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Apple CEO Teases Product Shakeup In 2014

CEO Tim Cook's letter to employees thanked them for their hard work and suggested that the company has big changes planned for its product lines.

Apple Mac Pro: 9 Ways It Wows
Apple Mac Pro: 9 Ways It Wows
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Apple CEO Tim Cook knows how to take advantage of a slow news cycle. As the holiday week kicks off, he sent a letter to Apple employees reflecting on the past year and looking forward to the next. Though much of the letter summarizes the company's accomplishments in 2013, it drops one big bomb ahead of 2014 that is sure to kick off a firestorm of rumor-mongering.

The letter, published in full by 9to5Mac, offers some insight into Cook's thinking and what he considers to be important to Apple. Among the successes listed by Cook are the company's launch of the iPhone 5s, iPad Air, iPad Mini with Retina Display, and Mac Pro. He also speaks highly of the company's efforts to get iOS 7 out the door, as well as OS 10.9 Mavericks (for free), and the company's 50 billionth app download from iTunes.

Further, Apple donated tens of millions of dollars to charity, including the Red Cross and (Product)Red projects; asked Congress to support workplace protections against sexual orientation and gender-based discrimination; and contributed heavily to several environmental initiatives.

All notable achievements, no doubt. Let's not forget that the company made billions of dollars in profits, too.

[More profits ahead? See China Mobile Agrees To Sell iPhone.]

Cook concludes by saying: "We have a lot to look forward to in 2014, including some big plans that we think customers are going to love. I am extremely proud to stand alongside you as we put innovation to work serving humankind's deepest values and highest aspirations. I consider myself the luckiest person in the world for the opportunity to work at this amazing company with all of you."

Some "big plans that we think customers are going to love," eh? What on earth could Cook be speaking about?

Apple watchers anticipate the company will introduce several new products in the year ahead. For example, Apple has been testing iPhones and iPads with different screen sizes. The company may debut an iPhone with a screen ranging between 5 and 6 inches, and a new iPad with a screen as large as 13 inches. The iPad Pro, as it is being called, might show up sooner rather than later, and could help Apple fend off some of the larger Windows 8 convertibles in the enterprise market.

Can't wait for 2014? See 10 Best Tablets Of 2013
Can't wait for 2014? See 10 Best Tablets Of 2013

Further, the company is widely expected to debut a smartwatch -- affectionately called the iWatch -- at some point during 2014. How the iWatch will differ from devices such as Samsung's Galaxy Gear, the Pebble, Qualcomm Toq, or Sony SmartWatch 2 is still anyone's guess. These are the big ones, but some still expect Apple to deliver an Apple TV that actually includes a TV, and other projects.

Whatever Apple has in store for 2014, there's no doubt that it will set the tone for Cook's tenure as CEO. The year 2013 was extraordinarily quiet for Apple, which released no new products during the first eight months of the year. If the company waits until the third or fourth quarter to launch all its new products again, investors -- and consumers -- may not be so happy.

Eric Zeman is a freelance writer for InformationWeek specializing in mobile technologies.

Too many companies treat digital and mobile strategies as pet projects. Here are four ideas to shake up your company. Also in the Digital Disruption issue of InformationWeek: Six enduring truths about selecting enterprise software. (Free registration required.)

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User Rank: Apprentice
12/23/2013 | 11:34:37 PM
Apple was silent in 2013 terms of unveiling new product line up
As a keen market observer, I feel if a company is slow in unveiling its new product line. the furor is created more in news and blogs than in the people's mind. The rate with which the consumers are seeing new products hitting the stands, or it is expected an OEM to roll out, one basic question pops up and at times it sets me thinking why no one is bothered about the fact: Are the consumers using the all the products they see in the market or some of the products just are for the news and not for consumption? What nowadays we see are just the fads of technology which die out as the new product is placed in the market much before the older one settles in the market. There is a race of never ending products of similar nature coming up with the craze which is like a Hype and makes itself sell for the sake of "the inn thing..." rather than the necessity and utility of the product.
User Rank: Apprentice
12/24/2013 | 12:55:15 AM
Apple in 2014
Based on no expertise at all, I'm guessing it's Cook's turn to put his projects into the pipeline, having gone through all of Steve's plans at least. I'm guessing the iWatch will replace most if not all of the iPod lineup, unless they keep the Touch and tout it with a Skype-like VOIP phone capabaility. Cannot aee the Apple TV as anything more than a set-top box, since the plummeting price of TV screens will mean Apple cannot just put out 3 sizes of TV and make a profit. I guess different sized iPads are a given, but they need better price points, unless they can not so subtly point out that there are a lot of really crappy Android tablets selling for $50 at Big Lots, while the Apple tablets still "just work."
User Rank: Apprentice
12/24/2013 | 1:41:49 AM
Re: Give China customers a bigger Samsung - like screen and you''' get their market.
If you want to impress China, build a phone that can find all the empty store aisles, elevators and drinking fountains that are available to defecate in/on.
User Rank: Strategist
12/24/2013 | 4:05:29 AM
Re: Give China customers a bigger Samsung - like screen and you''' get their market.
If i talk about Apple iphone, i guess apart from Samsung, Lumia is turning into potential competitor, number of users for Lumia are increasing day by day and one of the factors is low cost with improved and friendly user interface.In terms of new products, Apple is good at making eye soothing devices.
User Rank: Apprentice
12/24/2013 | 4:23:38 AM
Apple assembly Plants in China
I am curious£»

How many assembly plants in China? 

