Today is Jan. 27, and that means it was exactly one year ago that Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad at a special event held at the Yerba Buena Center. The iPad has reached lofty heights since then, and here’s a short history of those achievements.


Jan. 27 marks one year since Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad at a special event held at the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco. At the event, Jobs repeatedly referred to the device as both magical and revolutionary. It seemed hyperbolic at the time, but does it still, after a year of living with the iPad?

For me, the answer is no. The iPad has changed every aspect of my life, from how I do my job to how I communicate with others, and it accomplished all of that in a way that was so natural it left me virtually unaware it was even happening. Some of us may have moved on to greener (only as it pertains to the logo, of course) Android pastures, but those alternatives wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for the success of Apple’s original, so let’s take a moment to look back at the year that was for the iPad.

Jan. 27, 2010: The iPad is announced at a special event by none other than Steve Jobs himself, after years of speculation about the existence of an Apple tablet. Consumers will have to wait to get their hands on the device, however, as the Wi-Fi versions are expected to ship within 60 days in the U.S., and the 3G version will come later, with a 90 day release window. Many wonder about whether or not the iPad would take off, myself included.

Mar. 12, 2010: iPad pre-ordering begins from Apple.com for U.S. residents. Much debate ensues about which model to order, and many probably changed their minds more than a few times before finally making a commitment. I still regret not opting for more storage (I have the 16 GB 3G-capable model). The iPad did very well in pre-order sales, but still no one predicts the level of success it will ultimately achieve.

April 3, 2010: The first iPads arrive at customer doors. Being based in Canada, I wasn’t lucky enough to get in on launch-day action, but Dave Greenbaum, who provides an envy-inspiring unboxing video, was. The lucky few who’d pre-ordered well in advance spend the day setting up the iPad, or comparing native iPad apps to scaled versions of iPhone ones . But the real winner is Apple, which reportedly sold roughly 300,000 iPads on launch day alone.

Apr. 30, 2010: The Wi-FI + 3G iPad goes on sale in the U.S., with service initially available only from AT&T. While the 3G-capable iPad originally gets off to a slower start than its cheaper, Wi-Fi-only relative, it now seems to be the more popular version, according to some recent surveys. Shortly after the 3G version’s introduction, the iPad begins to show hints of its impact on mobile OS market share, even before its international release.

May 28, 2010: International iPad sales begin, nearly two months after the device’s initial U.S. launch. Countries that introduced iPad sales on May 28 include Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the U.K. The launch was delayed by one month after the initial U.S. response overwhelmed Apple’s supply chain. Just prior to the international launch, analysts estimated that weekly iPad sales began to outpace those of the Mac.

July 20, 2010: Apple announces that 3.27 million iPad were sold during Apple’s third financial quarter of 2010, the first quarter during which it was available. Consider that Apple sold 3.47 million Macs during the same quarter, and that the iPad wasn’t available for the full three month period, and it becomes apparent that at this point the iPad is indeed outselling the Mac.

Aug. 2, 2010: Apple takes third place in global portable computing market share, when the iPad is included. Much of that increased share appears to have been gained at the expense of netbooks.

Aug. 18, 2010: iPad supply finally approaches demand, making device scarcity less of an issue for customers looking to purchase one. Around the same time, the iPad comes to China, reaching a huge new potential market. Apple steps up production to meet the demand incurred by expanding to new markets in an effort to keep supply on pace.

Sep. 1, 2010: Apple announces iOS 4.2 for the iPad, which will finally bring features like multitasking and folders to the device. The long delay between the release of 4.0 for the iPhone and the official announcement of 4.2 for the iPad still strikes me as one of Apple’s biggest missteps with the tablet, but it doesn’t seem to have hurt sales.

Oct. 4, 2010: The iPad is named the fastest-selling electronics device ever, beating out the DVD player by a wide margin. It will later be beaten out by Microsoft’s Kinect, the motion-detecting hands-free Xbox 360 controller, but 3 million units sold in 80 days is still impressive, record-holder or not.

Oct. 18, 2010: Apple sells 4.19 million iPads during its fourth financial quarter of 2010, the first full quarter during which it was available. That brings the total number of iPads sold during 2010 to 7.46 million at that point, and sees iPad revenue eclipse that of the iPod.

