Apple hums along
It was another year of iPod everywhere, as Apple Computer expanded into new areas such as podcasting and video and translated the player's success into financial reward.
At Macworld Expo in January, Apple introduced a low-price iPod called the Shuffle. At the same time, the company introduced the $499 Mac Mini, a slim, low-cost desktop that was seen as a way to turn more iPod owners into Mac buyers.
As iPod sales soared, so did the market for all manner of iPod accessories. In January, Apple decided to grab its piece of that pie, introducing its "Made for iPod" program. With this, Apple gets a cut of the revenue from iPod add-ons like speakers and car chargers. Later in the year, Apple expanded the program, making it mandatory for all products that use the dock connector on the bottom of the iPod.
Apple also made headlines with its battle to smoke out people who leaked details on forthcoming products to several Mac rumor sites. In one case, Apple sued the publishers of Think Secret, claiming the site induced others to leak confidential Apple trade secrets. In another case, stemming from late 2004, Apple sued three men who allegedly leaked prerelease copies of Mac OS X Tiger onto the Internet. The company eventually settled in both cases.
But it was a third case that drew the most attention. In that one, Apple sued several unnamed individuals who allegedly leaked information about forthcoming products. The battle became a broader fight over the First Amendment when Apple attempted to subpoena e-mail and other records from two enthusiast sites, prompting several media groups to join the fight. A state court judge eventually ruled that Apple could pursue the records, although an appeal was then filed.
Apple's biggest bombshell by far came in June, when the company announced plans to move to Intel-based chips. Apple said at the time that the first MacTel machines would be on shelves within 12 months, but many now expect them to arrive as early as January.
In September, Apple unveiled the Rokr, an iTunes-capable cell phone developed by Motorola. But the stage was stolen by the iPod Nano, an ultra-slim player with flash memory that replaced the iPod Mini, the company's best-selling product at the time. Demand for the Nano was "staggering," according to Apple, though its launch was marred somewhat by complaints that the Nano screen scratches too easily.
Just a few weeks after introducing the Nano, Apple updated its iPod to play video. The company started selling music videos, Pixar shorts and a few TV shows from ABC. Apple also updated its flat-screen iMac to include a built-in camera and new Front Row software for watching videos, scanning photos or listening to music via remote control.
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