A quick word on the intent of this topic. Before I get into what we might find on a blog-crawl at 2:00am, let me first say that I do not intend for this to be a wall of text, used only to air grievance and give those of you with differing opinions a "piece of my mind." I mean only for this to serve as a spark, if you will, to a constructive and mature discussion (read: not an argument or debate) on the state of Apple in 2012, and the movement of this company and its people and products into 2013. If at all possible, let's try to make the best of this public tool of free speech and treat the subject matter and each other with the respect we'd like shown to ourselves. Second, I do not intend for this to be a catch-all. I sought to remark on a few things that have been on my mind and that I felt the MacRumors forum community could make use of to read and discuss. This should not serve as a finite set. Discuss to your hearts' content, and speak outside of the proverbial box. The road to 2012: "What a long, strange trip it's been." I'll do my best to keep this section short, because if I really got into it, it would turn into a history lesson, and I don't think any of us want to revisit high school. (Unless it's the part when I dated that Brazilian chick. Can we go back to that?) The part I'll touch on is really about Apple's transition in the eyes of us MacRumorians from Steve Jobs to Tim Cook. As I've watched over the year, I've grown more concerned that people think Apple is a different company. It isn't that I can't see why some of you feel this way, it's just that I think it's not only unfair, but also a little too broad of a statement. Whether it is because of a change in the industry, the market, a change in leadership, the death of a leader--a company like Apple will always evolve. Apple, for the most part, has always been about "Evolution, not revolution." as I say, even if their marketing sometimes says otherwise. This company is about slowly, but carefully taking steps forward in products and ideas. They don't try too hard to change the game because for what it's worth, they've got the game figured out and their stock value and net worth speaks volumes to that truth. It isn't always a good business move to make wild innovations and shake up the industry. Actually, I'd venture to guess that maybe one time out of a hundred, it is a good idea. The other ninety-nine times, it's best to take those small steps forward and strive for small improvements. The big idea being that a company that can do that 99% of the time is worth much more to us than a company that tries to make wild innovations 33% of the time, small steps 33% of the time, completely drops the ball and screws things up 33% of the time, and makes preparations for bankruptcy the other 1%. The point is, you can be disappointed all you want that Apple didn't do X, Y or Z in 2012. You have that right, but let me ask you this. Would it be more or less disappointing if Apple had pulled X, Y or Z batsh*t crazy and exciting idea out of their R&D department, put it on store shelves, and had nothing to offer us for the next 3 years? There is a large consortium of people who hold true to the theory that a company like Apple has the technology, money and overall ability to dish out some fantastical future-tech if they want to. As if at will, they could have us on hoverboards by Christmas. The problem with this is, if they had the ability to do this, they would! You know why? They'd make 200% more money than they do now, and they'd still keep innovating on it for years to come. Still, this isn't about hoverboards, it's about iPad minis, iPhone 9s, Apple television sets and so on. These products don't exist for one very specific reason: It's not time yet. With as little snark as possible, I have to say, Apple does not exist to serve your technological-wizardry whims. They exist to serve their board of directors and shareholders, who exist to live fruitful lives that, for them, are defined by bank accounts and the contents of which are expected to be full of buckets of cash. Your cash. The sooner we're all comfortable with this, the sooner we can all agree that Apple, in and of itself, has not changed in the wake of Steve Jobs' death for the worse. It has changed only in the ways it needed to, in order to continue to serve its customers with the products that they will be, in majority, happy with. It continues to deliver products and services that fall just as short of what's possible and just beyond what other companies will give you, because it is the beautiful balance that Apple has found. Jobs or Cook, it still works, and until it doesn't, it will not change. 