Nov. 22, 2010: Apple finally releases iOS 4.2 for iPad and iPhone, bringing folders, multitasking, AirPrint, AirPlay and free Find my iPad to the tablet . The update also changes the function of the physical orientation lock switch, making it a mute toggle, a move that was met with user displeasure.

Jan. 18, 2011: Apple sells 7.33 million iPads during the first quarter of its 2011 financial year, nearly matching sales of the previous two quarters combined and beating most analyst predictions. To say that nearly 8 million iPads is a good first year for a newly-introduced device would be a massive understatement.

Jan. 26, 2011: Apple ranks third overall in global PC sales, if you include the iPad. Whereas previous studies saw it dominating the mobile PC industry, these most recent figures put it ahead in all categories, mobile or otherwise.

With a whole host of Android competitors on the way, is this the high-water mark for the iPad, or can it climb higher still?

Related content from GigaOM Pro (sub req’d):

  1. Hamranhansenhansen Thursday, January 27, 2011

    The “Android competitors” aren’t competitive. You pay more and get a lot less with Android, like a baby screen and baby Java apps that are phone class, not PC class like iPad. You get half the battery life, even though you’re only getting less than half the screen. You get less than half the apps, even though you’re getting Java applets, not real C apps like on notebook and desktop PC’s. You get an interface that is fractured and doesn’t use the GPU, which OS X has been doing since 2003, and even Microsoft since 2007. On Android, there are no full-size apps, no Netflix, iTunes, AirPlay, and nothing like Xcode. And the hardware makers are unprofitable. Motorola Mobility will not last the 2 year lifespan of the $800 32GB tablet they are going to try and tell you is better than an iPad.

    Android is already stretched thin in phones, which it was designed for. On a mobile PC, OS X is back on home turf, Android is way out of its element. Android is even further behind in PC’s. There just isn’t anything out there that is going to slow the momentum of Apple’s PC lineup of iPads and Macs. Microsoft’s offerings are too big and bloated and archaic, and everyone else’s are too small and immature. Apple put years into OS X while everyone else was overclocking Pentium4 and making pagers. There is a ton of hard work to be done by whomever is going to build a competing PC platform, but it won’t come quick.

    Short answer: mobile PC’s are iPod all over again. In a few years, the mobile PC market will be 75% Apple, 10% Samsung, 15% everyone else. It’s already shaping up that way.

    Apple has 90% of the over-$1000 PC market. Putting Linux on a $500 Dell and pricing it at $1500 is not going to take any of that share away from Apple, but that is precisely the proposition of an Android tablet.

    1. I like how your skewed numbers are skewed. Fanboisezwut? Apple’s share of that over 1K market is because idiots have been convinced that paying more for lesser hardware and OSX is a wise decision. In the end the wannabe hipsters overpaid for Foxconn garbage hardware and an OS that can be installed on any hardware.

      The ipad is wood, and was rushed to market. The tablet concept still has yet to be proven viable. I like your made up numbers though, they are hilarious. FYI tablets are not mobile personal computers. They are for content consumption, and will never outclass laptops until they actually run a real OS. The funniest thing is that you think the ipud runs OSX…LOL.

  2. 7.46 + 7.33 = 14.79

    So, shouldn’t the above say that nearly 15 million iPads sold the first year is impressive? And really, we won’t know until April 3rd how many iPads were sold in it’s first year of availability.

  3. Apple’s sales were exceptionally higher during the holidays but why wouldn’t that be expected. I think the real test will be to see how their sales withhold throughout the next fiscal quarter.

    Already, people are talking that there’s no point in purchasing a new iPad when the iPad 2 is set to be released in the next few months.

    We run an iPad accessory business and our sales reflect this: during the Holidays the sales were great; now, our numbers have dropped significantly as people tell us that they would be stupid not to wait for the new product.

    The buzz is still around Apple. There’s a lot less buzz with other competitors in the tablet market. Apple will continue to push beyond the competitors and the release of the new iPad 2 is coming at the right time to do that.

  4. #Apple #iPad Launch, India: Hi on novelty factor, Lo on sales



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