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 November.

iPad Air and Retina iPad mini 2 hit the streets

After the big announcements of October - in an action-packed launch keynote, Apple's top brass detailed the iPad Air and iPad mini 2 with Retina display - probably the biggest news of November was the new iPads hitting stores. The new iPad mini finally becoming available, some time after the iPad Air made its debut.

Retina iPad mini

The iPad mini 2 has suffered from shortages, which some reports put down to the iPad mini 2's Retina display being difficult to produce. During Apple's quarterly conference call, CEO Tim Cook said it was "unclear" whether there would be enough supply of the iPad mini 2 for the quarter.

As a Retina-screen model, the new iPad mini promises razor sharp text and detail in a thin and light design. The new iPad Mini features the same A7 chip as the iPhone 5s with 64-bit desktop-class architecture, built-in Wi-Fi and expanded LTE cellular connectivity.

iPad mini 2 with Retina display vs iPad mini 1 comparison review

The iPad Air's launch, meanwhile, went a little more smoothly. As is now traditional with new iOS device launches, there were healthy queues snaking round the block at Apple's Regent Street headquarters.

"The response to iPad Air has been incredible, and we're excited for customers to experience the new iPad mini with Retina display," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice-president of worldwide marketing. "We think customers will love both of these thin, light, powerful new iPads, and we're working hard to get as many as we can in the hands of our customers."

Apple boss Tim Cook declares support for gay rights

Early in November Apple's CEO, Tim Cook, reaffirmed his own - and Apple's - staunch support for gay rights with an article in the Wall Street Journal.

Apple's boss argued that extending the antidiscrimination rules to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees made sense not just from a moral perspective, but also from a business one.

"As we see it, embracing people's individuality is a matter of basic human dignity and civil rights," Cook wrote. "We've found that when people feel valued for who they are, they have the comfort and confidence to do the best work of their lives."

Later in the month, however, Apple would get into some lukewarm water with gay fans when it was discovered that the dictionary in iOS 7 offered one definition of gay as "foolish, stupid, or unimpressive". We defended Apple's corner on that one.

Apple dictionary definition of gay

Because Apple is historically a deeply progressive company. In a small gesture last year, as the gay marriage debate raged in the US, Apple added same-sex images to iOS 6's set of romance-themed emoji icons. And back in 2008, Apple donated $100,000 to a campaign against Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in California, and made public statements against the amendment.

For decades, Apple has offered the same health benefits to gay couples as to straight ones. Which has been more controversial than you might think; Texas officials took Apple to court over the policy in the early 90s. (Apple won.)

Apple vs Samsung, round 6,496

Apple vs Samsung legal court case

More legal shenanigans took up precious hours of the world's time in November, as Apple and Samsung trudged back into court to redebate part of the patent damages awarded previously to Apple. 

In 2012 a San Jose jury ruled that Samsung should pay a little over $1bn for infringement of five Apple patents in various Samsung phones and tablets. But afterwards, Judge Lucy Koh ordered a new trial to reconsider $450m of the damages after finding that the previous jury had applied an "impermissible legal theory" to its calculations.

A new verdict reached on 21 November settled on a figure of $290m, bringing the total to a nicely manageable $930m.

Apple Maps is back back back! Or, er, is it?

The much-maligned Apple Maps service turned in some impressive usage figures in November, suggesting that after a bumpy start and the correction of some glaring errors Apple's rival to Google Maps has turned a corner.

Apple Maps was used by almost six out of every 10 US iPhone owners during September, according to data published in November by metrics firm comScore.

Apple Maps Buckingham Palace

Rival Google Maps, meanwhile, shed an estimated 22.3 million users on Android and Apple smartphones during that same stretch, signaling that on most iPhones, Apple's own mapping app has replaced that of its one-time partner.

Apple 'starts swapping physical landmarks so they match Maps'

Showing that statistics can be made to say anything, however, the same research figures pointed out that, in fact, Apple Maps' user share on the iPhone had fallen in each of the three months July, August and September, dropping from 63.7% in the first to 58.3% in the last and losing nearly 2 million users monthly in the process.

Oh well!

See also: Sources claim Apple's Forstall fired for not taking responsibility for Mapsgate | Apple admits Maps is 'no one's issue but ours'

Apple buys 3D sensor company PrimeSense; mystery ensues

Finally, and most mysteriously, November saw Apple acquire a 3D sensor company called PrimeSense.

PrimeSense developed the software used in Microsoft's Kinect gaming accessory, and speculation buzzed about what the team would be working on for Apple: a games console? New features for Siri?

Our own Neil Bennett poured cold water on all of that, though - and then came up with some more exciting ideas of his own.

David Price on Twitter | Macworld UK on Twitter

Read more: 

Apple's 2013 in review: October brings iPad Air, Retina iPad mini, new MacBook Pros, free Mavericks and iLife, iWork updates

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