As 2019 comes to a close, it is time to reflect on the decade that was. With so many innovative and unique products released that have fundamentally changed our humanity and how we interact, it is hard to pin down just one. From the introduction of smart assistants like the Amazon Echo, to the age of the Tesla, the Beyond Burger and Video doorbells, a lot has changed in 10 years. However, only one product comes to mind that essentially changed the trajectory of computing technology forever and that was the iPad.
Originally released on January 27, 2010 by Apple’s own lead innovator Steve Jobs, he envisioned what the rest of us hadn’t imagined yet: That “mobile” products really would become the most important devices in our lives. As Jobs himself said during the release “”Everybody uses a laptop and or a smartphone. The question has arised lately. Is there room for a third category of device in the middle?” You see Jobs saw the mobile computing future before any of us did, he saw the need for a device that could extend beyond the smartphone and be used for all matter of tasks from sending emails, viewing and editing photographs, watching video, reading eBooks and more. However, this device turned out to be so much more than that.
This iPad would also transform the mobile web browsing experience and integrate with your address book, calendar and even provide users the opportunity to view maps for the first time on a larger screen. As Jobs himself put it, the iPad would provide an experience “more intimate than a laptop and so much more capable than a smartphone”. It also allowed users the opportunity to compose documents and emails more fluently with a large full touchscreen keyboard and seemingly began the Apple technology ecosystem with its ability to sync between iPhone, MacBook and iPad, something that us Apple users today are largely appreciative of.
Additionally, the iPad singlehandedly played a role in the mobile gaming revolution that we are only now starting to see come to fruition with things like Apple Arcade and competitors like Google’s own Stadia cloud-based gaming platforms. The iPad, too, allowed creative sorts to experience digital design through their Apple’s own Brushes app and many claim that this device was so capable that it took a lot of the attention away from Amazon’s own kindle with their proprietary iBooks app.
Last but certainly not least, the iPad promised to change the way we engage with documents, allowing users the ability to interact with spreadsheets, slideshows and document publication. Not to mention, the very first iPad released 9 years ago came with mobile connectivity as an option, making this a truly standalone portable device capable of going anywhere.
Since the release of the original iPad, we have continued to see the evolution of a product that has successfully carved out its own unique niche between smartphone and laptop that to this day, other manufacturers’ have been unable to match in its success. Ironically, while many critics initially mocked Apple for its silly name, it soon became the product we didn’t know we needed until we had our own, then we couldn’t live without it. With 10 million plus units sold in the last quarter of 2019 alone, the iPad continues to go from strength to strength and pave the way for the future of computing. It has changed boardrooms, education, health services and more by saving time, money and increasing performance. It has made complex tasks simple and has made many move quickly away from a redundant desktop experience. For this reason, the iPad is our choice for Product of the Decade and for that Apple, we salute you!
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