Even though it was an ’S’ year for the iPhone, 2018 was still a very busy year for Apple. Over the year, the company released a slew of new products and accessories, some of which you might have forgotten about by now. Read on as we recap everything – software and hardware included – that Apple released in 2018.
As usual, January was a relatively quiet month for Apple. The month went by without any hardware releases from the company, but there were a handful of software updates released for its various products. Namely, iOS 11.2.2 was released on January 9th, followed by iOS 11.2.5 on January 23rd.
Other than software releases, it was a pretty quiet start to the year for Apple. In the December before, however, Apple had just released the iMac Pro, and the launch of a certain smart speaker was looming for February.
Apple’s January releases:
- Apple releases iOS 11.2.2 security update with Spectre mitigations for Safari
- iOS 11.2.5 is now available for iPhone and iPad, adds HomePod support and more
- Apple releases macOS 10.13.2 supplemental security update following Spectre and Meltdown flaw discovery
- tvOS 11.2.5 now available for Apple TV
- watchOS 4.2.2 is now available for Apple Watch
After a several month delay, HomePod was officially released on February 9th. As Zac wrote in his HomePod Year-in-Review article, it’s easy to forget that Apple’s smart speaker hasn’t even been available for a full year yet.
In terms of software, February saw Apple continue its bug fix trend focus, releasing iOS 11.2.6 on February 19th, as well as updates to watchOS, tvOS, and macOS. Here’s everything:
Apple’s February releases:
- Apple releases iOS 11.2.6, watchOS 4.2.3, tvOS 11.2.6, and macOS 10.13.3 supplemental update including Telugu character fix
- HomePod officially goes on sale in Australia as preorders arrive & Apple Stores open
March saw Apple hold its first press event of the year. This one was focused on education and took place in Chicago, Illinois. At the event, Apple unveiled its newest 9.7-inch iPad with support for Apple Pencil. March also saw Apple make its space gray keyboard, Magic Trackpad, and Magic Mouse available as standalone purchases after first being limited to the iMac Pro.
March was also a busy month for software. Apple released iOS 11.3 to the public with ARKit 1.5, iPhone Battery Health details, new Animoji, Health Records, and much more. This is everything Apple released in March of 2018:
Apple’s March releases:
- Apple unveils new 9.7-inch iPad with Apple Pencil support + A10 Fusion chip at education event
- Apple announces new versions of iWork with Apple Pencil integration, built in book authoring
- Apple bringing Classroom to Mac, reveals new ClassKit framework coming in iOS 11.4 & Schoolwork app
- Apple announces new Watch bands with ‘vibrant colors for spring’
- New spring 2018 Apple Watch bands and configurations now available
- Apple launches new spring-inspired Leather Sleeve and Smart Cover colors for 10.5-inch iPad Pro
- Space gray Mac accessories now sold separately from iMac Pro
- iOS 11.3 with new Animoji, iPhone throttling controls, much more coming today (U: Now available)
- tvOS 11.3 for Apple TV 4 and Apple TV 4K now available, adds frame rate matching to fourth-gen
- watchOS 4.3 for Apple Watch coming today with iPhone Music control, smarter Siri watch face, more (U: Now available)
- Apple releases macOS 10.13.4 update for High Sierra with iMac Pro wallpaper, enhanced eGPU support
After a busy March for Apple, things slowed down again in April. While Apple did tease its 2019 modular Mac Pro and reentry into the display market during April, there weren’t any new hardware releases for the Mac or iPad.
As for the iPhone, however, Apple officially released its (PRODUCT)RED iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus on April 10th. The iPhone X did not get the PRODUCT(RED) treatment. Apple also released a slew of new software in April, including a new version of Final Cut Pro, as well as iOS 11.3.1.
Apple’s April releases:
- Upcoming Final Cut Pro 10.4.1 release headlined by powerful new closed captioning toolset and ProRes RAW
- Apple releases iOS 11.3.1 with third-party display repair fix, macOS 10.13.4 security update
- Apple pushing 32-bit app warning live for macOS 10.13.4 as 64-bit transition continues
- Apple announces special edition (PRODUCT)RED iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, order from tomorrow
In May, Apple officially released AirPlay 2 to everyone. After a brief delay, AirPlay 2 launched as part of IOS 11.4, bringing features such as multi-room as well as stereo support to HomePod. Apple also released watchOS 4.3.1 and tvOS 11.4.
