Happy birthday, iPad! Here’s how you changed my Mom’s life.

iPad introduction 201004 (Steve Jobs demo 001)

The iPad launched to the public on April 3, 2010 so we though it’d be cool to celebrate the occasion by recapping the incredible four years of the post-PC revolution Apple’s device ushered in 4 years ago today.

The iPad is many things to many people. It transforms itself to whatever one wants it to be, thanks to the power of software and the more than 500,000 beautifully designed apps, created specifically for it.

Do you remember seeing Steve Jobs demo web browsing on the iPad for the first time? I know I was completely sold on this idea of holding the Internet in my hand. Since getting my first iPad, I’ve spent countless hours before bedtime with it just catching up on news, hanging on Twitter and what not.

You should know I’d never done that on any of my notebooks, they were just too clunky to hold comfortably in one hand. And, I’ve long given up squinting at small type on tiny smartphone screens.

If you’d told me back then that soon most of my research, entertainment and online activities would happen on a tablet, I’d have called you nuts for sure. And here we are four years later with the iPad as my primary computer.

Want to take a trip down memory lane? Read on…

Like every new Apple product, the iPad too launched to lukewarm response.

The general public scratched its collective head trying to figure out how the new device would fit in their traditional computing lifestyle, if at all. Back in 2010, there didn’t seem to be a viable slot for a third-category device between the laptop and the smartphone.

Even Apple seemed puzzled at first as to how to pitch the iPad, eventually opting for a sure-fire approach of advertising it as an everyman’s tablet capable of doing just about anything you want it to.

Here’s the first television commercial for the original iPad.


But how do you measure ease of use?

To me, the litmus test is my Mom. If she can handle a device with ease and without frustration, I can tell someone at Apple’s been doing something right. My Mom’s a school teacher so back in 2010 she asks me to pick her a notebook – her very first personal computer in her whole life.

But first, let me tell you a little bit about my Mom. She loathes technology. Her cell phone is the dumbest of dumb phones. She uses Microsoft Word for school and types with one finger. Internet Explorer, to her, is a thing that takes you to the school’s online service for teachers.

As her school was increasingly going digital, teachers were indeed mandated to jump into the 21st century and get themselves a computer.

The iPad just came out that year so instead of buying her a clunky Windows machine – or even a Mac for that matter – I went ahead and opted for an iPad, without her permission. The device was so thoroughly new and intimidating to her that she absolutely didn’t want to even consider using it.

iPad in hands (two-up, iPad, iPad mini)

After some persuading – I’m a good negotiator – Mom reckoned she could give the iPad a chance. I cunningly installed Angry Birds, kinda hoping the charming birds (her favorite animals) would help alleviate the fear of a new Star Trek-like thingy.

Today, she can’t imagine her life without her iPad.

Apple’s device has been truly magical for my mother.

It opened her eyes to the world of World Wide Web, introduced her to informative news portals, forums for like-minded people and the massive world of cooking recipes online, brought her up to speed with the wonders of instant messaging and email and prompted her to consume movies, electronic books, YouTube, music and photos.

iPad Air Home screen Notification Center

The iPad’s been a great time saver and total convenience in her life. For example, whenever I hit the beaches for six months, I invite Mom to a Shared Photo Stream. She doesn’t have to do anything as my shared summer photos automatically appear in the Photos app on her iPad.

As you could imagine, FaceTime has been a smash hit with her. Oh, and don’t get me started on Angry Birds games and similar titles in the App Store – you wouldn’t believe how proficient she’s become at physics-based puzzlers.

In my defense, I’d actually tried sparking Mom’s interest in mobile computing years before, out of frustration she’d been missing out on the remarkable advantages of today’s connected world, to absolutely no avail: the fear or technology prevailed handily.

iPad Air back

Apple and its iPad have changed all that in one fell swoop.

And you know what’s remarkable about this all?

That I didn’t have to do anything to make her a believer. The magic of the iPad kicked in the instant she picked it up for the first time and started interacting with its beautiful multi-touch display and apps.

That’s true innovation and ease of use.

And this is how you win in mobile.

Technology alone is not enough, remember?


Here are some key iPad milestones, sourced from Apple’s press releases.


• Steve Jobs introduces the original iPad at a San Francisco media event on January 27. The tablet is billed “our magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price” of $499 for the entry-level 16GB Wi-Fi-only iPad.

• The Wi-Fi-only iPad goes on sale at Apple Stores and Best Buy locations in the United States on Saturday, April 3. Steve Jobs says the iPad “connects users with their apps and content in a far more intimate and fun way than ever before.”

• During its first day, the iPad sells over 300,000 units iPads in the US, including deliveries of pre-ordered iPads to customers, deliveries to channel partners and sales at Apple Retail Stores. Users download over a million iPad apps from the App Store and over 250,000 electronic books from the iBookstore during the first day.

• Wi-Fi + 3G iPad models go arrive in the US on April 30.

• Apple sells its one millionth iPad on Friday, May 3, just 28 days after its April 3 introduction. By that time, users had downloaded over 12 million iPad apps and more than 1.5 million ebooks.

• The iPad arrives in nine more countries on Friday, May 28: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the UK.

• Apple announces selling iPad sales topped two million in less than 60 days since launch on April 3.

