Happy 2nd birthday, original iPad!

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.

The future.

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!

Here's my recollection of getting the original iPad, make sure you share yours!

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • Nicely written. I look forward to re-watching this keynote when I get home tonight. I just upgraded my first-gen iPad to the new iPad, and I couldn't be happier. I use it so much that I barely pick up my MacBook Air, and my iMac has fallen back to a mostly-dark media server.
  • I love my iPad but I do fear that continued adoption will cause the PC to fade away, leaving us locked into one ecosystem and elimination of the open Internet. Sure, Safari is still open but one company is now controlling the source of our books, music and video. We already see much higher prices for digital content as a result.
  • I have the 1st and 2nd gen iPad and the funny thing is I only got the latter b/c I just had an incredible deal (only spent 250 on it brand new but thats another story Geek Squad Black Tie yada yada yada). Anywhew when someone truly knows the value of these deviced and what they can do or how to use them I feel that someone who has just stuck with the first gen iPad has nothing to worry about and is not missing out on much.
    Lets be honest for all the apps that only work with the 2nd and 3rd Gen iPads there are still those that can perform the same functions on the 1st. The problem is the majority of apple lovers (myself included) are never satisfied with being satisfied (aka the Steve Jobs effect) case in point whenever a new apple device comes out we spend more time talking about whats not included and how the next one will be better no matter how miniscule they are. I have to be honest I just got my first macbook pro a few weeks ago and am in love but yet I find myself asking should I wait to see if a new one is coming out (even though the one I have does everything and I mean everything I need it to do and more.
    Point being if you have the 1st, 2nd or the NEW iPad you are still light years ahead of anything else that is out there. Happy B day to the device that created its own category.
  • Wait... Did you mean "Term was Coined"?
  • LoL
  • I was seriously underwhelmed when watching the iPad presentation. Not at all impressed. Then I picked one up in a store and saw the possiblities.. Just got the new iPad having kept the original for two years. Very happy indeed.
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