The iPad Mini proved especially notable because Apple's late CEO, Steve Jobs, famously stated a 7-inch tablet would never make it in the market because it was "too big to compete with a smartphone; too small to compete with an iPad." This may have been one of those rare cases in which Jobs was wrong.
Nintendo launches Wii U
In November, Nintendo released a new version of its popular Wii game console, which while groundbreaking when launched in 2006 was badly in need of a refresh.
The Wii U's most novel feature is a touchscreen tablet controller called a GamePad, which communicates with the main console. Inside the tablet are motion control sensors, speakers, a camera, buttons and other bells and whistles -- all of which the gamer uses to interact with what's happening on the larger screen.
It's a bold move for the company and brings a new perspective to console gaming, although the Wii U has received mixed reviews so far.
Yahoo hires Marissa Mayer
Aging Internet giant Yahoo was facing slumping revenues and internal strife in July when it hired Google exec Marissa Mayer as its new chief executive. The hire made headlines for many reasons: Mayer was young, well known in Silicon Valley and a photogenic woman who was expecting her first child.
There was much media hand-wringing over her pregnancy, with some pundits wondering aloud whether Mayer could juggle a newborn baby and a demanding new job. Others saw her as a role model for working mothers.
But when the news settled, the real question returned: Could Mayer save the floundering Yahoo? So far she has shaken up Yahoo's executive team, given employee morale a much-needed boost and begun to improve the company's mobile offerings, including a stunning new Flickr app.
It will take a while to properly gauge her impact, but investors seem optimistic. Yahoo's stock price has risen $4 a share since her hiring was announced.
Tech's role in the presidential election
Technology issues such as net neutrality weren't discussed much during the 2012 presidential election, but tech played a huge role in rallying supporters and getting out the vote. President Obama, arguably the most tech-savvy of U.S. presidents, went on Google Plus and Reddit to take questions from voters.
And both his campaign and that of his GOP challenger, Mitt Romney, sent social media messages almost daily in attempts to sway media reports and public opinion.
But the most impressive use of tech took place behind the scenes, where both sides used new and powerful computer databases to target voters. The Romney campaign's get-out-the-vote program, called Orca, suffered technical glitches on Election Day and was perceived to have been outflanked by Obama campaign software which compiled massive amounts of data on voters and dispatched volunteers to pinpoint locations across the country.