By Julia Boorstin, CNBC Correspondent
NEW YORK ( CNBC) -- Apple ( AAPL) is the elephant in the convention center here at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Apple has zero official presence at CES but the specter of Steve Jobs shadow looms large over every single bit of activity at the annual tech convention. While the company's execs remain in Cupertino, waiting for Jobs to make his black turtlenecked announcements on his own time, Apple's reach and influence at CES has never been larger. Apple plays two key roles at CES. First, it is the standard-bearer: the maker of the tablet to defeat. Every new tablet to be introduced by Panasonic, Motorola ( MMI) or Microsoft ( MSFT), every demo of Google's ( GOOG) Android or Honeycomb technology on a large glossy screen faces direct (and harsh) comparison to Apple's iPad.
| More from CNBC Cisco's New Entertainment Play: Videoscape |
CES Preview: Tablets, Streaming, and 3D
NewsCorp. On Track to Sell MySpace by Mid-Year