Two years ago today Apple released the original, first-generation iPad Wi-Fi. Decried by critics as a "big iPhone" it turned out that was just exactly what the mainstream market wanted, and the iPad has gone on to pretty much create it's own product category. Rather than a complicated, desktop-style experience, Apple produced something remarkably focused.
No one really knew what to make of it back then, not even everyone at Apple. Their late co-founder, Steve Jobs, however, believed it was the next step towards the future -- post-PC before the coin was termed, a computing appliance when many felt the idea itself arrogant and oppressive. Something to once again democratize technology and make it even more accessible to the masses. (Something the iPad 2 would later run away with.
The line ups on launch day were geeky, filled more with people who already used Apple and iOS products and less with the mainstream crowds that would come just a year later. (Steve Jobs went to the one at Palo Alto) Apple managed to sell 300,000 original iPads that weekend, a tenth of the 3 million they sold on iPad 3 launch day this year, but an incredible amount by the standards of the day. (And unbelievable compared to the previous ten years of Tablet PC sales...)
There were a surprising amount of good, tablet-optimized apps available on launch day (I bought about $120 worth of them that morning!), and they just kept getting better and more numerous as developers figured out the strengths of the newer, bigger platform.
Now we have Retina display, LTE networking, everything iOS 5 has to offer, and the wonder of what iOS 6 might bring. But then we had the fresh and fervent memory of Steve Jobs putting sneaker to stage to introduce his last next big thing, something we'd seen for month but suddenly became real to us that morning when we finally got our hands on it and that big screen lit up bright.
So here's a slice of birthday cake and two candles burning just as bright. Happy birthday, original iPad, and here's to many more to come!
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