Apple launched the original iPad 14 years ago today, starting a product line that has gone on to define the tablet space and entry-level computing, spur a shift in how media is consumed, and have immense cultural impact.

steve jobs ipad 2010
The original ‌iPad‌ launched on April 3, 2010. Designed to bridge the gap between the laptop and the smartphone, the ‌iPad‌ offered a unique combination of portability, ease of use, and versatility that appealed to a wide range of consumers and professionals.

At the heart of the ‌iPad‌’s success was its sleek design and simple iOS user interface. The 9.7-inch touchscreen provided users with an immersive experience that was unmatched at the time. Its initial release boasted 16 to 64 gigabytes of storage, a 30-pin connector, Wi-Fi connectivity, and, on some models, 3G connectivity. This combination of features and the quality of its build set it apart from competitors, establishing the ‌iPad‌ as a premium option in the emerging tablet market.

The ‌iPad‌ catalyzed a shift in the software industry, leading to the development of apps designed specifically for its larger screen, which increasingly differed from the smartphone applications of the time. This app ecosystem rapidly expanded, with developers creating a wide range of applications from productivity tools and games to educational software. The ‌iPad‌ went on to be vital to the education market and many mobile workflows.

The lineup has since expanded to include new models like the iPad mini, iPad Air, and iPad Pro. The introduction of the Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard further transformed the ‌iPad‌ from a simple media consumption device to a tool designed for creativity and productivity. visionOS, the operating system behind the Apple Vision Pro headset, is also based on iPadOS to a large extent.

Today, it has been almost 18 months since any new iPads have launched – the longest-ever wait for new models. 2023 was the only year since the ‌iPad‌’s introduction with no new iPad models. Apple is now expected to release refreshed ‌iPad Air‌ and ‌iPad Pro‌ models in May, with updates to the entry-level ‌iPad‌ and the ‌iPad mini‌ tabled for later in the year.

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