The Apple iPad burst into the personal electronics scene in April of 2010 and is helping to usher in a new genre of device called a tablet computer. Since it is a relatively new product and new form factor of computing device, the basic information about the iPad can get lost amidst the hype.
Though Apple first released the iPad in April of 2010, the preliminary news and gossip began several years before. Steve Jobs first officially announced the iPad in January of 2010, but Apple is known to have been developing a design and strategy for a tablet computer as far back as 2004. With less than a year in the market, the iPad has sparked dozens of electronics manufacturers to design and market their own version of tablet computer.
Apple sold 300,000 iPads on the day they first became available. In March of 2011, Apple announced that it had sold more than 15 million iPads over the course of nine months, generating $9.5 billion in revenue and capturing more than 90% market share in the table computer segment. On March 11, 2011, the iPad 2 went on sale in the U.S. With no official sales figures yet released, some analysts suspect sales numbers are similar to the release of the original iPad.
The initial release of the iPad provided two configuration choices. The first choice was storage capacity, with a total of three options: 16, 32 or 64 gigabytes of internal flash memory. The second choice was the type of connectivity that the iPad would use. The basic model supported Wi-Fi and the upgraded configuration allowed access over AT&T's 3G network with a signed contract. The iPad 2 has identical choices of options, with the addition of 3G access using Verizon as an additional carrier.
The iPad features similar functionality to an iPod touch but with a larger display. Some of these include a single panel with touchscreen interface, a Wi-Fi or 3G wireless data connection, GPS (3G), accelerometer and both rear- and forward-facing cameras. With the native operating system and built-in apps, you can listen to music, watch movies, capture both photos and video, play games, surf the Internet and access the iTunes App Store for purchasing and downloading approved, third-party iPad applications.
- Apple: iPad Technical Specifications
- "The Wall Street Journal"; iPad 2: Thin, Not Picture Perfect; Walter S Mossberg; March 2011
- "The Wall Street Journal"; Apple's iPad 2 Chalks Up Strong Sales in Weekend Debut; Yukari Iwatani Kane, et al.; March 2011
- Engadget; The Apple Tablet: A Complete History, Supposedly; Laura June; January 2010
- MacWorld; Jobs updates iBookstore, iPhone, iPad figures; Marco Tabini; March 2011
- Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images