How to control the quality?

Why the iphone or Apple products is so costly for Chinese customers? Such consumer electronic products are updating in every monthes.There are so many compotitors in China mainland. If you can not make discount and make some innovation tech. How can you develop in the next years? 

I am using Chinese XIAOMI phones,it is easy to use with low price.I concern every new products they release. Because it is always updating the system or tech from our users' ideas. 

User Rank: Apprentice
12/24/2013 | 4:47:38 AM
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User Rank: Apprentice
12/24/2013 | 9:01:24 AM
Re: Apple assembly Plants in China
I do find that Apple may have some of the best products on the market but that is no excuse for their bad behaviour.
While companies have Directors like Tim Cook, customers will only suffer because of Apple's total disregard for customer service.
I have found the Board of Directors of Apple, totally void of either good manners or good customer service. When staff are so arrogant it is bad, but their lack of intelligence and customer service is very offensive.
The only reason this behaviour is able to continue, is the Board of Directors and their failure to act.  
One main suggestion if you have to buy an Apple product, please buy it from anyone else than Apple in the UK.
Some five month's after writing to Tim Cook and the Board of Directors of Apple, still no reply.
Has Mr Cook forgot a major fact, he may be the CEO of Apple, yet he is still just another employee of Apple that is giving bad customer service. 
User Rank: Apprentice
12/24/2013 | 12:34:13 PM
Re: Big Picture

No disrespect to Tim, but Steve Jobs was a brand and a thinker on his own.  Tim Cook is trying to draw grand innovation out of his employees but that is not the nature of Apple employees, they rallied behind Steve J's grand vision and innovated to his perfectionist demands.

Repermuting screen sizes, battery life, etc. is not innovation; that's just Apple employees placating their echo of the ghost of Steve Jobs who would've demanded a thinner, lighter, tighter, sleeker of whatever he came up with.

For Apple to reinvent something, the leader has to look WAY outside the box, but Tim is all about the box (he's the operations guy); he is to Apple what Balmer was to Microsoft; although Cooke is probably a much kinder and less rigid a person.

Apple has started to "copy" samsung and microsoft! (?) that statement itself should speak volumes. Apple, whenever has been successful, has never been a follower, and shouldn't be. It needs bolder stronger direction, while still keeping its bread-and-butter earners going ahead as leaders. 

I hope that Apple will find the innovative and bold leadership—but that would require the board of directors to be very bold and preemptively think about replacing Tim. 

User Rank: Ninja
12/24/2013 | 3:00:09 PM
Re: Big Picture
I think that it is hard to speculate at this point just what this means for consumers in 2014. Is Apple going to release another blockbuster product? They probably need to, but I wonder just how groundbreaking something like a smartwatch can be.

I know people who have the Samsung watch and those who own a Pebble, but I just don't see it as that game changing.

Can Apple do something cannibalistic like having the watch replace the iPhone? Maybe.
User Rank: Apprentice
12/25/2013 | 2:32:10 PM
Re: Big Picture
Dear Mr. Cook.  I have been a die hard APPLE fan from the start...but you have lost me with this iphone 5c....what a total pc of junk!!!!!  APPLE indeed found the formula for creating crap and instilling in people the desire for the latest version of icrap.  The tease which is the focus of this article is foreplay that leads to huge disappointment.  Slimmer, shinier, better camera?  and is there is better joke than Gorilla Glass? I dropped mine of a CARPET and it shattered....rendering it uttrerly useless. I have insurance but find that my CO-PAY is $179.  Now I am again indentured to Verizon in a 2 year contract and have resorted to using my old 3g version of iphone which somehow is still fully functional despite being dropped numerous times.   I was thinking of driving up to the Infinite Loop and tossing this crackerjack toy of a phone through your window. Ok, I am old school and OK, I am/was a fan of the late SJ and I cannot help but wonder if he would have allowed this junky thing to have been released under the good name of APPLE. This thing violates the standard we had come to expect.  I am not alone.  I hear every day people saying they will NEVER buy another APPLE product. Just 'sayin.......we have seen behind the curtain, Mr.OZ.  All the smoke and mirror and tease you can muster will never induce me to spend any of my very hard earned $ on another thing you produce. Shame shame shame on you for letting the integrity and ingenuity this company once possessed go up in a plume of fetid stench.  I have no choice but to endure my loss and go android.
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