One year ago today Steve Jobs announced the iPad at a special Apple launch event. This is the opening of my post about the unveiling a couple days later:
Here’s how Steve Jobs summed up the new iPad at the Apple launch event just a couple of days ago:
Our most advanced technology in a magical & revolutionary device at an unbelievable price.
It’s going to be lots of fun seeing whether the new device can live up to those lofty words.
Well … it sure has been a lot of fun, and I’d say the iPad has absolutely lived up to those words. The advanced technology is evident as soon as you see or interact with the device. The magical part for me is all about its incredibly intuitive user interface that makes it an instant hit with infants to octogenarians (and above). And revolutionary may be the word that fits the iPad best. It has single-handedly made the tablet market the hottest space in the computing world (witness the 80-100 wannabe iPad rivals at CES this month).
Apple has already sold around 15 million iPads (while many analysts thought they’d struggle to sell a million in the first year), predictions for this year are for massive growth in those sales numbers, and it scooped just about every major Best Gadget / Best Product / Best Tech award of 2010. It’s been a huge hit with not just consumers, but also in education and even enterprise markets (Apple recently announced that fully 80% of the Fortune 500 are either piloting or already deploying the iPad to staff).
It seems clear that the iPad is even more of a game-changing device than the iPhone. It may well be that over coming years the tablet will become the class of device that the majority of people do the majority of their computing on.
Back at last year’s iPad announcement event, Steve Jobs talked about one of the biggest questions facing the iPad:
Let’s go back to the beginning. Do we have what it takes to establish a 3rd category of products? An awesome product between the laptop and the smartphone. The bar is pretty high.” “We think we’ve got the goods. And because we’ve shipped so many iPhones and iPod touches, there are already over 75 million people who know how to use the iPad.
And here are my quick thoughts on that in my post about the unveling:
I guess this is the $64,000 question about the iPad. Right now, I don’t know how I feel about that one. I know the iPad cannot replace my MacBook Pro laptop. I know it can’t replace my iPhone 3GS. Like many people, I’ve never much thought that I need a third device that slots in between the two. Having said all that, on seeing the iPad I know I want one, and I feel sure it will get a whole lot of use.
I’m not sure exactly where my dividing lines will be between when to use the iPhone, when to use the iPad, and when to use my laptop – but I’m sure looking forward to finding out.
So now, a year later and after 9 months of using the iPad, here are my thoughts on that same subject:
— The iPad has not replaced my MacBook Pro, and it will not anytime soon – but it is not that far off being a capable laptop replacement. I have had various short periods where I’ve used solely the iPad (when my MacBook was out of commission / under repair, and when traveling) and found that it worked very well as a short-term laptop replacement. If someone (anyone, please!) would make a decent blogging app for it, it would be a big step closer to being a capable laptop replacement for me.
— It has not replaced my iPhone (now an iPhone 4) either – but I now use the iPhone far, far less than I did before I bought the iPad. I now use the iPhone almost exclusively as a phone and a camera. For nearly everything else – email, web browsing, reference, eBook reading by myself or with my daughter, games, newspaper, magazine, and RSS reading – I prefer the iPad.
— So while it hasn’t replaced my iPhone or MacBook, it has become my favorite device to use, by a long way and from Day 1. It’s not just the device that’s either in use or perched in a stand right next to my laptop on my desk during the day – but also the one that’s in my hands or right by my side every evening when I’m on the couch or in bed. I can honestly say it has lost none of its first day magic during these nine months. It is still a device that I find a genuine pleasure to use. If only Apple did ‘evangelist’ commissions – I’ve sold any number of friends and relatives on buying iPads just by talking about what an amazing device it is, and showing them why.
One of the big drawbacks for the iPad at launch was its lack of multitasking / rapid app switching. I’m happy to say that my prediction that it would be coming via an OS update proved right …
Multi-tasking: From what we saw at the launch event, no sign of multitasking as yet. I may be way over-optimistic, but I really think this just has to come along soon in an OS update.
This feature, as well as AirPlay and AirPrint have made the iPad even more powerful. I honestly think the iPad has more than lived up to Steve Jobs’ lofty claims for it. I think that it (and devices like it) are the future of computing.
What about you all? Do you remember what you thought of the iPad when it was first announced? Has it lived up to Steve’s words and your expectations?