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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.