iPad Celebrates One-Year Anniversary
This week marks the one-year-anniversary of the iPad.
On April 3, 2010 Apple released its Wi-Fi model of the iPad into stores, introducing the world to one of the most successful tablet devices ever made. With its easy-to-use interface and strong variety of applications, the iPad has gone on to sell in huge numbers ─ 15 million and counting ─ and last month spawned its successor: the iPad 2.
The last twelve months tell quite a story, from the iPad’s initial sellout launch to the myriad of programs that came out to the small controversies that popped up along the way. Here now is iPadNewsDaily’s formal year in review, and what better place for us to start than the beginning.
An instant hit
When Apple first launched the Wi-Fi models of the iPad, it was released exclusively through their retail locations, as well as Apple.com. At first Apple limited the distribution and customers demand skyrocketed. More than 300,000 devices were sold on the first day, causing huge stock outs across the country. Apple produced more, but they sold just as quickly. One million units had been sold by the first weekend of its release – a significant number considering that it took two months for a million iPhones to be sold.
Over the twelve month period, Apple expanded the availability of the iPad to numerous retailers, including Best Buy, Amazon and Walmart to soothe customer demands. It also teamed up with AT&T for its 3G models, enabling owners to download apps and movies without the need of a Wi-Fi connection point (for an additional fee). From there, Apple expanded its market internationally.
Over the next few months, Apple released the iPad in several overseas markets, including China, Australia, Germany and Italy. It was just as well received, thanks to growing App Stores available in each country. With these stores came recommendations for users to download, including games, business applications and movies, among others.
The only country to hit a speed bump during the release period was Israel. At the time Apple was planning a release into their market, it temporarily prohibited the release due to concerns that the Wi-Fi signal could cause interference with Wi-Fi devices. Eventually, an agreement was reached, and the device was released to an eager public.
At the time of its release, one of the bigger appeals of the iPad was its ability to download applications. Some bought it strictly for the games; others were looking for a way to watch their favorite movies with a bigger display. In general, though, it served a number of purposes.
Some even used the iPad for business. It’s easier to carry around than a laptop, and a number of business-oriented applications make it ideal for opening spreadsheets, printing documents, sending emails to colleagues and setting up presentations.
Teachers also used the iPad for learning experiences. Many praised it for its array of educational programming, whether in a public classroom or with home school.
Musicians found the iPad to be a helpful device when it came to finding their sound. The 80’s rock band Squeeze performed with the help of an iPad late last year on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, while alternative band The Gorillaz composed an entire album, called The Fall, with the help of the device.
iPad also struck a chord in the sports world. Along with providing fans of the NBA, NHL and other sports with dedicated apps, professional talent was using it as well. Numerous coaches and administrators used the device’s touch-screen to draw up plays and estimates, while a particular agent for former Devil Rays player Carl Crawford sent iPads to potential teams across the country, showcasing his client’s moves in action.
The multi-purpose functionality of the iPad broadened its appeal, and soon made it one of the most popular tablet devices ever.
Ten billion apps can’t be wrong
In late January, Apple announced that it has sold 10 billion apps through its virtual App Store. It’s easy to see how it could reach such a landmark number, thanks to the wide variety of programs and games available.
Among those emerged a success story for the publishers at Rovio. The company released its highly regarded Angry Birds HD last year during the iPad’s launch, which has since been a number one seller in the App Store, with millions of downloads sold. Each new Angry Birds release for the iPad has performed equally well, including the holiday-themed Angry Birds Seasons HD and the recently released Angry Birds Rio, which has already cleared the one million mark.
Other developers have found great success with iPad applications as well. PopCap Games’ Plants vs. Zombies HD has become a bonafide hit; Firemint found a new success with its Real Racing HD series; and Chillingo scored big with its release of Cut the Rope. Several other independent developers have also benefited from big sales, including Tiny Wings.
Games are just the tip of the iceberg. Many other apps have sold well over the past year, including the entertaining astrology app Star Walk HD and Apple’s own virtual bookstore, eBooks. And with so many available to buy in the App Store now (including free ones, like Netflix and TurboTax), there’s no shortage of content to keep you busy. Just make sure there’s plenty of cash in the ol’ cyber wallet.
Speed bumps on the road to iPad’s success
Despite the enormous sales success of the iPad, the device wasn’t without its problems. Aside from availability issues during its launch, a few hurdles popped up.
First, despite Apple’s promise of beefy security with the device, hackers were able to find a way to “jailbreak” the device, enabling users to activate a workaround to install a new sub-menu and set up programs that weren't authorized by Apple.
The worst part? The hackers were able to find a solution within just over a month’s time after the iPad’s release. Apple has since accordingly updated the iOS (operating system) hardware, but each time, hackers managed to find a way around it, keeping the “jailbreak” intact for whoever wanted it.
Although technical problems were relatively scant with the iPad, there were a few limitations that owners had to accept. The iPad didn’t come with retina display support (something the iPhone 4 had), and its lack of cameras made it seem a little limited, especially compared to the other tablets being released on the market. The fact you couldn’t view the screen with sunlight glaring on it didn’t help either.
Some also brought Apple’s firm grip of censorship into question, mainly in the App Store. Granted, some applications were simply asking to be removed (like the extremely controversial Baby Shaker app, first released for iPhone), but more adult-oriented content was either denied a release or kept a very close eye on. Still, some stuff did manage to make it out, including Sports Illustrated’s virtual swimsuit gallery and Maxim’s monthly publication.
Competition also began to grow shortly following the iPad’s release. Over the next few months, several electronics manufacturers would produce supposed “iPad killers” to try and steal the market away from it, including Motorola’s Xoom device and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab. In fact, Apple even introduced a competitor earlier this year ─ the iPad 2 ─ with a number of improvements over the original.
Nevertheless, the iPad persevered, and continues to sell well today, particularly due to markdown numbers from retailers trying to make room for its successor.
One year gone, let’s go for the next
Even though the iPad 2 is getting more attention nowadays, the iPad continues to be a huge draw for both the consumer and business markets, with millions of people still using theirs on a daily basis. With the number of applications still being released for it and strong support coming from Apple, you can bet it’ll last at least another good year, or perhaps even longer.
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