3 years ago today, Apple shipped the original iPad Wi-Fi. It had been called unimaginative. It had been called unnecessary. Even after Steve Jobs had taken the stage only a few months earlier and made the case that there was room for a new product category between the smartphone and the laptop, even after Apple's multitouch interface had mainstreamed computing like never before, it was called "just a big iPhone".
And it was. An iPhone gone IMAX. Widescreen experiences gone tall screen. Single column apps gone double column. Small device gone big.
If analysts didn't get it, if pundits didn't get it, if everyone inside Apple didn't get the full extent of it, it didn't matter. We got it. By the millions. Tens of millions.
It was early days still, before they were comfortable enough to have Peter Coyote say technology alone wasn't enough.
But even in its original form, the iPad made computing accessible to people for whom even Macs were confusing and intimidating, for whom mice and keyboards were awkward and off-putting, for whom multiple windows were frustrating and disorienting, for whom everything about a personal computers was still far too impersonal.
It empowered them.
Three years later, with the web in the palm of our hands, with games and videos that fill our field of vision, with apps that let us finger-paint with productivity and pinch and swipe and tap information around the world, with sizes both full and mini, the iPad is a success.
Undeniably, phenomenally, transformative-ly, confounding-ly a success.
And it's only been three years. How far can the iPad go in another three?