ON WEDNESDAY at 6pm GMT / 10am PST the whole world held its breath as a computer company announced an updated product. Along with billions of others, The INQUIRER was there, following Apple's every move as it took to the stage for 90 minutes in concurrent San Francisco and London events to launch its new Ipad. With just a week to go until happy fanbois can get their hands on one of these shiny new toys, here are our top 10 takeaways from the event.
10. Apple has sold a lot of Ipads
So far, 55 million, to be precise. Or almost one for everyone in the UK. Apple CEO Tim Cook, hosting his first major product launch since the death of Steve Jobs, opened his speech with a flurry of statistics indicating just how popular Apple's IOS devices are.
The firm sold 315 million IOS devices overall in 2011, with 62 million in the last quarter alone. This success has seen a shift in Apple's revenues away from desktop and software sales and heavily towards the firm's mobile line.
9. The PC era is over
Cook used the success of the Ipad and other Ithings to highlight the "post-PC era" we are now in. He noted that the Ipad, Iphone and Ipod accounted for 76 per cent of Apple's Q4 2011 revenue, while getting a dig in at HP that the total number of Ipads sold in the last quarter outnumbered the number of PCs sold by the firm.
This view was quickly supported by ex-Microsoft guru Ray Ozzie, who told delegates at a conference in Seattle that we are definitely in a "post-PC world". Coming from someone so closely associated with a firm that has made billions from its Windows desktop OS, the outlook doesn't look good for trusty old PCs.
8. The market is flooded with tablets
According to Cook, more than 100 tablets came to market in 2011. He hastily pointed out that only the Ipad offers "that great experience", but the number highlights how IT vendors see the future of technology dominated by the tablet model.
But while they've all rushed out to launch their own version, none has come close to the success of the Apple original - yet. With models such as the Asus Transformer Prime hitting the market and offering handy additions such as a keyboard dock, as well as the more open Android OS, tablet sales could start shifting away from Apple, as our recent Prime versus Ipad 2 head to head review showed.
7. Apple sees Samsung as a threat
Apple is not known for its competition-bashing, normally choosing to rise above everyone else in the IT vendor sphere and inhabit its own reality. However, the firm showed a small glimmer of weakness on Wednesday, when it decided to criticise arch rival and patent battler Samsung.
Apple demoed a Twitter app running on a Samsung tablet, with Cook quipping, "It kind of looks like a blown-up smartphone app, because that's what it is".
He went on to explain the success of the Ipad is all about the app experience, but for many the message will have been that Apple is starting to consider the Galaxy Tab and other Android tablets as a serious threat.
6. The new Ipad display is impressive
A staggering 3.1 million pixels with 2048x1536 resolution. An eye-popping 264 pixels per inch. The Retina display added to the Ipad is certainly going to impress those who like to zoom into their photos x100 or read text in very large format.
Along with the A5X processor supporting quad-core graphics, our initial reaction when testing out the Ipad at the launch event was that you certainly do notice how gorgeous and bright the screen is.
But in reality, it will not be that noticeable an improvement over the Ipad 2 and is unlikely to encourage owners of the current model to upgrade.
Oh Microsoft... not again...
Hmmm... says Microsoft
No way, Norway
It's definitely not an Etch-a-Sketch