2012 was a tumultuous year for iOS and for Apps. The App Store passed 1 million apps approved, the iPad was updated twice and the iPad mini introduced, we saw iOS 6 released to mixed reviews, and we saw an understated but huge shake up in the organizational structure and management level at Apple. Here's a quick look back at some of my favorite things of 2012.
I've always thought that the iPad was an amazing device. It truly did change they way I work and play the way nothing had since my first laptop. But the iPad mini revolutionized my work yet again by making it more portable, therefore convenient and easy to use. While Macworld re-used the uninformed assessment that many had of the original iPad deeming the mini as a "consumption device," yet I create almost as much as I consume on the iPad mini.
As it stands now, I have a 64GB iPad mini with LTE that I take almost everywhere with me. I use it to write (the first draft of this list was done on the iPad mini), to read and send email, Twitter, and Facebook. And I use it to play games. It's become my gaming device of choice.
Sure there are some things that can be improved with the iPad mini. And we'll see those improvements. But for a device dismissed by so many, it has quickly become my most used tool.
The Walking Dead: The Game
No other game I have played in my life has forged the emotional connection I had while playing The Walking Dead: The Game. A true triumph in game story telling that draws you in deeper and deeper with each of your plot modifying moves. Telltale Games has done an amazing job with this game. I'm not the first to say this, but Walking Dead: The Game on the iPad was one of my favorite things from 2012, and perhaps one of my favorite gaming experiences ever: an accolade I don't throw around lightly considering that I've been playing video games for three plus decades.
If by some strange occurrence you haven't played through Walking Dead: The Game from Telltale Games yet, run, do not walk, to the App Store and grab it now.
Maturation of iPad Core Games
Just as the spread of free to play grinding "games" is one of my least favorite things of 2012, the counterpoint to that is the new wave of core games on iPad. I wholeheartedly believe that the iPad, not the iPhone (or Android) is where console games will migrate when they realize that the next wave of consoles will be too expensive. The iPad is a powerful line of machines and a great way to experience games. Take a look at our Top 30 Games of 2012 for examples of some of these great games.
Apple Executive Shake-Up
This may seem like an odd favorite, but I think it's for the best. Like pulling off a bandaid, it had to be done; might as well get it over with.
iOS has been a bit stagnant and two-minded in its development, straddling the line between originality and familiarity. The executive shakeup and organization restructure will make a big difference in the future for Apple and iOS. iOS the the future for Apple, and reorganizing the company is a great step to build it in the future.
Google Getting Serious on iOS
You could almost read the internal struggle happening in Google via their iOS apps. They started strong, before Android really took off. Then they pulled back as they only wanted to support Android. Now, they have come around and are starting to support iOS again, at times faster and better than they do even Android, though you can probably blame the snail-like update cycle on Android for part of that.
This year, we've seen the updated Google Search with it's amazing voice search, and the Google+ app got updated faster than the Android app at times--the current version is a fairly well-done social app.
While we had heard for a while that Google was trying to get Chrome approved for iOS, it finally showed up, and it quickly became my browser of choice. Gmail for iOS was a bit of a joke in the original version, but the latest version has shown how far Google has come as it responds to nearly every feature request people wanted.
We of course can't forget the recent release of Google Maps for iOS, a really well done map app that Google believes is better than their Android version. I don't know about that, but it is a damn good effort.
2013 has the potential to be even crazier for iOS and the App Store. I am excited every morning to get up and be able to cover it. Thanks to all of you, the crazy ones that keep reading. You're the reason we get to do it! Happy New Year and here's looking forward to a great 2013!