Skip to main content

The 5 biggest moments in the iPad's history

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

It's time to say happy birthday to Apple's iPad, which just turned 10. While we're excited about potential 2020 iPads and iPad Pros, this is a perfect time to look back at the 5 biggest moments in the device's history, which helped it stay on the top of the mountain. 

Here are the 5 biggest moments in the iPad's history.

1. January 2010: Meet the iPad

In 2010, when Apple CEO Steve Jobs walked out on stage to introduce the iPad, he spent a significant chunk of time using it in a cozy-looking leather chair. The Apple CEO said, "It’s so much more intimate than a laptop," and positioned it as a device strictly meant for consuming content, and not creating it.

SAN FRANCISCO - JANUARY 27: Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs holds up the new iPad as he speaks during an Apple Special Event at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts January 27, 2010 in San Francisco, California. Apple introduced its latest creation, the iPad, a mobile tablet browsing device that is a cross between the iPhone and a MacBook laptop.

SAN FRANCISCO - JANUARY 27: Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs holds up the new iPad as he speaks during an Apple Special Event at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts January 27, 2010 in San Francisco, California. Apple introduced its latest creation, the iPad, a mobile tablet browsing device that is a cross between the iPhone and a MacBook laptop. (Image credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The closest thing there was to an app where you could create was the Mail app. Oh, how things have changed. For one, nobody laughs at the iPad's name anymore, while its first days saw people making comparisons to sanitary napkins.

2. March 2012: The iPad gets sharper with Retina Display

In order for the iPad to become the super-screen it is today, it had to get one of the iPhone's best features. That's the pixel-dense Retina Display, which made Apple's super-sized iPad easier on the eyes, as resolution jumped from barely HD to more than Full HD, at 2048x1536, doubling its pixel density from 132ppi to 264ppi.

(Image credit: Future)

While this change may have been inevitable, it was more than necessary to position the iPad as the best tablet around, since the device was primarily used for watching TV and movies. The clarity of the screen was also huge for reading e-books, allowing for letters to render more crisply.

3. September 2015: The iPad goes Pro

The first iPad Pro was Apple's big play to make us rethink the tablet, releasing it alongside the Apple Pencil stylus and the Smart Keyboard Cover case, for artists and writers. That was Apple saying "It's not just for Netflix." It also featured a faster A9X processor and a new higher-capacity storage option of 256GB (the largest Apple offered to date).

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Also, its 12.9-inch screen was simply larger than any iPad Apple had released so far, which made it more appealing for those drawing or using large spreadsheets.

4. March 2017: $329 iPad revealed

For the first seven years, the iPad started at $499, which is a lot to ask — especially when the iPhone got bigger and bigger over these years, inching closer to its big brother. But a press release in 2017 announced that Apple was slashing that price by 34%, down to $329.

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

In 2018, Apple would lower the price even further for the education market, down to $299. In the holiday season, we've seen the regular 10.2-inch iPad fall as low as $229, thanks to short-lived sales on Black Friday. 

5. October 2018: The iPad Pro gets even better 

The best iPad ever, the 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pros, arrived with a much more attractive design, ProMotion screens for smoother scrolling and many other upgrades. Writers and artists will appreciate the 2nd Gen Apple Pencil, which charges by magnetically snapping to the top edge, instead of this incredibly awkward "plug it into the bottom" method.

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

This is the current iPad Pro design, and honestly, I don't see Apple having much reason to change it. Rumors speculated that they'd move to a triple-camera design, similar to the iPhone 11 Max. There's also expectation that Apple's delivering another superfast processor, likely the A13X or A14X. 

Oh, and one more thing: The iPadOS makes its appearance in 2019

Yes, 2019 saw the arrival of iPadOS, a specialized version of iOS, but time will tell about how crucial this new branding is to the tablet. How much can iPadOS grow on its own? Can it shed the rules of what happens on an iPhone? 

iPadOS Is Here

(Image credit: Apple)

This update brought new multitasking tricks and some other neat features, but it's still closer to iOS than it was before. We look forward to the next iteration of iPadOS to see how Apple allows the iPad to thrive.