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2010 tech snapshot: Apple leads the pack with iPad and iPhone 4

Apple's image has long been associated with the Macintosh. The signature look of the all-in-one box enclosure and the trademark simplicity and elegance of the MacOS interface are among the first images that come to mind when you think of the company.

In 2010, however, Apple's name was linked to a distinctly different operating system and line of products. The year saw Apple push the iOS platform to the forefront and make the operating system the basis for an ever-growing family of mobile devices.

The company kicked off 2010 with arguably its biggest product announcement in years. At a special event in San Francisco, chief executive and co-founder Steve Jobs unveiled the company's entry into the tablet space.

The iPad was formally launched over the spring and summer of 2010. Customers flocked to the iPad models, first the Wi-Fi edition and later a version equipped with 3G mobile broadband access. Later in the year the power of the iPad was boosted considerably with the addition of the iOS 4.2 firmware.

With an inspired developer community behind it and consumer interest still high, the iPad looks to continue its dominance of the tablet market in 2011. Sales of the iPad have spiked over the holiday buying season and for 2011 analysts have projected sales as high as 20 million units.

Apple's other major iOS device had an equally successful, if not more controversial, run in 2010. The iPhone saw yet another year of strong sales marred by high-profile hardware and software issues.

Formally unveiled in June at the World Wide Developer Conference, the iPhone 4 promised unprecedented performance speeds and new features such as folders and multitasking.

The promise of the new device, however, was soon overshadowed by one very major hardware issue. Early reviews of the iPhone 4 found that the handset sometimes suffered from poor reception.

The problem was soon traced to the handset's wireless antenna, which was located in the lower left-hand portion of the handset. Apple's handling of the reports and subsequent solution became a saga known as 'antennagate'.