Five Years of Tablets – What a Difference an iPad Makes


This week, five years ago, Apple unveiled the original iPad. What a difference Apple’s touch can have! When the iPad was revealed in 2010, opinion was mixed. Many struggled to see the need for a device to fill the gap between their smartphone and their laptop. Charlie Brooker, for example, famously referred to the iPad as “the spork of the electronic consumer goods world.” And yet, Apple’s spork was incredibly successful.

Steve Jobs played a huge part in making the iPad appealing. When he took to the stage, he described the iPad as the “most advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price.” Rather than apologising for a lack of a single purpose, Apple used this to its advantage. The iPad could be anything you wanted it to be.

Clearly, Jobs’ approach worked. Apple sold 300,000 iPads on its first day of release. People embraced its possibilities immediately. Doctors integrated iPads into operating theatres, children and older students were able to carry iPads instead of heavy books, and artists could work on masterpieces on the go. By the end of the year, Apple said that it had sold 18 million devices. And rival manufacturers wanted a piece of the pie.

How we interact with almost everything has also changed. One of Apple’s marketing campaigns explicitly said that no matter what you wanted to do, there was an app for that. And it’s not just hot air. There are games, apps, and media available on iPad, no matter what you are interested in. Today, we are seeing game developers work on iPad tie-in apps to provide players with more ways to interact with their console games.

Media has also benefitted from the invention of the iPad. A smartphone screen isn’t the best way to watch a video and laptops can be too bulky and heavy to carry around. Suddenly, that device that falls in between the two is the perfect way to kill time on your commute. Get a train between Ireland’s major cities some day and see just how many people are taking advantage of the possibilities that a tablet offers.

Of course, the iPad itself has evolved significantly over the past few years. Not only is it more powerful, but it’s thinner than could be imagined at the same time. The iPad was always an attractive device, but Apple has refined the design over the years, ensuring that it looks better with each passing generation.

Apple has sold approximately 237 million iPads of one form or another since 2010. The iPad may not have been the first tablet on the market, but it certainly revolutionised the world. The iPad Air 2 is arguably one of the best tablets on the market; now all eyes turn to what Apple plans to do next.

In Short: The iPad was announced five years ago to mixed opinions. Five years on, it’s clear that the detractors were off the mark.

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Posts from the Harvey Norman blog team.

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