Apple has had a busy 2013. We've seen the release of the iPad AirRetina iPad miniiPhone 5s and iPhone 5c as well as the launch of a new Mac Pro and an update to the iMacRetina MacBook Pro and MacBook Air. We've also seen new software from the company, including iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks. Here, we recap Apple's May. 

See also: Apple's Jan 2013 / Apple's Feb 2013

The 50 billionth app download

May saw the Apple App Store mark its historic 50 billionth download, rewarding the iTunes user who broke the milestone with a gift voucher for €10,000, redeemable in the iTunes Store only. The user, Brandon Ashmore from Mentor, Ohio, downloaded Say the Same Thing by Space Inch, LLC, and received the App Store Gift Card to commemorate the occasion.

50 billion downloads from Apple's App Store

Apple's success in the third-party apps market took everyone by surprise, including its own staff; it's been reported that Steve Jobs wanted to forbid software that wasn't made by Apple itself from being installed on the iPhone.

These days app download numbers are a regular clarion call that Apple issues to show how well things are going. Most iOS device product launches will be preceded by some statistics related to the number of downloads - and the vast revenue - that is being processed by the App Store.

In the build-up to the milestone, Apple stoked user excitement with the promise of the gift certificate, which no doubt helped the numbers tick around even quicker.

New budget iPod touch

It didn't pack the same excitement as the iOS devices launched later in the year, but the new budget iPod touch that Apple unveiled in May gave a lot of customers a lot of pleasure. By removing the rear-facing iSight camera, Apple was able to sell the 16GB unit for £199 - a nice deal.

Apple's tax affairs in the spotlight

Less happily, this month saw Apple's tax affairs come under scrutiny. Apple CEO Tim Cook appeared before the US Senate's Subcommittee on Investigations to discuss multinational companies and how they pay taxes.

Cook defended Apple's tax payments by stressing that, as one of the largest firms in the US, it provides a huge benefit to the economy - and insisted that it pays every cent that it owes.

One senator in particular felt that Apple was doing an exemplary job and should not be censured. Rand Paul tweeted a series of supportive messages, including:

"If you want to chase companies like Apple away, continue to vilify them. Congress should be giving Apple an award today".

And: "If there is anyone to blame here it is not Apple, it is Congress and the tax code it created".

Paradoxically (although somehwat predictably if you follow Woz's pronouncements), former Apple chief engineer Steve Wozniak weighed in on the opposite sideThe current tax system, as followed by Apple and othe large companies, is "why the rich get richer and the poor get poorer," he claimed.

iWatch rumours continue to fizz

Apple iWatch rumours

Rumours about the Apple iWatch continued in May. Speculation has stretched back as far back as 2011, when it was first alleged that Apple had employed several new wearable computing experts to work on such device. By May, some even believed Apple was working on an iWatch round the clock. (Excuse terrible pun.) It was actually claimed that Apple's supplier Foxconn had begun trial production of the iWatch, and that Apple had ordered 1,000 units.

As we reach the end of the 2013, it's still not apparent whether the iWatch is a market-busting product just around the corner, or a figment of the media's imagination.

See also: In defence of iWatch: stop criticising a product that doesn't exist yet

Apple auctions off 'coffee with Tim Cook' for charity...

At a fundraising auction in May, Apple also helped to raise awareness for the Washington-based Robert F. Kennedy Centre for Justice and Human Rights, by offering bidders "the unique opportunity to have coffee with Apple CEO Tim Cook". The final bid reached a substantial $610,000 (£400,000), and was made 30 minutes before the auction closed.

Tim Cook

The name of the bidder is unknown, but Apple did insist that "polite manners and respect from the generous donor are a must". This might have ruled out Steve Ballmer.

...and Cook's interview at D11 is a revelation

A major turning point in Apple's year, this. Previously there had been more than a little criticism that Apple wasn't capable of innovating any more. But in an interview on stage at All Things Digital, Tim Cook outlined the company's plans for the future and made it clear that we hadn't seen nothing yet.

From wearable computing to iOS 7, and even covering topics such as tax (as mentioned previously) and acquisitions, Cook set out Apple's stall for 2013. And sure enough, the year would turn out to be rich in Apple releases. Can't innovate, my ass.

BBM comes to iOS

In a small but telling development that revealed a great deal about the respective fortunes of the mobile giants, it was confirmed in May that BlackBerry's trump card - the BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) service - would be made available on other platforms, including Apple's iPhone. Full story: BlackBerry's free BBM app coming to Apple's iOS platform.

BlackBerry was once king of the smartphone space, but has faced such difficulties this year that it felt this was the only way forward. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. 

A new games console is unveiled

Last of all, a major tech event that didn't seem to affect Apple... or did it?

In May Apple's old enemy launched a new product in a category that Apple has historically shown little interest in: home games consoles. The Xbox One was incredibly hyped and then incredibly criticised by media wiseacres (sound familiar?).

Yet rumours continue to suggest that Apple will get up in Microsoft's grill by launching a games console of its own.

In a silly mood, we imagined what the Xbox One launch would have been like if it was run by Apple.

And that's it for May! See you in June.

Macworld UK on Twitter / David Price on Twitter

Read more: 

Apple's 2013 in review: September brings iOS 7, iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c

Apple's 2013 in review: August brings legal victories and defeats, and a much-anticipated Steve Jobs movie

Apple's 2013 in review – July: iWatch trademark, iOS 7 betas, court cases and Logic Pro X

Apple's 2013 in review: June brings the Apple price fixing trial, Mavericks, Mac Pro at WWDC, Ive, Woz and more

Apple's 2013 in review: May brings a new iPod, tax arguments, BBM for iOS and a blockbuster Tim Cook speech

Apple's 2013 in review: April gave us our first (unofficial) glimpse at the iPad Air

Apple 2013 in review - March: Woz wisdom, Mac Pro banned, iPhone trademark dispute

Apple's 2013 in review: February brings milestones, a bumper dividend and yet another lawsuit

Apple's 2013 in review: what Apple did in January

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