Explaining Southern California's economy

PHOTOS: Top 10 California business and economics stories of 2012

Apple Introduces iPhone 5

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Apple introduces the iPhone 5 in San Francisco. It was the first time that the technology juggernaut, the most valuable California company by far, introduced a new device since Steve Jobs' death. Will it be enough to make Apple the world's first $1 trillion company in 2013?

Rupert Murdoch

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The Tribune Co., owner of the Los Angeles Times along with dozens of other media properties, finally exited bankruptcy on New Year's Eve. Now the real fun can begin in the City of Angels: Who will buy the hometown paper? Could it be...Rupert Murdoch?

elon musk

Photo Credit: SpaceX

SpaceX CEO and Chief Designer Elon Musk watches Dragon's progress inside of SpaceX Mission Control in Hawthorne in May. The former PayPal founder whose other company in electric carmaker Tesla Motors put California's space business back on the map — and ushered in a new era of private voyages to the stars. But will he really be able to retire on Mars?

George Lucas Poses With A Group Of "Star Wars" Inspired Disney Characters At Disney's Hollywood Studios

Handout/Getty Images

Disney CEO Bob Iger completes a trip of high-profile acquisitions, beginning with Pixar, then moving on to Marvel, culminating with a purchase of Lucasfilm from George Lucas. "Star Wars" now belongs to the Mighty Mouse — and Episode 7 is on the way! But will Disney be able to inject new life into one of pop cultures iconic entertainment franchises?

Reed Saxon

California was crushed by the housing downturn. But fours years after the bottom fell out, the state's real estate market at last began to show signs of life, as the foreclosure crisis fades and a price bubble even began to form in Southern California. Will the market return to normal in 2013?

FORTUNE Most Powerful Women Dinner New York City

Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Time Inc.

Former Google superstar Marissa Mayer took the helm at troubled Yahoo, after a ugly battle between the board of directors and activist shareholder Dan Loeb. Mayer began to make immediate management changes, brought back free food, became one of the most powerful female CEOs on the U.S. — and had a baby! Can she live up to the hype in 2013?

CinemaCon 2011 - Day 2

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The battle for the future of online content heated up. In early 2012, Silicon Valley and Hollywood dueled in Washington, D.C., over anti-piracy legislation. Hollywood had the lobbying power, embodied by former senator Chris Dodd and the MPAA. But Silicon Valley won a critical skirmish in the eleventh hour by blacking out Wikipedia for a day. Will the combatants be able to strike a truce in 2013?

Job Seekers  Meet With Recruiters At Job Fair

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At the tail end of 2013, California's unemployment rate dropped into single digits for the first time since 2009. And compared with the rest of the U.S., the state spent 2012 adding jobs at a brisk clip. But will the recovery be able to sustain its momentum in 2013?

 bankrupt pensions

Steven Cuevas / KPCC

San Bernardino fell off its own fiscal cliff in 2012 — and fell fast, declaring bankruptcy quicker than anyone expected. The broke Inland Empire city joined Stockton and Mammoth Lakes in a minor bankruptcy boom in California and set the stage for the municipal bond market's worst nightmare: a long-anticipated wave of defaults in the Golden State. Could that scary event come to pass in 2013?

A sign announcing Facebook IPO is flashe

EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images

It was supposed to be the initial public offering of the century, enriching Facebook employees and investors and reviving a moribund IPO market for high-tech startups. But Facebook flopped in first-day trading and kept on falling in subsequent days. Facebook's lead banker, Morgan Stanley, was blamed for botching the offering. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg went on the defensive. And by year end, Facebook still hadn't recovered it $100 billion valuation. But it topped 1 billion active users before the ball dropped in Times Square to ring on 2013. Will 2013 be the year it bounces back?


This is one in a series of year-end stories that look back at the most memorable pieces KPCC reporters worked on in 2012 and look ahead at a key issue that will be the focus of coverage in the coming year.

How much happened in the Golden State in 2012 when it comes to business? Lots. Lots and lots. The DeBord Report covered most of it. 

The slide show above serves up the business year in pictures for the state with the largest economy and two of America's most storied industries: Hollywood and high-tech.

