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Apple's 2013 in review: November sees new iPads go on sale, fresh damages against Samsung, and the PrimeSense mystery

David Price | Jan. 2, 2014
There were plenty of ups and downs in Apple's November 2013, from the legal to the human.

Later in the month, however, Apple would get into some lukewarm water with gay fans when it was discovered that the dictionary in iOS 7 offered one definition of gay as "foolish, stupid, or unimpressive". We defended Apple's corner on that one.

Because Apple is historically a deeply progressive company. In a small gesture last year, as the gay marriage debate raged in the US, Apple added same-sex images to iOS 6's set of romance-themed emoji icons. And back in 2008, Apple donated $100,000 to a campaign against Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in California, and made public statements against the amendment.

For decades, Apple has offered the same health benefits to gay couples as to straight ones. Which has been more controversial than you might think; Texas officials took Apple to court over the policy in the early 90s. (Apple won.)

Apple vs Samsung, round 6,496
More legal shenanigans took up precious hours of the world's time in November, as Apple and Samsung trudged back into court to redebate part of the patent damages awarded previously to Apple.

In 2012 a San Jose jury ruled that Samsung should pay a little over $1bn for infringement of five Apple patents in various Samsung phones and tablets. But afterwards, Judge Lucy Koh ordered a new trial to reconsider $450m of the damages after finding that the previous jury had applied an "impermissible legal theory" to its calculations.

A new verdict reached on 21 November settled on a figure of $290m, bringing the total to a nicely manageable $930m.

Apple Maps is back back back! Or, er, is it?
The much-maligned Apple Maps service turned in some impressive usage figures in November, suggesting that after a bumpy start and the correction of some glaring errors Apple's rival to Google Maps has turned a corner.

Apple Maps was used by almost six out of every 10 US iPhone owners during September, according to data published in November by metrics firm comScore.

Rival Google Maps, meanwhile, shed an estimated 22.3 million users on Android and Apple smartphones during that same stretch, signaling that on most iPhones, Apple's own mapping app has replaced that of its one-time partner.

Showing that statistics can be made to say anything, however, the same research figures pointed out that, in fact, Apple Maps' user share on the iPhone had fallen in each of the three months July, August and September, dropping from 63.7% in the first to 58.3% in the last and losing nearly 2 million users monthly in the process.

Oh well!

Apple buys 3D sensor company PrimeSense; mystery ensues
Finally, and most mysteriously, November saw Apple acquire a 3D sensor company called PrimeSense.

 

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