Reviews & Profiles
The biggest technology stories of 2012
Posted Tuesday, January 8 2013 at 00:00
From a war on counterfeit phones to a quirky music video making headlines, we look back at the events that dominated the world of technology in the past year.
On December 21, the Mayans were proven wrong, we are all still here. Even with such a prediction looming, 2012 was an interesting year not just generally but in technology. Here is a rundown of some of the biggest stories of 2012.
Facebook goes public
After years of speculation, in 2012 Mark Zuckerberg finally decided to take the company he founded in his Harvard dorm room public. Facebook filed for an initial public offering on February 1, opening its usually clandestine inner workings to the public. We learned that Facebook had just under 900 million users. We also learned that although it saw huge growth over the past few years, its momentum was slowing and would more than likely continue to slow.
And on May 18, Facebook held Initial Public Offering (IPO). Facebook’s share price of $38 (Shs102,600) would value the young company at a hefty $104b (approximately Shs280 trillion), making it not only biggest in technology, and the biggest in Internet history but the most valuable company to ever file an IPO.
Things got off to a foretelling start on opening day when a technical glitch with the Nasdaq exchange prevented orders from being placed. The stock soared early on but bobbed back down as the day continued. The following weeks of trading wouldn’t be as generous as the share price fell to as low as $10 (Shs27,000) by June 1, causing investors to lose up to $40b (approximately Shs108 trillion).
Apple claims victory over patents
In late August, a California court jury handed a stunning $1b (Shs2.7 trillion) victory to Apple in its complex patent trial with Samsung over smartphones and tablets.
The case involved a countersuit as well as numerous products and company subsidiaries, but the result was that the jury found products of the Korean company and two of its US subsidiaries infringed Apple’s patents.
Samsung is set to appeal the decision in 2013, but the trial itself was an important inflection point in tech history.
Curiosity lands on Mars
In a flawless, technological work of genius, a plutonium-powered rover, the size of a small car was lowered at the end of eight-metre-long cables from a hovering rocket stage onto Mars on August 6.
The rover, called Curiosity, ushered in a new era of exploration that could turn up evidence that the Red Planet once had the necessary ingredients for life or might even still house life today. Only one other country, the Soviet Union, has successfully landed anything on Mars, and that spacecraft, Mars 3 in 1971, fell silent shortly after landing. Curiosity is far larger than earlier rovers and is packed with the most sophisticated movable laboratory that has ever been sent to another planet.
It is to spend at least two years examining rocks within the 96-mile crater it landed in, looking for carbon-based molecules and other evidence that early Mars had conditions friendly for life.
Gangnam Style rules YouTube
South Korean rap star Psy’s music video Gangnam Style became the most watched item ever posted to YouTube with more than one billion views in December, edging past Canadian teen star Justin Bieber’s two-year-old video for his song Baby.
The milestone was the latest pop culture victory for Psy, 34, a portly rap singer known for his slicked-back hair and comic dance style who became one of the most unlikely global stars of 2012. Psy succeeded with a video that generated countless parodies and became a media sensation. The music video for Gangnam Style was chosen as the best music video of 2012 by Time magazine.
Gangnam Style was first posted to YouTube in July, and by the following month it began to show huge popularity on YouTube with audiences outside of South Korea. In his Gangnam Style video the ludicrously dressed, sunglass-wearing Psy raps in Korean and dances in the style of an upper-crust person riding an invisible horse. The song is named after the affluent Gangnam District of Seoul and it mocks the rampant consumerism of that suburb.
The Pope joins Twitter
In case you did not know, in 2012 the Pope joined Twitter, on December 12 to be exact. Using the handle @Pontifex the Pope had amassed nearly 1.4 million followers as of this writing, a number nowhere near the Catholic Church’s 1.2 billion worldwide devotees, but more than many people on the network.
The Pope is not going to be walking around with a smartphone or a tablet and no one is going to be putting words into the Pope’s mouth. He shall tweet what he wants to tweet. Primarily the tweets are expected to come from the contents of his weekly general audience, Sunday blessings and sermons on major Church holidays. They will also include reactions to major world events such as natural disasters.