When your product is left in a bar, completely torn down by Gizmodo, completely revealed to the world two weeks before launch, plagued with bad press over antenna problems immediately afterward and more than 14 million people still want one, that's the sign of a great innovator. Oddly, the iPhone 4 and its insanely high-resolution "Retina display," HD camera, FaceTime video conferencing, new version of iOS with AirPlay and AirPrint wireless functions weren't even Apple's biggest leap forward this year.
For all of their smartphone, monitor and Mac advances this year, this will be remembered as the year iPad made people ask "What's a netbook?" and "Why do we need an eReader?" as they snapped up 7.5 million iPads in six months en route to a record $20.4 billion fourth quarter and a nearly 53% share price increase for Apple. With the rest of the tech world playing tablet catchup, Steve Jobs had good reason to smirk from his Infinite Loop stage this year.
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