8 years ago today, the world was introduced to Apple’s latest innovation – a touch-screen portable device called the iPad.
Apple may not be on the cusp of invention, but it’s hard to argue that the company is great at perfecting technology for a mass audience and popularizing it to the point where their device becomes synonymous with the tech. Take the iPod. The mp3 player wasn’t the first on the market. It may not have even been the best, but for most of the device’s lifespan, portable digital music devices were considered iPods in the same way that any portable cassette player was called a Walkman, even though that was a brand specific to Sony’s portable cassette player.
There were tablets released through both Microsoft and Linux in the 10 years leading up to the iPad’s release, but nothing really penetrated the market or the collective consciousness in the same way that personal digital assistants did in years prior. Even Apple had tried to get in on the game – VERY early on – with the Newtown MessagePad 100 (right) back in 1993. That went nowhere.
But with the success of the iPod Touch and the iPhone, Apple saw an opportunity, and on Jan. 27, 2010, Steve Jobs took to a stage in San Francisco, Calif., to introduce the iPad. The first-generation device finally went on sale in April and it kicked off a tablet craze that soon turned tablets into an everyday necessity, like TVs, computers and cell phones.
It was a few years before I got my first iPad, entering the market with the iPad 3 in March 2012, and it’s something I nearly never leave home without. Not long after I got the iPad, I stopped going to comic shops on Wednesdays (or soon after) because I could buy my books digitally and just download them to my device, and I haven’t had to worry about a store selling out of an issue I wanted for close to 6 years now.
After a brief flirtation with a Microsoft Surface, I’m back to the iPad with an Air 2 – and I even managed to convince my wife to get one. Heck, my MOM has an iPad now. Much like when she got her first iPhone, it was something I never thought I’d see.
The power of the iPad’s processor continues to improve. Apple has always showed off the device’s capabilities by the impressive graphics of the games you can play, but it gets more impressive when you look at some of the games available in the Apple Store. Playing Final Fantasy 7 or 9 is an amazing experience. Now, playing Civilization VI, a game that gives my MacBook Air issues, on my iPad is a great experience.
All these years later, it’s almost impossible to imagine a world without the iPad. More importantly, why would I want one?