So I had the fortune to be off work the week Apple announces new products.

I followed a liveblog (I highly recommend for this!) during the event, then I watched the entire event video and finally took part in a podcast panel discussing the announcements.

Here are my take aways:

1) The new AppleTV was hardly worth waiting for. The only current difference is the ability to output a 1080p signal. My TV is only 720p. But I do wonder what else this new box might be capable of which is not yet released.

2) The new iPad is another evolutionary step for the device. I'd pretty much decided I want one, even when it was only rumour, purely because of the Retina display. Don't bag it unless you've used one and you have excellent eyesight.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with the iPad 2 (or indeed the original iPad) display. I happily stare at that device for hours at a time. But as soon as I pick up my Retina display-sporting iPhone 4 I marvel at the clarity and crispness. Sometimes I pick up the phone and try to think of meaningful things to do with it purely so I can look at that screen. It's that good.

3) The making of the iPad is the software. Sure, the hardware is pretty amazing, but without the software it's an expensive paperweight. This is what Apple's competitors need to realise. Merely being able to list "takes photos, plays movies" is not enough. The experience is important. Apple devices are easy and enjoyable to use for even the most pedestrian of tasks.

Today the bar for software quality was raised even higher. Don't read about iPhoto for the iPad - watch the video. Without researching, I can tell you nothing even close to that experience is available on any other platform. How do I know? Because I've used Linux and I've used Windows and I've used OS X. No-one else gets that "nice," "clean" and "consistent" win the day. Every time.
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