Apple CEO Tim Cook has sent out an email to employees that looks back over Apple's 2013 and discusses "big plans" for 2014.

 

The email, which was received by Apple employees on Sunday, begins with praise from Cook, highlighting Apple's achievements as a company in 2013 that were made possible thanks to its staff.

"This holiday season, tens of millions of people around the world, from all walks of life, are experiencing Apple products for the first time," the email reads. "Those moments of surprise and delight are magical, and they're all made possible by your hard work."

Cook goes on to remind employees of Apple's year, during which the company "introduced industry-leading products in each of our major categories in 2013."

Those products included the iPhone 5s, iOS 7 (which Cook describes as "an extraordinarily ambitious project"), the free OS X Mavericks, the iPad Air and the iPad mini with Retina display, and the Texas-built Mac Pro that will begin shipping in January here in the UK. Cook also mentioned Apple's 50 billionth App Store download milestone, which was reached just five years after the App Store launched. "No one could have predicted we would reach it so quickly," Cook said.

Cook also touched upon Apple's charitable acts in 2013, which include the company's efforts for charities such as Red Cross aid and (PRODUCT)RED. He notes that Apple's design guru Jony Ive recently held an auction for (PRODUCT)RED to support the Global Fund in its fight against AIDS, and raised £8 million for the charity.

Other matters that Apple has been involved with this year are the fight for equality and diversity in the US as well as environmental issues. "We've urged the US Congress to support workplace protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity," writes Cook. "We are also laser focused on our contribution to several environmental initiatives and we will increase our efforts even more in this area in the future."

Recapping the year is wonderful, of course, but the part of Cook's letter that got us most excited was the final paragraph, which reads: "We have a lot to look forward to in 2014, including some big plans that we think customers are going to love."

In addition to new iPhones, iPads, Macs and Apple software, we're hoping for a big update to the Apple TV in 2014, as well as the long-rumoured iWatch.

"I am extremely proud to stand alongside you as we put innovation to work serving humankind's deepest values and highest aspirations. I consider myself the luckiest person in the world for the opportunity to work at this amazing company with all of you," Cook concludes. Aww.

For more on Apple's 2013 check out the links below.

Apple's March 2013

Apple's February 2013

Apple's January 2013

2013: The year in numbers

We've also put together our predictions features for 2014, so you can look forward to what's ahead.

Apple predictions: The iPhone in 2014

Apple predictions: The iPad in 2014

Apple's plans for OS X 10, iOS 8, iLife, iWork and other Apple software in 2014

What are Apple's plans for the iMac, Mac mini, MacBook and Mac Pro in 2014