On Jan. 27, 2010, Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs introduced the iPad. At the time, people wondered what was the market for a small computer between the size of a smart phone and a laptop; did people really need another device. Five years later, with 20/20 hindsight, it turns out that the tablet – and particularly the iPad – has become ingrained as the “revolutionary device” Apple then called it.
At the onset, Apple told the world that the iPad and its responsive high-resolution touchscreen would be used for “browsing the web, reading and sending email, enjoying photos, watching videos, listening to music, playing games, reading e-books and much more.” Jobs himself predicated that the device would create and define “an entirely new category of devices that will connect users with their apps and content in a much more intimate, intuitive and fun way than ever before.” As an iPad owner and aficionado who was initially derisive, it is clear they were right. Even Microsoft finally rolled over and released versions of Office for iPad users.
While not as easy to write articles on as a laptop or desktop, the iPad quickly replaced most other uses for a computer in many homes and schools. The breadth of applications and size made it an adept for reading books (it is the size of one, after all), easy on the eyes for playing games, great for seniors and toddlers to use, and more.
Like most Apple products, the iPad sold great when the first version (there has been six since) hit the marketplace Q2 2010. Approximately 300,000 were sold the first day and 18 million in 2010. In its first four years, an estimated 200 million iPads were sold. While tablet competitors sprung up, Apple’s iPad still controls more than half of the tablet market. But sales seem to have plateaued. Apple sold approximately 21.4 million tablets in Q4 2014, which is a reported 20 percent drop from Q4 the prior year.
However, not everyone is convinced the iPad will continue to an invaluable, must-have tool for grownups, except for a means to entertain a toddler. As Slate pointed out, the iPad may have been better than a phone for dealing with email on the go when it was released, but smartphones have evolved considerably since 2010. “The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and their Android equivalents are now convenient enough for most mobile computing tasks,” the article points out. Today, an iPad mini is about the same size as some phones and the standard iPad just a bigger version that is a little better for watching videos on.
Jobs said in 2010 that the “iPad creates and defines an entirely new category of devices that will connect users with their apps and content in a much more intimate, intuitive and fun way than ever before.” Now, as the iPad turns five, it remains to be seen if the device will still be around in five more years or turn out to be the Polaroid camera of the era – a game changer that was wildly successful, then was eclipsed by technological advances in other products. This iPad user hopes not.
By Dyanne Weiss