We ended our 2006 iPod Year in Review with some predictions: 2007 would be the year when the 100 millionth iPod was sold, iTunes Store sales would grow in the billions rather than millions, and the year would start with exciting new hardware and accessory releases. We also called out two possible iPhone release scenarios, suggested that Apple TV (then iTV) would need some help at its $299 price point, and discussed good and bad potential outcomes for iPod and accessory development.
With less than two weeks remaining in 2007, we can say with mixed emotions that this has been an eventful year, and one that saw most of last year’s predictions—good and bad—come true. For Apple, this was another year of soaring iPod sales, continued growth of the iTunes Store’s market share, and the release of new devices that broadened the company’s presence in homes and pockets across the world. Most impressively, Apple succeeded in stunning the entire cellular phone industry with the iPhone, despite its complete lack of prior experience in designing or selling phone equipment. And the company’s retail stores became more numerous and yet more crowded than ever, expanding further overseas and offering even more products online.
But it was also a year that brought unusually long waits and surprising disappointments to Apple fans, as the company broke with past traditions, pre-announcing two of its biggest products months in advance, and releasing others with bugs and other undisclosed limitations that crippled their appeal. More jolting were moves by Apple’s audio and video content partners to exit or cut support for the iTunes Store, and positive reviews for new Microsoft media players and iTunes competitors. A picture that once looked ever-increasingly rosy had once again become muddled with uncertainty.
Once again, we’ve covered the key factual events of the year in an extended iPod history feature (A Brief History of iPod) on page 116 of our 2008 iPod + iPhone Buyers’ Guide; instead, this Year in Review takes a more opinionated look at what went right and wrong over the past 12 months, finishing with a brief look ahead. Please use the pull-down menus to access the various sections of this article, and add your comments and opinions using the comments box below.