Two new iPads and a mini, a jump from the edge of space and an Internet blackout are among the standout stories when looking back on the year in technology, 2012.
It was at times a dramatic year in tech -- starting with activist action against twin pieces of copyright legislation before Congress, Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA). For one day in January, websites across the Internet blacked out homepages with one message: Stop SOPA and PIPA.
Apple was scrutinized after a series of explosive allegations about the working conditions at Foxconn -- a factory where iPhones and iPads are made. The media attention was so persistent that Apple CEO Tim Cook sent a memo to employees to say the company cares about all of its workers.
In a bizarre twist to the tale, it was discovered that one of the original Foxconn reports was partially fabricated by American monologist Mike Daisey. His report was featured on "This American Life," but was later retracted.
Apple and Foxconn have since agreed to a timeline of changes that are planned at the factories.
We also witnessed Facebook's transformation into a public company, with plotlines that included everything from what CEO Mark Zuckerberg wore to investor meetings to the discovery that co-founder Eduardo Saverin renounced his U.S. citizenship, sparking allegations that he was dodging taxes.
From controversial YouTube videos to superstorm Sandy hoaxes, social media inspired emotion, anger and endless jokes in 2012.
In April, a video posted on YouTube told the story of filmmaker Jason Russell's personal mission to take down Joseph Kony, the Ugandan leader of the guerrilla group Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). The video immediately went viral, but the filmmakers were quickly criticized for spending more money on advocacy and filmmaking than on on-the-ground humanitarian work.
The organization defended its methods, but the initial outpouring of online support was overshadowed by the arrest of its co-founder Jason Russell, who was spotted wandering naked on the streets of San Diego in a video published by gossip website TMZ.
During superstorm Sandy, Twitter user @ComfortablySmug spread misinformation about the storm in New York City, including rumors that Gov. Andrew Cuomo was trapped in Manhattan and that the New York Stock Exchange was flooded. It was discovered by BuzzFeed that 29-year-old hedge fund analyst Shashank Tripathi was behind the tweets. Tripathi later apologized for making a series of "irresponsible and inaccurate tweets."
Curiosity rover landed on Mars with no incident and is now exploring the Red Planet. And Austrian dare-devil Felix Baumgartner broke the speed of sound with a jump from the edge of space.
If 2012 could be defined by one thing, it would likely be tech wars. This was the year that Apple and Samsung went to court over a contentious patent battle. Apple dropped Google Maps from its devices, amid widespread criticism -- only to bring it back before the year's end. Twitter cut support for LinkedIn and later blocked Instagram from its API. Instagram cut support for Twitter cards, and then the photos disappeared altogether from the micro-blog.
And let's not forget the tablet wars. Hot on Apple's trail, companies like Amazon and Microsoft launched tablets to compete with the iPad. Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Google all launched competing tablets. Microsoft entered the hardware business with the impressive Surface tablet. Apple launched an iPad mini and surprised fans with a fourth-generation iPad, just months after it had released a new iPad.
The 2012 U.S. presidential elections electrified social media users, as they took to sites like Facebook and Twitter to make comments during convention speeches and debates.
Facebook reported its top event of 2012 was the elections. Twitter reported that politics dominated the "Twitterverse" in 2012, with President Obama's "Four more years" photo becoming the most re-tweeted post in the site's history.
Big viral moments came when Mitt Romney said he loved Big Bird, but would cut funding for the Public Broadcasting System (PBS); and when he said he had a binders full of women, in response to a question about pay equity.
It was certainly an exciting year in tech. Now on to 2013!
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