And if you want to review the business year in links to the original posts...well, I've got that covered, too.

10. Apple introduces the iPhone 5 and the iPad Mini — the first all-new gadgets rolled out by Cupertino since the death of Steve Jobs

9. The long, long, LONG Tribune Co. bankruptcy comes to and end. So who will buy the Los Angeles Times?

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If Apple drops below $500 per share, it could be a screaming buy

Apple Introduces iPhone 5

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Apple introduces the iPhone 5 earlier this year in San Francisco. Will it sell enough this year to satisfy Wall Street?

There's a bunch of Wall Street trader stuff happening with Apple right now, as the company heads for the critical conclusion to the holiday shopping season. Analysts who follow the stock have been downgrading their price targets and trimming expectations for the company, which has been on an epic tear for the past two years, but which has also seen its share price collapse in recent months, from a high of more than $700.

This could yield some short-term volatility for AAPL. (That's the company's stock market ID.)

This morning, the stock fell below $500 in trading before the markets opened, before recovering to close at $520

Will it plunge again?

If it does, you might want to take Slate tech writer Farhad Manjoo's sage advice and buy a share of Apple, rather that wasting the money on an iPad. 

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Are U.S. households really paying an 'Apple tax?'

FRANCE-TECHNOLOGY-COMPANY-APPLE

AFP/AFP/Getty Images

The Apple iPhone 5. Does getting one mean that you're paying the equivalent of a tax to Cupertino?

At Reuters, Chris Taylor argues that they most definitely are:

The analogy of an Apple tax might sound facetious, but think about it. Median U.S. household income was $50,054 in 2011, according to the Census Bureau. A sizable chunk of that is getting diverted to Apple headquarters in Cupertino.

Remember, this is not something that consumers are being forced to pay. They are dipping willingly into their own pockets, because they're essentially slaves to the devices.

Taylor quotes an analyst who expects Apple-related spending to rise to over $800 a year per American household by 2015. How does that compare with other taxes?

Well, if the median household has two parents filing joint tax returns, and two kids, it's paying about half the 2015 "Apple Tax" each month in federal income and Social Security tax: close to $450. So households may be spending a lot on the Apple ecosystem of products — from iPhones to iPads to iTunes — but a lot more of their money continues to go to the government. 

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All I want for Christmas is an Apple iPad...or maybe an iPad Mini...but a iPod or iPhone would be OK, too

A third or more of U.S. kids between 6 and 12 would very much like to have an Apple device this holiday season.

Former Internet analyst Mary Meeker has produced another of her "state of the Internet presentations," as venture capitalists (and avid blogger) Fred Wilson called it. Meeker is  a VC too now, at the blue-chip Silicon Valley firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Buyers. 

The presentation that Fred notes can be viewed on SlideShare and is 88 slides long. It covers a lot of ground. But the slide above is particularly interesting, heading into the the crunch period of the holiday shopping season. You know, the time of wish lists children write and, in some cases, mail to rotund, bearded figure of legend who lives in the northernmost reaches of the planet with a band of industrious elves and a group of reindeer capable of impressive aerial feats. 

Meeker notes that American kids between 6 and 12 want iPads and iPad Minis in impressive numbers. They want iPod Touches and iPhones in nearly equally impressive numbers. 

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Apple iTunes 11: The battle to keep iTunes from becoming Microsoft Word

Apple has released version 11 of iTunes, its media-management software. Few liked the old version. Will this iTunes truly go...to 11?

Apple just introduced a major update to iTunes, the media-management software that comes pre-loaded in all Macs and that functions, effectively, as Apple's central desktop and online resource for accessing content on PCs, iPhones, and iPads. Version 11 addresses a critical problem for Apple.

Which is: Everyone who uses Apple devices pretty much has to use iTunes. And before version 11, a lot of people hated using iTunes. 

Why is that? Well, while Apple is still pretty good at developing operating systems, its history with other types of software is checkered. iTunes was really the company's first non-OS software package that really moved the needle. It wasn't so much the iPod that revolutionized the music business, it was iTunes — an software jukebox with online integration to the iTunes store and all those 99-cent songs.

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