In addition to AirPlay, iOS 11.4 also included the long-awaited Messages in iCloud feature, which syncs your iMessages across your various Apple devices and was originally anticipated as part of iOS 11.
Apple’s May releases:
- iOS 11.4 with AirPlay 2, Messages in iCloud, HomePod stereo now available
- watchOS 4.3.1 now available for Apple Watch, includes startup bug fix
- tvOS 11.4 now available for Apple TV, turns connected speakers into AirPlay 2 targets
As is always the case, June was a busy month for Apple as it held its annual Worldwide Developer Conference in San Jose. While this year didn’t mark as big of a focus on hardware as 2017’s WWDC, the software it announced paved the way for the rest of the year.
On stage at WWDC, Apple did make one hardware announcement: its newest Apple Watch Pride band, as well as a new Pride face for Apple Watch. That was it in terms of new hardware, however.
Apple used WWDC to show off iOS 12, watchOS 5, tvOS 12, and macOS 10.14 Mojave, introducing the first developer betas of each. Other than that, however, Apple did not make any notable releases in June, but the software releases set the stage for the rest of the year.
Apple’s June releases:
- Apple introduces new Apple Watch Pride band, available today
- Apple announces watchOS 5: Podcasts, Activity Sharing challenges, automatic workout detection, Walkie-Talkie, more
- Apple unveils iOS 12 for iPhone and iPad
- Apple announces tvOS 12 with immersive Dolby Atmos audio, iTunes content upgraded for free, more
- Apple unveils macOS 10.14 Mojave with dark mode, Home app, new App Store, more
July + August
After a busy June with WWDC, Apple entered its normal summer slowdown during July and August. The focus during these months was refining the beta release of its forthcoming iOS 12 and corresponding updates.
At the end of July, however, surprisingly announced its latest MacBook Pro with Touch Bar models. Announced via a press release, Apple introduced new 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro modes with new Intel chips, a “third-generation” Butterfly keyboard, and more. For the 15-inch model, Apple added the option for 32GB of RAM for the first time.
Also in July, Apple launched its annual Back to School promo, offering users a free pair of Beats headphones when they purchase eligible iPad and Mac models. Apple also released iOS 11.4.1, watchOS 4.3.2, macOS 10.13.6, and tvOS 11.4.1.
Apple’s July + August releases:
- Apple’s Back to School deal is again a free pair of Beats headphones with Mac/iPad Pro purchases
- Apple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar updated with max 32 GB RAM, ‘improved’ third-generation keyboard, True Tone, and new Intel chips
- Apple releases iOS 11.4.1, tvOS 11.4.1, and watchOS 4.3.2 to the public
- Apple releases macOS High Sierra 10.13.6, iTunes gains AirPlay 2
September got off to a strong start with Apple’s “Gather round” event at Steve Jobs Theater. At the event, Tim Cook took the stage to introduce the Apple Watch Series 4, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR.
The iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max were announced at the event on September 12th, with pre-orders beginning on September 14th and full availability on September 21st. Meanwhile, the iPhone XR was announced at the event, but not released until October.
Apple Watch Series 4 was announced at the “Gather round” event as well, with pre-orders commencing on September 14th and the wearable officially hitting shelves on September 21st. In addition to the new iPhone and Apple Watch hardware, Apple also released new Apple Watch bands, new iPhone XS and XS Max cases, and trimmed its iPhone lineup.
Corresponding with its new hardware, Apple also released iOS 12, tvOS 12, macOS Mojave, and watchOS 5 in September.
Apple’s September releases:
- iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max announced: 6.5-inch model, new gold finish, much more
- Apple officially announces Apple Watch Series 4 with larger display, thinner body, more
- Apple announces 6.1-inch iPhone XR in several colorful finishes, new A12 Bionic chip and faster Face ID
- Apple Watch Series 4 bands arrive including gold Milanese Loop, compatible with all models
- iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max cases unveiled, no iPhone XR cases yet
- iPhone SE and iPhone 6s no longer sold by Apple (and iPhone X gone too)
- iOS 12 is now available with performance boosts, Screen Time, smarter notifications, much more
- watchOS 5 for Apple Watch now available with Podcasts and Walkie-Talkie apps, much more
- tvOS 12 now available for Apple TV 4 and Apple TV 4K, brings Dolby Atmos audio, screensaver updates, more
- macOS Mojave now available with Dark Mode, News and Home apps, much more
- watchOS 5.0.1 coming today, fixes a bug with the Activity Rings
The fun continued in October. Midway through the month, Apple’s colorful iPhone XR officially went up for pre-order on October 19th. The device was released to everyone the following week on October 26th.
