The iPad turns five

Apple’s popular iPad tablet celebrated the fifth anniversary of its release on April 3. The Verge has a timeline summing up the various releases since its 2010 debut.

Despite the changes the iPad’s wrought, its anniversary seems to have gone largely quiet in both the media at large and on tech websites. Among other changes since its 2010 debut:

  • It was the first widely popular tablet, and despite initial jokes (including by yours truly as a “giant sized iPod Touch”), showed there’s a market for such a device.
  • Various creative uses found for the iPad (mall kiosks, signs, etc.).
  • The explosion of competing tablets, largely running Android, though Amazon’s Android-derived Kindle has since become somewhat popular.
  • The rise of legalized digital comic stores, most prominently Comixology.
  • Everyone thinking tablets would replace laptops/desktops, but instead, they’ve just become what the iPad was partly billed as in its debut: filling a niche as a device that’s bigger than a smartphone, but lighter than a laptop. Of course, the iPad did put the final nails in the coffins of 2000s-era netbooks.

My initial reaction to the iPad wasn’t overly flattering, but as the iPad improved/rival cheaper tablets came along, I changed my mind. Quoting from my third anniversary post:

In closing, this is where I’m supposed to predict (read: guess) what the next few years will bring before the iPad’s fifth anniversary in 2015. I assume there’ll be more entrenchment of tablets in society (and the 7-inch size staying popular), but beyond that, I can’t really say.

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