Immense iPhone Sales

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Immense iPhone Sales

Why start with the iPhone? Because with more than 128 million units sold to date, the iPhone is the most successful smartphone ever produced-and certainly the most popular smartphone in the United States. It's ubiquitous around the world and it ushered in the touch-screen smartphone era at a time when consumers had grown accustomed to typing email on RIM's BlackBerry phones.

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iPad Sets Tablet Standard

Like the iPhone before it, the iPad ignited the very young tablet market, selling 300,000 units on the first day of sale in March 2010. Apple has since sold roughly 30 million iPads, while rivals Android, RIMs BlackBerry PlayBook, HP TouchPad and others struggle to get a fraction of the tablet market pie. It's early yet, but we may look back on the iPad as the device that set the tone for the future of mobile computing for the next decade or more.

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Music Goes Everywhere With iPod

You can quibble with the order of this one, but the iPod was the first device that defined Apple's new strategic direction as a digital device company when it launched in 2001. It single-handedly set the stage for the music download sales market after Napster, Kazaa and other file sharers roiled the industry with pirated music.

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Paired with the iPod, iTunes launched in 2003 and it set the tone for today's Apple App Store, which today serves more than 425,000 applications for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Since software is more important than the pretty shells they come in, Jobs would agree this is a huge deal, helping the company generate more cash and fostering a loyal ecosystem of developers. Everyone wins. That is, except for the competition.

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Apple II

The Apple II put personal computing on the map, making it a reality for schools, consumers and small businesses at a time when computing was left to the likes of IBM, RadioShack, Commodore and others.

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In 1984, the first Macintosh arrived with a decent (for the time) graphical user interface, paving the way for desktop publishing for the next decade. This writer remembers loving that boxy, flawed Macintosh IIGS when the wraps came off it on Christmas day in 1986.

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Nearly a decade and a half passed between the time Apple launched the first popular Macintosh and when Jobs helped bring the iMac to market in 1998. Jobs bucked the system by integrating both the monitor and motherboard in one compact package, releasing the iMac first in blue and then in four other colors. Apple said the iMac became Apple's best-selling desktop computer ever.

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MacBook Air

Thin, light and powerful, the MacBook Air delivered to consumers a new, high-end model for portable computing when it first appeared in 2008. But we like the MacBook Air machine that launched in October 2010 (pictured) with a trackpad with full multitouch support and an "insanely great" battery life of up to 30 days standby time. Apple would refresh this machine in July 2011, using the same form factor as the prior model, but boasting new dual-core Intel Core i5 and i7 processors, a backlit keyboard and Thunderbolt instead of the Mini DisplayPort.

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Mac OS X

Resurrected from the fruit of Jobs' failed Next computer company, Mac OS X is the popular operating system driving the aforementioned MacBook Air and other MacBooks. The platform has powered all Macs since 2002. It's sleek, eye-pleasing, highly functional and elegantly designed, as one might expect from an OS overseen by Jobs.

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First Jobs' Posthumous Biography

For those who want to learn more about Jobs, Simon & Schuster has moved up publication of the Jobs authorized biography, "Steve Jobs," by Walter Isaacson, to Oct. 24 from its original Nov. 21 publication date.

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