2007: The year in review

As the year draws to a close, it’s time to look back on all that’s happened in the Apple world in 2007. This year will long be remembered as the year Apple took on a new industry, bolstered its flagship Mac line with new hardware and software, and saw its CEO brutally throttle a stagehand mid-keynote when his clicker stopped working.

What, you didn’t hear about that last one? Then Apple’s squad of public-relations fixers has done its job.

Steve Jobs gets around

The year 2007 kicked off, as it always does, with a highly anticipated Steve Jobs Macworld Expo keynote address. This year he devoted almost all of his time to a single announcement that would change Apple and the technology industry forever. I’m talking, of course, about the company’s decision to open a second Apple Store in Milwaukee. He also introduced some sort of weirdo iPod that takes phone calls.

In February, Jobs began a new blog on Apple.com after his previous blog—an attempt to impersonate an editor at Forbes magazine—never really caught on. In his first post, “Thoughts on Music,” Jobs exhorted the recording industry to drop digital rights management (DRM). The CEO followed up this treatise with “Thoughts on Sandwiches,” in which he exhorted a local deli to go easier on the mayo, and “Thoughts on Where My Car Keys Are,” in which he accused various underlings of moving his keys “just to mess with my head.”

In a historic event in May, Jobs reunited onstage with Bill Gates at a charity event benefiting the employees of the Wall Street Journal. The two men thrilled the crowd with many of their classic comedy routines, including “The Dead Pixel Sketch,” “Who’s on Their Private Jet First,” and “Pardon Me, Sir, Is This Your Operating System?”

The iPhone

In midyear, the nation’s love affair with the iPhone hit its peak. Truly the “it” device of 2007—if not the decade, century, millennium, and indeed all of time and space—the iPhone finally arrived on June 29. Its arrival was greeted by a chorus of angels, followed by a solar eclipse, an overflight by a flock of doves, and a dire warning from a strange bearded man who kept mumbling something that sounded like “$200 price cut.”

Remember the Mac?

In an alarming sign for Apple’s most important non-iPhone, non-iPod product line, Mac fans felt a great disturbance in the Force on January 30, 2007, the day Microsoft released Windows Vista. Everyone was later relieved to find out that it was just the destruction of the planet Alderaan. As for Vista? Turns out it’s not so good.

Within a few months of its announcement, the iPhone’s hype had completely overshadowed the venerable Mac platform. The worst side effect: “I’m a Mac” actor Justin Long was digitally removed from his supporting role in the film Live Free or Die Hard just days before its release and replaced with a life-size wisecracking iPhone. The CGI iPhone immediately signed a three-picture deal with Paramount.

During the summer, Apple introduced the new Aluminum iMac, built entirely out of recycled Coke cans as proof of the company’s renewed commitment to the environment. The iMac classic sells for $1,799, while the Diet iMac goes for $1,199.

The iPod ecosystem

The release of the Apple TV, the companion product to the iPod and iTunes, was delayed by several weeks after Apple engineers promised to have a finished version of the product “just as soon as we’re done watching our ‘stories.’” An angry Steve Jobs canceled the entire Apple campus’s DirecTV service in retaliation.

Finally, in September the iPod stole some of the attention back from the iPhone. At a special event, Steve Jobs announced a revamped iPod lineup, featuring a redesigned iPod nano and the all-new iPod touch. Jobs also announced the “iPod taste,” which he said was essentially an iPod shuffle without the iPod functionality. Reporters were surprised, however, when upon closer inspection it turned out to be a Chiclet.

What does it all mean?

The year 2007 was monumental for Apple. A year of controversy, groundbreaking announcements, and prophecies fulfilled. Apple introduced new devices, redefined an industry, and drove its naysayers to apoplectic fits.

So it was pretty much like any other year. But cheer up. Maybe next year will be different.

[ John Moltz makes up facts on a regular basis as the editor of the Crazy Apple Rumors. ]

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