Apple and Modern Family

Apple's product placement team was busy prior to the iPad's launch last year, putting the device into some high-profile hands.

Just a few days before the tablet's eagerly-anticipated debut, the iPad featured prominently in an episode of ABC's award-winning comedy Modern Family. The deliberately tacky episode, entitled "Game Changer," described a bungled quest to buy one of the first iPads and gave viewers some quick and adoring glimpses of the device towards the end of the show.

The show focused more on the brouhaha surrounding the iPad launch than the actual device itself, as if Apple was poking fun at the whole iPad hype-cycle. "Next week -- that's the worst thing you can say to an early adopter!" spat character Phil Dunphy, played by Ty Burrell (pictured above). The same actor was shown lovingly caressing an iPad at the end of the show.

Apple, which has sold more than 8 million iPads, also gave consumers an early peek of the device at the 2010 Grammy Awards, where it was briefly brandished by the comedian Stephen Colbert. The consumer tech giant also ran its first iPad TV ad during last year's Oscars.

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