intention of tracking iOS users using a spyware software Pegasus.

May: Jon Prosser Leaks iPhone 12, Apple Google COVID-19 Tracking Goes Live

iOS 14.3 What's New

With everybody settling-in with the virus, and adapting to the ‘new normal’, Apple stores began to re-open in May. With so many norms to follow, things became clear that shopping was going to be different than what we’re used to.

Jon Prosser was another leaker who gained a lot of name in the Apple leak industry this year. He was right in predicting iPhone SE 2020’s launch, and with just a month left for WWDC 2020, he leaked everything about iPhone 12 series. The claims, now we can of course say were correct, upping Jon’s Apple track record. And yeah, Apple and Google’s COVID-19 tracking went live in May, though it was adopted only by a bunch of countries at launch.

June: Apple Announces iOS 14, macOS Big Sur, Transition from Intel to Apple Silicon at WWDC 2020

In the last week of June, Apple held its yearly developer conference — WWDC 2020. The company announced new versions of operating systems for iPhones, Macs, Apple TV, and Apple Watch.

iOS 14 brings in much-required changes like a redesigned call-screen, app library, widgets in the home screen, to iOS. macOS Big Sur is the single biggest redesign to macOS since macOS 10. But the star of the show was the announcement of the transition of Intel-based Macs to Apple’s own Silicon.

Apple also announced new features for iPadOS, watchOS, and tvOS. Read our round-up of WWDC 2020 here.

July: iOS 14 Puts Many Apps to Shame, Tim Cook at the Congress

iOS 14 came with a lot of privacy-focused features, such as indicators on the top right when the microphone and camera are being accessed, and a pop-up when an app accesses the clipboard. Popular apps like LinkedIn, TikTok, and Reddit were found reading clipboard data without any reason. Instagram was also found accessing the camera even when it wasn’t required.

Later in July, Tim Cook was called by the US Congress for an antitrust hearing on the App Store policies and its 30% commissions.

August: Apple Hits $2 Trillion in Valuation, Removes Fortnite from the App Store

The Cupertino-based giant hit $2 trillion in valuation in August of 2020, making it the most valuable company in the world. But the very same month, Epic Games, developer of the popular battle royal game Fortnite, took Apple to the court after the company removed its game from the App Store. Epic Games bypassed Apple’s in-app purchasing system to cut the company’s 30% commission.

Pangu team also found an unpatchable exploit in Apple’s Secure Enclave Processor in the same month.

September: iPad Air 4th Generation, Apple Watch Series 6, Apple One Launched

apple ipad air

September marked the announcement of the new iPad Air, Apple Watch Series 6 and SE, and Apple One. iPad Air became the second iPad category to ditch the home button and opt for a full-screen small bezel design. It features the latest A14 Bionic processor and has TouchID built into the power button. The new iPad impressed the masses with its color options.

The Apple Watch was also updated to Series 6. It brought much-awaited features like sleep tracking to the watch and blood oxygen tracking. Along with the Series 6, Apple also announced Apple Watch SE. Apple also debuted its One subscription at their Time Flies event.

The company also released iOS 14, tvOS 14, and watchOS 7 to the public. iOS 14 was well received by the public with over 26% of iPhones running the latest software in the first week of its launch.

October: iPhone 12 Series, HomePod Mini Launched

iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro max, and HomePod mini pre-orders

The company finally launched its iPhone 12 series and a new HomePod in October. iPhone 12 impressed everyone with its new OLED display, making it the first iPhone series to not have LCD displays and the good-old iPhone 5 style design. It features the latest A14 Bionic processor, based on 5nm-node technology, 5G, and MagSafe for iPhone. The company also released a smaller version of the phone — iPhone 12 Mini — in James Bond-style during its keynote.

iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max bring the LiDAR sensor to the iPhone offering improvements in AR and Camera departments. iPhone 12 Pro Max becomes the first iPhone to feature different cameras from the smaller iPhone 12 and Pro. It features a 47% bigger camera sensor and sensor-shift OIS technology. Read everything about the iPhone 12 Pro Max here.

The company also updated its HomePod series by bringing a $99 HomePod Mini to the line-up. It features a new smaller, spherical design and S5 chip.

November: Apple Announces First Macs Running Apple M1, Reduced Commissions for Small App Developers

craig apple m1 macbook

November marked the transition of Apple from Intel-based Macs to its own ARM-based chips. The company, in its last virtual event of 2020, announced new MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac Mini running M1 chip. The new chip offers better performance and battery life, all while consuming low power, as compared to the Intel-based Macs. To make the transition smoother, Apple also released a new version of Rosetta with M1-based Macs that run the traditional x86-based apps on the new Macs.

Along with ARM-based Macs, Apple also announced a reduction in App Store commissions, marking a huge win for Epic Games. Under the Small Business Program, developers who earn less than $1 million in commission from Apple can now benefit from the lowered 15% App Store commission.

macOS Big Sur was also released to the public following the One More Thing event. macOS Big Sur brings massive design changes to macOS since its inception.

December: AirPods Max Introduced, iOS 14.3 Launches with Fitness+ and ProRAW

AirPods Max Spatial Audio

In December, Apple forged into a different audio category with the launch of AirPods Max. AirPods Max is over-the-ear earphones from the Cupertino-based giant that cost $549. The headphones feature active noise cancellation, changeable magnetic earcups, and no headphone jack.

The company also released Fitness+, its own workout-from-home service. iOS 14.3 was also released in the month, which enabled ProRAW support on the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max. Photographers all around the world detailed how ProRAW takes the iPhone’s camera to next level.

Overall, 2020 was a great year for Apple. The company reached $2 trillion in valuation, clocked over a billion active iPhone users, and had impressive earnings call for three quarters, sometimes even beating expectations of the investors. Even though there were some road bumps for the company — COVID-19 obstructing the work, Antitrust accusations, Epic Saga, and the debacle of iPhone 12 not including a charger — 2020’s been a decent year for Apple.

What are your thoughts on Apple’s performance in 2020? What do you think is in store for us for the next year? Let us know in the comment section below!