Its absolute madness to think that the iPad has only been around for 10 years. We have been so used to it and seeing it everywhere in our daily lives, its hard to think there was a time that we never had tablets. So in honour of the game changing device, here s a little history and tribute to one of Apples greatest creations, quiet literally changing the world and how we interact with technology.
Back in the 2000s, Apple changed the way we used technology forever and essentially turned the Smartphone into a device every person on earth can use rather than just business types. The iPhone, introduce in 2007 brought multi touch capacitive touchscreens onto your mobile phone and in the years that followed, brought the app store which changed the landscape of the mobile phone industry going forward.
Following on from this success, Apple turned to another market creating device. Now tablets were not new, numerous tablets existed, some even with touchscreens and stylus but at the same time, none of these were very usable for the average Joe and just like smartphones before the iPhone, they were looked at as business devices more than anything else.
Then in 2010, Steve Jobs took to the stage at the Apple Keynote and revealed the first iPad to the world. The simple image of Steve sitting down in that chair, one leg casually over the other and using the iPad like he was reading a newspaper resonated with the world and from that moment, a new market was born which, 10 years later would still be dominated and bested by Apple despite hundreds of thousands of devices from other manufacturers created as alternatives.
Everyone started using tablets, whether they were iPads or not, if you saw a tablet in the real world you would instantly think iPad. The history nerds came out of the woodwork to point out to the world that tablets were not invented by Apple and had in fact existed well before 2010 but no one cared because who created the tablet was not the point here. The point was that this particular tablet was available and usable for everyone.
The iPad wasn’t just a commercial success, just like the iPhone, it became a societal norm and soon enough the whole world was consuming media and creating content on tablet devices. The PC world shuddered at this newcomer, storming into the computing world with its ease of use and slick interface although a decade later, this newcomer has only just started to be looked at as a realistic replacement to a laptop or PC. Arguments were made that the iPad was just a big iPhone but with introduction of iPad apps and Apples genius marketing, the tablet quickly differentiated itself from the iPhone and took off. In the years that followed its launch, Manufacturers using Googles Android OS decided they wanted a slice of the pie and created Android tablets. Unfortunately for them, the open source nature of Android meant drastic fragmentation and apps that were not optimised for big screens and so the argument that tablets were just big phones really rung true with Android tablets.
In fact the difference between these tablets and iPads was so stark that in most stores that sold tablets, they had a section for tablet devices but you would never find iPads in there as iPads had their very own category and a lot of consumer electronics stores went out of their way to highlight iPads to ensure consumers were not confusing them with any other tablet – such was the difference in quality.
After a few years, Android tablets were available in all shapes and sizes and Apple saw that there was a gap to be filled where people wanted the iPad experience on a smaller scale. No the iPhone wasn’t the answer but a smaller iPad. Thus the iPad mini was born in 2012. Coming in at a screen size of 7.9 inches compared to the 9.7 inches of the bigger iPad. After Steve Jobs passing, Apple became less proactive and more reactive, answering the market whenever it asked a question, people wanted a high resolution screen? iPad with retina display. People wanted the iPad mini with the retina display? Apple released it. People wanted something like the Mac Book Air with its thin frame and premium finish? Apple released the iPad Air.
It didn’t stop there, with the success of the Samsung Galaxy Note and other stylus enabled devices, Apple even released a stylus for the iPad called the Apple Pencil. Of course this and all iPad models were a success and Apple has dominated the market since the iPads conception. Now, a decade later, the questions about the iPad replacing PCs and laptops has been asked again but this time Apple is confident they have an answer with the iPad Pro – a bigger device with better spec than the vanilla iPad which also comes with keyboard accessories, Apple even released iPad OS, a forked version of iOS in order for the iPad to be able to be used as a serious computing device.
The zeitgeist over the last decade has always included the iPad. It has become a behemoth not just as a consumer product but as a piece of equipment used in all walks of life and various professions.
Back in the halcyon days where Apple created products that literally created a market where there was none or products that influenced an existing market all over the globe, Apples business model has since shifted, leaning from market innovation to market penetration; iterative updates and creation of media services has kept Apple at the top of the tree and the iPad has been a fundamental foundation for them to do what they are doing today and being the most cash rich company in the world. Hospitals, schools, offices, police stations, door to door salesmen, graphic designers, video editors, bloggers, you name it and anyone will be able to get use out of an iPad and this is the real genius of what Apple has created.