Today marks the three-year anniversary of the iPad’s initial debut on electronics store shelves everywhere. Since its 2010 debut, the iPad, like the iPhone before it, became a massive success as the first tablet the general public actually wanted. Over the last three years, the iPad’s spurred a rise in digital reading material that’s in color (digital comic books, magazines, etc.), as well as encouraging a boom in cheaper tablets of various sizes, including the 7-inch size.
The tablet craze the iPad started has also largely killed off the netbook (which was still strong in 2010), and has inspired Microsoft to make their new desktop operating system, Windows 8, into an awkward tablet-like touchscreen format.
Finally, the iPad, like the iPhone, has affordably (well, compared to the price of a Mac) put Apple’s user-friendly OS (well, iOS) into the hands of the general public.
Back in 2010, I wasn’t impressed with the initial iPad. My main concerns were whether tablets would be useful at all outside of education (given smartphones and notebooks already exist) and the iPad’s hefty price tag. Since that time, more uses for tablets have emerged—besides Internet access, there’s also more widespread use of color ebooks, magazines, and comics.
University textbooks, unfortunately, still seem slow to adapt to tablets (or are too laden with DRM-related drawbacks), despite that I think it’d be a good thing for post-secondary education. It’d certainly beat lugging around a backpack full of heavy textbooks like when I was in college in the 90s.
As for price, the new smaller sizes from rivals have also made tablets more affordable. $500 is still rather expensive in my opinion for a tablet, given that a cheap notebook isn’t much more. However, 7-inch tablets like the Nexus 7 start at an affordable $200. Even Apple’s gotten into the booming smaller-size tablet market (with the iPad Mini), as has their rival Amazon with a color tablet version of their successful Kindle ebook reader. I, of course, also eventually jumped into the tablet scene, first with the Nook Color, then with the much-improved Nexus 7.
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.