What Apple did in January 2012
Record-breaking iPhone, iPad, and Mac sales rang in a stellar start to the 2012 fiscal year for Apple. The company began the year on a high, announcing excellent first quarter results (Tim Cook’s first full quarter as CEO). Apple made a profit of $13.06 billion for the quarter ended Dec. 31, the first in its fiscal year. That compared to $6 billion in the same quarter a year earlier, Apple announced on 24 January.
The news inspired analysts and investors, with Katy Huberty of Morgan Stanley issuing a not to investors that weekend suggesting that Apple could sell 40 million iPhones in China in 2013. It set the precedent for a year in which Apple would enhance its focus on China, the most populous country in the world and a very important market for the company.
The other reason why China hit the Apple-related headlines in 2012 was concern about the conditions in the factories where workers make Apple products. A New York Times article appeared at the end of the month alleging worker mistreatment and neglect at Chinese factories that assemble the company's iPhones, iPads, and other devices. In a note to staff, Cook wrote that issue with working conditions is cause for concern.
What Apple did in February 2012
On Valentines Day Apple’s stock closed at $504.98, the first time it had gone above $500, it was a great gift for investors just days after news broke that Apple’s sales had surpassed those of HP, IBM, and AT&T and Verizon, propelling Apple to top of the elite club of tech companies that have more than $100 billion in sales.
Gartner was putting a dampener on things, however, predicting that Apple would see a quarter-on-quarter decline in iPhone sales in Q1 2012. However, at the same time mobile software analyst firm Flurry claimed Google's Android platform was struggling to win over app developers due to fragmentation.
On 24 February Apple held its annual shareholder meeting at which it was standing room only. The company had to use shuttles to take shareholders who didn’t fit in the first two rooms to an additional viewing area. Cook closed the meeting Cook by teasing: "We’re working hard as a team this year, and we’ve got some incredible products that will blow your mind."
What Apple did in March 2012
The third generation iPad launched in March, confusingly known as the New iPad at the time. On Monday 19 March Apple CEO Tim Cook announced: "We had a record weekend, and we’re thrilled with it." The company had sold three million new iPads in the opening weekend.
The problem with the New iPad was its claim to offer LTE 4G. Unfortunately it only offered one type of LTE 4G, the type in the US and Canada, leaving parts of the world that also had 4G networks in the dark. As a result Apple had to backtrack, making changes on its website and point of sale material. Apple was also getting the silent treatment over Siri, with a New York man suing Apple over the Siri voice assistant feature on the iPhone 4S, saying that it doesn't work as advertised.
On 19 March Apple announced that it would begin paying out a dividend and will start buying back shares. Apple said it would pay out $2.65 per share every quarter, starting in July, and buy back $10 billion in stock in the next fiscal year.
At the end of March we were reminded that Apple’s iPad was just one of more than 220 tablet PCs on the market. While the iPad might be dominating now, warned analysts at ABI Research, the trend is for less expensive, sub-$400 (£250) tablets at display sizes between seven and nine inches. Knowing what we know now, it would appear that Apple was well aware of this.
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