• Apple sells three million iPads 80 days after its introduction in the US.

• The iPad arrives in nine more countries on Friday, July 23: Austria, Belgium, Hong Kong, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand and Singapore.

• Wi-Fi iPads hit China on Friday, September 17.

• iPads come to AT&T and Verizon Wireless stores on October 28 with AT&T’s 3G prepaid data plans, contract-free. Verizon bundles Wi-Fi models with its MiFi 2200 Intelligent Mobile Hotspot and 1GB of cellular data for $20 a month.

• iPads gain wireless printing via the new AirPrint feature, released as part of the iOS 4.2 software update in November.


• On March 2, Apple announces the second-generation iPad with 33 percent thinner and 15 percent lighter design, Apple’s in-house designed dual-core A5 chip, front-facing VGA camera with FaceTime, 720p rear-facing camera, Smart Covers and more.

• On Friday, March 11, the iPad 2 lands in the US via Apple Stores, AT&T, Best Buy, Target, Verizon Wireless, Walmart and select Apple Authorized Resellers.

• On Friday, March 25, the iPad 2 arrives in 25 more countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK. “While competitors are still struggling to catch up with our first iPad, we’ve changed the game again with iPad 2,” said Steve Jobs.

• On Thursday, April 28, the iPad 2 launches in Japan, Hong Kong, Korea and Singapore.

• The following day, April 29, the device arrives in eight additional countries.

• Steve Jobs resigns as Apple CEO on August 24.

• Steve Jobs passes away on October 5, the day after the iPhone 4s was introduced.


• On January 19, Apple reinvents textbooks by releasing iBooks 2 for iPad with support for digital textbooks. Moreover, the firm releases the free iTunes U app for the iPad (and iPhone and iPod touch) to let educators and students create and manage courses including essential components such as lectures, assignments, books, quizzes and syllabuses.

• At the March 7 media event, Apple takes the wraps off its third-generation iPad with Retina display, faster A5X chip with quad-core graphics, five- megapixel iSight camera with 1080p video capture, 4G cellular networking and more. The same day, the iPad 2 gets slashed to $399 from its original $499 price point. Apple calls the device “the new iPad.”

• On Friday, March 16, the iPad 3 becomes available for purchase at Apple’s retail stores and the Apple Online Store in the US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland and the UK, along with Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

• Opening weekend sales of the iPad 3 top three million units.

• On Friday, March 23, the iPad 3 becomes available in 24 more countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macau, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

• On Friday, April 20, the device arrives in South Korea and 11 additional countries: Brunei, Croatia, Cyprus, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Malaysia, Panama, St Maarten, Uruguay and Venezuela

• Wi-Fi and cellular iPad 3 models hit China on Friday, July 20.

• Apple at its October 23 press conference unveils the iPad mini and fourth-generation iPad, just six months into the iPad 3’s release. The 7.2mm thick iPad mini, a device Steve Jobs staunchly opposed to, has a smaller 7.9-inch non-Retina screen, the front-facing FaceTime HD and five-megapixel iSight camera, runs the iPad 2’s A5 chip and is 23 percent thinner and 53 percent lighter than the iPad 3. The iPad 4 includes Apple’s latest A6X processor, Lightning I/O and faster wireless and cellular networking. Both the iPad mini and iPad 4 are available in 34 countries including the US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea and the UK.

• Apple announces selling three million iPads in three days, without breaking down sales by model. The firm creatively says the figure represents double the previous first weekend milestone of 1.5 million Wi-Fi only models sold for the third generation iPad back in March.

• Wi-Fi versions of iPad mini and iPad 4 hit China on Friday, December 14


• On Friday, January 18, Wi-Fi + Cellular iPad mini and iPad 4 land in China.

• January 29 brings us a new 128GB iPad 4 model: $799 for the Wi-Fi-only 128GB iPad 4, $929 for the cellular model.

• On June 19, Apple issues a press release announcing it received the Los Angeles School Board of Education’s approval to begin a massive roll out of iPads to its students across the school district in a $30 million deal.

• At the October 22 media event, Apple takes wraps off the new iPad mini with Retina display and iPad Air. The latter includes Apple’s in-house designed 64-bit A7 chip, the latest and greatest in Wi-Fi and cellular LTE technology, a 20 percent thinner and 28 percent lighter design versus the iPad 4 with the skinnier side bezels and more. The second-generation iPad mini includes the Retina display, the A7 chip and the same ultrafast Wi-Fi and expanded LTE cellular connectivity like the iPad Air. Both ship with iOS 7 preinstalled and work with new polyurethane Smart Covers (sold separately).

• The iPad Air goes on sale on Friday, November 1.

• The iPad mini with Retina display arrives on Friday, November 12.


• Apple on March 18 discontinues the iPad 2 as the iPad with Retina display takes its place as the most affordable 9.7-inch iPad, starting at $399 for the 16GB Wi-Fi model and $529 for the Wi-Fi + Cellular model.

• TD-LTE capable models of the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display go on sale in China on April Fools’ Day. Both models also support China’s TD-SCDMA mobile standard.

And how did the iPad during its four years in the wild change your preconceptions about mobile computing? Are you living in the post-PC world now? How should Apple advance the iPad going forward?

I want to hear your thoughts about today’s anniversary so dot be shy and join us in the conversation down in comments.