Happy Birthday to you, iPad!

It was nine years ago today—April 3, 2010—that Apple's revolutionary tablet hit the market
iPad Though tablets are everywhere today, the first iPad was a big risk. (© Bigtunaonline - Dreamstime.com)

Can a device have a birthday?

Do computers have feelings?

If I put a cookie on a laptop's keyboard, then close the laptop, will the laptop eat the cookie?

Whoa, whoa, whoa! So many questions! So many weird questions...

Okay, we can't answer the last two, but the first one? Yes! Devices can have birthdays. In fact, we're celebrating one right now.

The iPad's!

In touch with our world

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Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduces the iPad in 2010. (Getty Embed)

On April 3, 2010, Apple introduced its tablet device, the iPad. Today, iPads—as well as other tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Tab and Microsoft Surface Go—are everywhere. Many people use them as their main computer, engaging in social media, emails, web browsers, web chat, photography, videos... you name it.

So it's easy to forget that back in 2010, the word tablet as a device meant something completely different...

Readers and music players

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Earlier tablets, like the Kobo Kindle, were only for reading. (Getty Embed)

At the time, a tablet was mainly known as a 'reader'. Readers were devices like the Kobo Kindle that were designed specifically for reading digital copies of books. They had next-to-no other computing abilities or programs.

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Apple's iPod music players were a big hit. (Getty Embed)

Meanwhile, Apple had four main types of products: desktop computers, laptop computers, iPhones (which were introduced in June 2007), and iPods. For years, the iPod MP3 music player had been a huge product for Apple. Though some phones played music, most people used an MP3 payer for their tunes.

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The first model of iPod Touch is kind of the iPad's grandpa! (Getty Embed)

Then in September 2007, Apple introduced the iPod Touch, which was like an iPhone without the phone part. People ate it up—music AND apps together? Wicked!

A jumbo iPod Touch? Who needs that?

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iPads? That won't work! (Getty Embed)

This is what tech looked like when the iPad came along in 2010. At first, a lot of tech insiders were skeptical. Early reviews were not great. The iPad was just a jumbo iPod Touch, people complained. Who would want such a thing? There's no keyboard, so you can't do normal computer stuff very well. And it's so much bigger than a phone or iPod, it's too awkward to carry around.

But in the end, the iPad's popularity took off. In a month, they had sold one million of them. People loved the light, portable device that gave you the big screen viewing of a computer screen alongside the fun, touch screen simplicity of a smartphone. And on its larger screen, the keyboard wasn't nearly as difficult to use as on a phone.

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Current Apple CEO Tim Cook visits a classroom. Today, tablets of all kinds are very popular in schools. (Getty Embed)

Today, Apple has sold over 360 million iPads. Companies like Samsung, Microsoft, and Asus have sold many millions more of their tablets. These devices are a totally accepted as indispensable technology. Pretty amazing for a gadget that only nine years ago was predicted by many to be a big flop!

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