The iPad is 10 years old

Happy birthday iPad! It was just 10 years ago that these, now ubiquitous, devices first appeared. It was widely rumored that Apple were working on a tablet of some kind, but nobody knew quite what to expect. When the iPad was first unveiled, the excitement was tangible [and that included me, of which more soon]. A big surprise was the lack of a stylus. This was particularly shocking to Microsoft, who were somewhat blindsided by the new product.

The big question [at the time and, to some extent still] is what is an iPad for? …

The story goes that Steve Jobs defined what he was after: “a piece of glass that I can use to send emails when I am sitting on the toilet.” When I first heard about the iPad, I was excited. I wanted one. I had no idea what I would do with it or use it for, but the spark of desire was there. I concluded that the iPad would change the world [a bit] or be an expensive paperweight. I was willing to take the risk.

It was frustrating to hear that the iPad was beginning to ship in the US, but, in the UK we had to wait. Then the UK launch was delayed and my frustration escalated. I was due to go the US on business and decided to attempt to get my hands on one there. While I was in California I called a nearby Apple store to check on availability. They said that they were getting deliveries all the time, but they always sold out fast. I could call in and take my chances. When I finished my work commitments, I was ready to head for the airport and plotted a route that would take me near two Apple stores. At the first one, I got lucky! They had just received a consignment and were very happy to take my money.

In the store, the assistant asked me what I was going to use it for. I admitted that I had very little idea, which sounded silly. I speculated on making presentations, doing email, browsing the Web. She seemed to think that this was sensible. I knew that only time would tell whether my investment would pay off.

So, how did it work out? I was quickly impressed and found that I was using it a lot. And this continued. After a couple of years, I upgraded to an iPad 3, as it was much faster and had an improved display. I rationalized the purchase by observing that owning an iPad seems to cost me about $1 per day. Some years later I got an iPad Air, where the big attraction was the slimness and light weight. Last year I was not planning to upgrade [to an iPad Air 3], but found myself in an Apple store [like you do], where they were on display. I happened to have my iPad in my bag, so a comparison was inevitable. Again the lighter weight and slimness seduced me.

I am a 5-screen person: iPhone, iPad, Kindle, MacBook Pro and iMac. Each device has its place and gets used for specific things. There is overlap, of course, but each is optimal at certain things. What do I do with my iPad? Here is a list of common things:

  • email [personal and work]
  • Web access
  • Evernote, where I keep lots of documents etc. [I also use OneNote a bit]
  • Facebook app
  • RSS reader for news etc.
  • calendar access
  • online banking
  • games [I play Words with Friends with 2 or 3 people and Rummicub against the iPad]
  • it is in my hand when I need notes during a presentation – perfect in a dimly lit room

That is just the common stuff. I’m always finding other things. 10 years on and I am still an enthusiastic user. I wonder what I will have in 2030?

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