Rarely a day goes by without Apple making the news in some capacity. That was never truer than in 2014.
This year, Apple released a new iPhone, teased a possibly revolutionary device and even found itself in the thick of a few controversies. Though some had doubts about Apple's current influence on the tech world and its continued commercial success, 2014 saw the company coming back with a vengeance. Here are nine reasons why 2014 will go down in history as one of the most important years for Apple.
1. Apple Is Back On Top
If the saying "money talks" is true, then Apple just would not shut up in 2014. The company's stock is up 40 percent this year, nearly an all-time high. Its market capitalization, the value of the company's outstanding shares, reached almost $698 billion on Nov. 26, its highest level ever. Now the trick is sustaining that financial success into 2015 and beyond.
2. The iPhone 6 Launch
As with most new Apple products these days, there was a lot of brouhaha leading up to the official launch of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus on Sept. 9. Rumors swirled on the Internet and images were leaked. But our prayers were answered when we got the first official look at the smartphone during the launch event live stream in September, though not without some technical difficulties. Still, all of Apple's fanfare worked. More than 10 million iPhone 6 and 6 Plus smartphones were sold during the devices' first weekend in stores, setting a new record for Apple.
3. #Bendgate And Other iPhone 6 Controversies
However, with great success always comes great controversy, and Apple's newest smartphone is no exception. From #Bendgate to #Hairgate to #Dyegate, it seemed like every day people were discovering some new flaw with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Some people worried the iPhone 6 Plus was too big to fit in their pockets. Others just ended up publicly destroying the smartphone, for some strange reason. Still, these reports don't seem to have slowed down the success of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus at all.
4. Apple Forced Us To Listen To U2
During Apple's huge product launch event in September, the company's CEO Tim Cook didn't just introduce us to the latest iPhone models, but he also brought U2 to the stage to perform the band's latest single. That was all good and well until Cook informed us that U2's new album Songs of Innocence was now available for free in every iTunes users' Purchases. Apparently, people don't like free music — well, at least when you tell them what to listen to. Unfortunately, this little stunt completely backfired for Apple and U2 with many users rushing to figure out how to delete Songs of Innocence from their iTunes libraries. Oh well. At least we got an awkward finger touch between Cook and Bono.
5. Tim Cook Is "Proud To Be Gay"
Apple wasn't just about tech this year. The company also spoke up about human rights. In an op-ed for Bloomberg Businessweek in October, Cook publicly announced he is gay. "I'm proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me," Cook wrote.
6. Celebrities' Nude Photos Leaked From Their iCloud Accounts
Long before the Sony hack dominated headlines, the big leak in the entertainment world was of nude photos of celebrities, such as Jennifer Lawrence. The hacker reportedly used a security flaw in Apple's iCloud to access the private photos of specific celebrities. There was some momentary freaking out over the safety of the iCloud, but Apple kept fairly quiet on the matter and somehow seemed to get less heat for the hack than the celebrities it targeted.
7. The Beats Acquisition
Apple announced its acquisition of the hugely successful music technology company Beats Electronics and the music streaming service Beats Music. The company hasn't done a ton with its new purchase just yet, at least not publicly, but it sounds like we'll be hearing a lot from Beats in 2015.
8. The Apple Watch Was Unveiled
The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus weren't the only big reveals during Apple's major product launch event in September. Cook also unveiled the highly anticipated Apple Watch. Unfortunately, the Apple Watch hasn't actually been released yet, but it is definitely something to look forward to in 2015.
9. Apple Pay Could Be A Game Changer
Apple Pay is one of the newest releases from the company this year, and with new retailers joining the service every day, it could really revolutionize the burgeoning mobile payment industry. However, there are also doubts about the service really catching on. We'll just have to wait and see how it does in 2015.