At the very end of October, Apple held a special event in Brooklyn, New York to unveil new Macs and iPad Pros. The company announced an all-new MacBook Air at the event, as well as a new Mac mini and new 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models. The event also saw the unveiling of the new Apple Pencil.
In addition to the new flagship hardware, Apple also introduced a new Smart Keyboard Folio, Smart Folio, and new dongles for the iPad Pro. October also saw the release of iOS 12.1, which included Group FaceTime, new emoji, dual-SIM support, and more.
Apple’s October releases:
- Apple’s colorful new iPhone XR is now available for pre-order
- First iPhone XR pre-orders arrive to customers around the world [Gallery]
- Apple unveils all-new 2018 iPad Pro with full-screen design, new Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard Folio
- Smart Keyboard Folio, Smart Folio, and more for 2018 iPad Pro now available to order
- Apple now sells a USB-C to 3.5mm dongle as iPad Pro drops headphone jack
- Apple unveils new MacBook Air with Retina display, Touch ID, USB-C, more
- After 1475 days of waiting, Apple unveils new Mac mini: quad-core, >32 GB RAM, all SSDs
- New MacBook Pros with Radeon Pro Vega Graphics coming next month
- Apple releasing iOS 12.0.1 with iPhone XS charging and iPad ‘.?123’ key position fix today
- iOS 12.1, tvOS 12.1, watchOS 5.1, macOS 10.14.1, and HomePod 12.1 updates now available
In the first week of November, Apple officially released its new iPad Pros, MacBook Air, and Mac mini to consumers after opening pre-orders in October. Further, on November 14th, Apple officially released the 15-inch MacBook with Radeon Pro Vega discrete graphics. The Radeon Pro Vega 16 or Radeon Pro Vega 20 cards represent $250 and $350 upgrades, respectively.
Apple also released several new Apple Watch bands and iPhone cases during November, including new Nike options, a (PRODUCT) RED Sport Loop, and more.
- (PRODUCT)RED Sport Loop for Apple Watch debuts alongside recently introduced Hermès straps
- Three new Apple Watch Nike Sport and Sport Loop band colors coming this week
- Apple releases new iPhone XS case and Apple Watch sport band colors, still no iPhone XR cases
- watchOS 5.1.1 coming today following Apple Watch bricking issues with previous update [U: Now available]
Rounding out the year, December has been a surprisingly busy month for Apple. The company started the month by releasing its long-awaited clear case for the iPhone XR. That same day, Apple also started selling its 18W power adapter as a standalone purchase.
On December 6th, Apple officially released watchOS 5.1.2 to the public with new Infograph complications and ECG support. ECG was originally announced at Apple’s September event. Further, Apple released iOS 12.1.1 and 12.1.2 and corresponding tvOS and macOS updates.
- Apple’s official clear case for iPhone XR is now available for $39
- Apple begins selling $29 18W USB-C power adapter separately, previously only available with 2018 iPad Pro
- Apple releases iOS 12.1.1, tvOS 12.1.1, macOS 10.14.2, and HomePod 12.1.1 update
- watchOS 5.1.2 for Apple Watch now available with ECG app, new Infograph complications, more
- iOS 12.1.2 expected today with eSIM bug fixes, likely addresses Qualcomm patents in China
2018 has been a big year for Apple. While things like product delays and concerns about overpriced devices remain, the products Apple did get to market have been well-received. Apple released major updates to its iPhone, Apple Watch, and Mac lines this year, and there’s a lot still to come in 2019. Of course, the elephant in the room is AirPower and its accompanying AirPods wireless charging case.
Be sure to stay tuned later this week for our full report card for Apple’s 2018 performance. What do you think of Apple’s 2018? How would you rate the company’s performance? Let us know down in the comments.
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