04_Apple

Now that Steve Jobs has taken a medical leave, rumors are flying. But if Jobs's own health is in question, his company remains a force to be reckoned with. Here's how Apple asserted its dominance in 2008.

  1. iPhone Envy With sales booming, Apple turned the smartphone concept from a businessperson's badge into a cool tool for everyone. More than 13 million iPhones were sold in the first 15 months.
  2. Welcome to the App Store After resisting the open-source movement for years, Apple abruptly reversed course, inviting developers (under strict terms, naturally) to create programs for the iPhone. The move echoes the successful iPod-iTunes ecosystem and has yielded a burst of new functionality—plus a new source of revenue.
  3. Pretty Little Boxes Whether it's the superthin Air, the new unibody aluminum MacBook, or the sleekly updated iPod Touch, Apple continues to prove that it delivers a lust-worthy design aesthetic that has competitors playing catch-up.
  4. Green Spin Consumer electronics aren't likely to save the planet, but Apple at least took a shot at purifying—and image buffing—with recyclable laptop casings, arsenic- and lead-free screens, and reduced packaging.
  5. The Song Remains the Same Despite challenges from all comers, iTunes remains the dominant player in the only growing part of the music business: digital downloads. And copyright restrictions are now history.

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