2012: "I survived the apocalypse, and all I got was this iPad mini." Did I jinx it? I know, the date of the 2012 apocalypse hasn't passed yet. I guess I'm just optimistic, or sane. Either way, I can't help but pick up on this low hum around here. You can only really make out what it's saying at about 7:00pm, when it's at its highest drone. It says, "I want a golden goose, Daddy! I want it now!" - That's some creepypasta material right there. For those of you who didn't see Willy Wonka (and what a deprived childhood that must have been...), what I mean to convey is this. I'm sitting here on a quiet Wednesday morning, sipping my coffee, and writing this jumble of thoughts on an iMac that is surely no worse for the wear than my secretary's Dell from 2002. I do this while listening to Sigur Rós on my iPhone 5 through a pair of Bose MIE2i earbuds, and glance occasionally at Forum Spy scrolling by on my 2011 MacBook Pro. All the while, I'm tapping "Refresh" on the Reeder app on my 3rd Gen iPad. What does this all mean? That my desk is extremely cluttered? That I have more gadgets on my desk than case-files? That I should probably do some work? No! Not the point! Although fair... My point is, this stuff is fantastic. I don't have a golden goose of sorts. Maybe my iPhone 5 can be the closest to it, but we all know the iPhone 5 still has its shortcomings and things left to be desired. Yet, that's the point. There are things to be desired here. I want a thinner and faster iMac, and I may order one, but I'll want that one thinner and lighter and faster and greener, and to shoot unicorn feces at co-workers I don't like when they are near and and and! I want an iPad mini because this one is a bit heavy for my liking, and I'll probably order one Friday, but damn it to hell because it won't have a Retina display (honestly on the fence about that, actually), it's slightly too expensive at $329, it has the scuffalicious black anodized aluminum of the iPhone 5, and it doesn't tickle me awake in the morning, or make me coffee better than the Keurig Vue, or or or! You know what? I want to desire things. I want to be mildly disappointed. For each time I am mildly disappointed with Apple's keynotes and what they present, it means I have the opposite ratio of content with it. If what I end up with in 2012 is mild disappointment and a majority of satisfaction and bemusement about what's next, I'm going into 2013 with a smile on my face. You should too. Expectations: "Okay, I guess you're right. So now what, smarty pants? What is next?" What's next? For the life of me, I just don't know, and I kind of like that. Surely we'll see an iPhone 5S, the next step in OS X, iOS 6.1, and maybe an Apple TV update (note: not an Apple television). Later in the year we'll get even more new stuff and maybe even something completely unexpected. The thing is, anything beyond this is speculation. Don't get me wrong, I love speculation. For God's sake we're on MacRumors. We live to speculate! Chew on this though. While it's fun to speculate and rumormonger, keep in mind your expectations. I love to wax poetic about the next big thing from Apple. I'm enamoured with the idea of an Apple television set, and I have a creeping feeling that Apple has a wild new idea for iPhone up their sleeves. Something none of us are even near thinking. But that doesn't mean that if all 2013 delivers is a series of mild refreshes to existing product lines, that I'll be pissed off and go buy an Android (that might still be running Gingerbread... ouch) or something crazy. I'll still enjoy my Apple products. The Reality: "In the end, it doesn't even matter." Oh no, he's quoting Linkin Park? Okay, minus 10 internets, but the whole song, "In The End" has a great line in it. All emo, angsty, teenage poetry aside, it makes a great point. We trust Apple to deliver to us products that excite the credit cards from our wallets. If you get nothing out of what I've written but one thing, let it be this: As you trust Apple to do great things, and if you feel as if you're forcing yourself to let their definition of "great things" match your own, try to keep perspective on what you should expect from them. This is a company, and they like to make money first and foremost. As much as anyone on their payroll or off will tell you otherwise, that is the truth. The best part of all of this, and of the first-world we live in, is that we have a choice. It is, contrary to certain belief, not treason to be so unsatisfied with an Apple product refresh that you go with another company's product instead. I did this recently by going with a Samsung Galaxy Nexus over an iPhone 4S from January to September. Look at me! No spontaneous combustion! Let's crave. Let's desire more. Let's continue to push not only Apple, but other companies like them to innovate beyond what rests on their laurels. Let's just try not to go to the barn for our pitchforks every time reality keeps them from delivering what we want. Reality is many things. Sometimes it's the reality that they didn't want to do X, Y or Z because they only have so many employees and couldn't spare a team. Sometimes it's the reality that they did market research and found that doing it wasn't worth it. Sometimes it's the reality that a small group of people are stubborn and while the idea is great, they just don't like it and it just won't come to fruition. And sometimes, just sometimes, it's the reality that they can easily do X, Y or Z, but choose to do it in tiny steps, because that makes them a ton more money than it would if they did it all at once. No matter what Apple does, it's what Apple does. Love it, hate it, or bear ambivalence to it. So...? What do you think? How was 2012 for you? How do you feel about 2013? About Apple?