Apple started the year on a high, surpassing $300 billion in market capitalization.
The launch of the Mac App Store brought the “App Store experience” to computer users, with more than 1,000 free and paid apps available for download. The Store saw one million downloads on the first day, while the App Store also hit a milestone in January — 10 billion apps downloaded worldwide.
After more than four years, AT&T’s exclusivity with the iPhone came to an end as Verizon became the second official U.S. carrier for the Apple mobile.
The news that Apple CEO Steve Jobs was to take another leave of absence for health reasons was quickly followed by Apple reporting record-breaking earnings for its fiscal first quarter.
Apple launches a new subscription feature for content publishers. This means that magazine and newspaper publishers can now offer in-app subscriptions to customers.
Hardware-wise, February saw new MacBook Pros with upgraded processors and graphics, a high-speed Thunderbolt I/O port and a new FaceTime-enabled HD camera.
Meanwhile on the software front, Apple released a developer preview of Mac OS X Lion, bringing many of the iPad’s features — including Multi-Touch gestures — to the Mac.
Looking ahead, the confirmation of the March 2 iPad special event kicked the rumor mill into overdrive.
The retail launch of the new tablet saw savvy college student Amanda Foote selling her number one spot in the line for $900. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster estimated Apple sold as many as 500,000 iPad 2s in the first weekend of sales.
The iPad 2 global roll out continued later in the month, with 25 more countries getting the tablet on the 25th.
April started with controversy for Apple, as it was revealed iPhones tracked user’s location data.
The white iPhone 4 finally hit shop shelves in April. “We appreciate everyone who has waited patiently while we’ve worked to get every detail right,” Phil Schiller, Apple VP said in a statement.
May began with a refresh for Apple’s iMac line, adding Sandy Bridge architecture, an HD camera and the new super-fast Thunderbolt port.
Overseas, the iPad 2’s Beijing launch was a huge success, with the tablet selling out in just four hours.
More than a year after its debut on the iPad, iWork, Apple’s suite of productivity apps, launched for iPhone and iPod touch.
June is traditionally big for Apple, with the Worldwide Developers Conference kicking off the month. At the event, Apple officially unveiled Mac OS X Lion as a Mac App Store exclusive.
Jobs followed up his WWDC performance with one in front of the Cupertino City Council, presenting plans for a new giant, spaceship-shaped Apple campus.
Here at Mashable we celebrated the four year anniversary of the iPhone with an awesome infographic.
Apple’s third quarter earnings report saw record quarterly revenue of $28.57 billion and record quarterly net profit of $7.31 billion, meaning the company could boast more than $75 billion in cash.
On the hardware side of things, July saw the launch of new MacBook Airs now boasting Mac OS X Lion, as well as general spec improvements. The Mac mini also got better processors, but lost its optical drive.
Also launched was a new 27-inch Cinema Display, complete with a Thunderbolt port.
Among all these launches however, something disappeared from the Apple Store. The lower end white MacBook was discontinued.
Later in the month came the sad news that Steve Jobs was to resign as Apple CEO due to poor health. “I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know,” he wrote in a statement. “Unfortunately, that day has come.”
In the wake of Jobs’ resignation, September was a quiet month for Apple. The rumor mill got into full swing with iPhone 5 whispers and various “reports.”
Apple finally confirmed an iPhone special event for October 4. As is becoming tradition, the “Let’s Talk iPhone” invite was poured over for hints and clues.
Other news from the special event included a date for the launch of iOS 5, the news that Sprint was to become the third US carrier to offer the Apple mobile, the debut of Siri, the iPhone 4S Voice Assistant and the announcement of new apps including “Find my Friends” and “Cards”.
On the iPod side of things, the nano and the touch got updated.
Later in the month Apple held a memorial event for Jobs.
November saw GarageBand make its debut on the iPhone and iPod touch as Apple released the 1.1 update.
2011 ended on a positive note for Apple.
The company opened its largest-ever retail venue at the historic Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan, New York.
With the rumor mill already cranking out teasers for 2012, whatever the next 12 months holds for the company, we’re sure it won’t be dull.