Apple’s iPad: A Look Back At A Decade Of Innovation

By Emeric Brard
on 30 January 2020

“The last time I got excited about a tablet, there were commandments written on them” is the quote that Steve Jobs nabbed from the Wall Street Journal during the 2010 Apple presentation. The whole crowd watched on in awe as he went onto describe this long-awaited third-category product as a meshing of the smartphone and the laptop. A product that would need to be better at completing key tasks such as browsing, email, photos, video, music, games, eBooks, etc, than both smartphones and laptops.

No, not the Netbook. “Netbooks aren’t better at anything,” he said, to the amusement of the crowd.

He was talking about the iPad.

“It’s very thin”

“You can change the background screen to personalise it however you want”

“It’s phenomenal to see a whole webpage right in front of you and you can manipulate with your fingers. It’s unbelievably great.”

“You can turn iPad any way you want. Up, down, sideways…”

These are just few things that characterised the iPad and which subsequently made it “unbelievably great”.

The reality is that these features today are considered to be unbelievably unexceptional. Not because they’re bad features, but simply because they are now our minimum expectations for an Apple product. It goes to show how far we’ve come.

To put it into perspective…

The first iPad was 13 mm thick. Today, the latest iPad Pro is at a mere 5.9 mm. Makes thin sound bulky.

The first iPad had a 9.7-inch display. The latest iPad Pro has a 12.9-inch display. Makes large sound meh.

The first iPad weighed 730 grams. The latest iPad Pro weighs 633 grams with the possibility of even getting iPads that weigh 308.2 grams in the iPad mini (which only has two inches less on its display than the first generation).

From bricks to feathers.

The iPad has significantly changed over the decade. Here are some of the influential models that were released in the 2010s to see the incredible progress Apple has made.

iPad 1st Generation – 2010

iPad, Apple

Operating System: iPhone OS 3.2

Storage: 16GB, 32GB, 64Gb

Weight: 730 grams

Display: 9.7 inches, 1024 x 768 pixels

No camera

iPad 2 – 2011


The first iPad to feature a camera.

iPad Mini – 2012

Revolutionised the idea of the iPad with the smallest dimensions yet at 7.9 inches and lightest weight (310g).

iPad Air – 2013

tablet, Air

The first iPad to feature the ground-breaking iOS 7 design.

iPad Pro – 2015

pro, apple

The largest and most powerful model to be released. The iPad Pro was 12.9 inches.

2019 – iPad Pro, Air, iPad, Mini

iPad 2019

The latest models are powered by iOS 12 with the 7th-generation iPad being powered by the new iPadOS 13. All models have retina displays, with the largest display at 12.9 inches (iPad Pro). They all have Touch ID capabilities with the Pro using Face ID. The seventh-generation iPad can hold up to 128GB, while the Air and Mini can hold up to 256 GB. The iPad Pro can hold up to a gargantuan 1TB!

All models support the Apple Pen. All models except the iPad mini support the Smart Keyboard.

To say that the iPad has come a long way would be the understatement of the decade. The iPad has changed in every sense of the word. Fans of Apple have been given some of the sharpest displays, most powerful operating systems topped off with arguably the slickest designs on the market. In just a matter of ten years, Apple hasn’t just taken huge strides into improving their products – they’ve taken leaps.

As we’re now here in 2020, we also step into a new decade – one that will welcome in even more innovation and exciting new products. In ten years, we’ll look back on the iPad Pro and think Pfff big deal!

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