Apple CEO Tim Cook sent out an email to the company's employees over the weekend, proudly looking at Apple's year while also hinting at what's to come. While the company didn't throw its name into any big new market segments, it did release some terrific new products, including the iPad Air, iPad mini with Retina, iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s. Cook says that he's proud of what Apple has done this year, thanking its workforce for putting "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," Cook says. "We introduced industry-leading products in each of our major categories in 2013, showing the breadth and depth of innovation at Apple."
Perhaps Apple's biggest product this year was iOS 7, which came with a revamped look and all-new functionality under the direction of Jony Ive. Cook called the software "an extraordinarily ambitious project," which is certainly one way to describe it. The update has sparked some polarizing reactions among Apple's fanbase, with many folks upset the familiar skeuomorphic look of iOS was ditched for a flatter, more minimal look.
Cook also reflects on Apple's tens of millions of dollars in contributions to Red Cross aid for typhoon victims in the Philippines, and its continued support for Product RED—Apple is currently the organization's largest contributor. Recently, a few of the company's products were auctioned off to benefit Product RED, raising well over $1 million thanks to a one-of-a-kind red Mac Pro and gold EarPods. Cook also highlights the company's efforts to stand up for what Apple believes is right.
"We know that equality and diversity make our company and our society stronger, so we've urged the U.S. Congress to support workplace protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity," Cook says.
Cook wraps up his letter by saying he's excited for the new year, which will include "some big plans that we think customers are going to love." This year has been rife with rumors surrounding a potential iWatch and new Apple TV initiative, and it sounds like 2014 could be the year we see new Apple products. In addition, there have been rumors suggesting Apple could release a larger iPhone, larger iPad and even more powerful Mac laptops.
The first few months of next year will likely be quiet for Apple as CES and other big events get out of the way. But come March, April and beyond, it'll be exciting to see what the company has in store. Will an iWatch finally be on the cards? Only time will tell.