Not that long ago I was sat at the London iPhone 4S announcement writing a live blog as several of the company's big wigs went through the phone that wasn't the iPhone 5 but that did become a truly monumental success for the company.
It was Tim Cook's first major consumer announcement and yet the whole thing felt muted. Cook himself was typically confident and forthright, and yet he was happy to let his team do the majority of the talking.
A few days later and we found out the sad news of Steve Jobs, and the conference was thrown into stark relief.
The questions about the lack of impact without Jobs on stage fell away. Now we knew that Jobs wouldn't only not be at the announcements of the iPad 3 and the iPhone 5, but that wouldn't be around to see the launch of his beloved devices.
iPad 3 launch
Perhaps that's overstating it a little. Apple has been beavering away on the iPad 3 for a long time, and yet this is one of the two key launches on Apple fans' calendars, with the belated iPhone 5 announcement likely to be later this year.
And it is up to Cook and his team to show that Apple is just as confident that it can flourish in the post-Jobs era as Jobs was confident that Apple would flourish in the post-PC era.
One more thing...
That doesn't mean that Cook needs to take to the stage in a black turtleneck, grandstanding, charming the crowd and closing with "one more thing".
It doesn't even mean that Cook needs to take the bulk of the time on stage; it would be entirely understandable that Apple does not want to fill the vacuum of Jobs with another single figure. Instead it will try to share the load across its luminaries: Ive, Cook, Schiller, Forstall et al.
But what it will need to do is prove that the iPhone 4S announcement was not the new Apple; that the figure-heavy presentation and sombre mood was for the perfectly acceptable reason of Jobs' illness.
Make no mistake, the iPad 3 launch is a massive deal for Apple.
Few would doubt that Apple will continue to go from strength to strength assuming it continues with the perfectionism that marked Jobs' time at Apple.
But this conference is the time for Apple to show that it can still wow the world, leave the fanboys giddy with glee and convert the cynics with the familiar spellbinding mix of showmanship and gorgeous gadgets.
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