The iPads Ten Year Evolution

iPad Pro Desk Setup
My Current iPad Pro Desk Setup

The iPads evolution in terms of hardware has delighted the masses with Apple’s obsession of thinner and lighter spearheading that development. Throughout its different size classes over the years, the iPad never failed to provide portability comforts, giving merit towards its hardware design.

When it comes to software, many consumers hoping to journey into the Post-PC generation expecting to see the same level of PC desktop software capabilities on the iPad down the road started to echo strong, unified sentiments regarding the stagnant nature of the iPad software. The call for a dedicated OS for the iPad grew stronger, and Apple finally made it happened.

The introduction of iPadOS, with its iPad specific features, signals the beginnings of the iPad software providing broader capabilities that will help continue to steer it away from the portrayal of a consumption-only device during the launch keynote presentation. Although during the subsequent keynote introducing iPad 2 and the launch of GarageBand on iOS, the demos revealed what the iPad is capable of when it comes to content creation, positioning the iPad as a multi-functional device going forward. To this day, the iPad does a brilliant job on both fronts, with some notable restrictions, especially when it comes to specific developmental tools.

The age-old uncertainty of whether the iPad can completely replace your PC and whether you can do work on the iPad remains. There is a simple answer to both questions: it depends on your computing requirements. To still utterly condemn the iPad as incapable of doing work is ludicrous and often a statement made by disputatious observers. It has come to a stage where the question isn’t any longer ‘how does the iPad stack up to the competition?’. But instead now, an internal battle amongst long-term Apple die-hards camping on either side of the fence of whether the iPad is good enough to replace their Macs - with a few dismissing the iPad because it doesn’t do things the Mac way.

I recently wrote and expressed some sentiments I had towards the iPad and the role it plays in my computing life. Being an early adopter - from the first iPad released in 2010 - I have witnessed the iPads slow evolution towards its expected potential, be it what Apple intended it to be or what consumers hoped for it to be. I’ve had my moments of hot and cold towards the iPad simply because I was bored with the iPad running the same software as the iPhone, making the iPad feel like an overblown iPhone. iPadOS changed all that. I have now used the iPad more consistently on an everyday basis than I have ever done.

I never needed powerful software applications for consumption or creative purposes when I used a traditional PC, making my switch to the iPad as my primary computing device a non-problematic transition. The iPad continues to do everything I need it to do, making me a very pleased user who continues to be confident and reassured with the direction the iPad software is heading.

Much has been written about the iPad turning 10. Below, in no particular order, are some of my favourite reads:

Inputmag: The iPad’s original software designer and program lead look back on the device’s first 10 years.

Imran: When we resurrected the iPad, we knew that it was always designed as a computer and it was literally the perfect playground for multitouch. The phone was the first delivery mechanism but we always knew that we wanted a desktop class face to run applications for multitouch.

BirchTree: My 10 Year Review of the iPad

The thing that still bothers people is the idea of the iPad replacing the Mac for all people and I just don’t know if that’s going to happen. The Mac debuted in 1984 and evolved into what we have in front of us today. The iPad is 26 years younger, and it was conceived and grew up in a completely different era, and as such, has much different priorities and design philosophies. Of course it doesn’t work just like the Mac!

Lee Peterson: Looking back at the original iPad

It’s been interesting to see how far we’ve come in 10 years with the iPad hardware, it still feels like the future and has become my platform of choice. I get so much flexibility from using one day to day, be it using the keyboard or pencil or just using it sat on the sofa. It’s given me so much opportunity to be more creative and I couldn’t imagine what I’d be using now if it never came along.

The Dent: Ten Years of iPad: Simply Complex

More often than not, when I’ve seen people complaining about things the iPad can’t do it’s untrue. They often can do these things, you just have to do it in a different way than you may have in the past. This doesn’t make the device bad, or unintuitive, necessarily, it just means that some effort needs to be put in to understand how these things are achieved.

MacStories: The iPad at 10: A New Product Category Defined by Apps

The message was that the iPad could become whatever users wanted it to be through its apps. Jony Ive reinforced that in the event’s closing video, declaring that the iPad was defined by its single slab of multitouch glass and lack of an input device or prescribed orientation. Nobody rotates their iPad as much as was demonstrated onstage, but Apple was sending an unmistakable message that the iPad was designed to disappear beneath users’ fingertips the same way an iPhone does, but deliver the computing power to drive a big display.

Steven Sinofsky: The 10th Anniversary of the iPad: A Perspective from the Windows Team.