The First-Generation iPad: A 2018 Revisit

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Love ‘em or hate ‘em, Apple has certainly played a big role in the development of consumer technology and where it is today. One good example of this is their iPad series, which has been one of Apple’s best-selling product lines over the past years. However, iPad models have seemingly stagnated in recent years, featuring somewhat minor spec bumps.

With the recent announcement of the iPad Pro 2018 however, Apple has essentially transformed the iPad both in looks and features, similar to what it did with the iPhone X. Looking back, the iPad has certainly gone a long way in terms of specs and features. Today, we revisit the first-generation iPad.

Origins and Design

The first iPad was unveiled and launched way back in 2010. Back then, tablets weren’t much of a mainstream product yet. Although some tech companies already had their own tablet products, Apple took advantage of its marketing and commercial expertise to make the iPad a household name.

Looking at the specs today the iPad is definitely not a hardware powerhouse. The small resolution, 256 megabytes of RAM, and the lack of a camera are dreadful by 2018 tablet standards, but for 2010, these specs were enough to power Apple’s first modern tablet. It did have a headphone jack though.

Specs aside, the iPad came with a minimal yet elegant design, featuring a solid aluminum build which housed the massive 6600 mAh battery. The iPad’s looks fit right into Apple’s design language, matching the looks of the iPod and iPhone – a black front backed by a silver backside. Even the home button, volume rockers, power and switch buttons made their way to the tablet and showed Apple’s dedication to uniformity in its devices.

Software and Usage

In terms of software, the iPad launched with iOS 3.2, which was then upgradeable to iOS 5.1.1 and nothing else after that. One of its greatest strengths, however, is its app catalog – Apple made sure that the iPad would be able to run the best apps and software from its app store.

Alongside the app library, the large screen was one of the device’s main selling points, offering a vast world of difference than what consumers had with smartphones at the time. We should remember during this period in time, phones were relatively small compared to the massive pocket monoliths we have today (the first Galaxy Note hadn’t even come out yet). For many Apple fans, the iPad spelled impending doom for traditional PCs and laptops.

For a media consumption device, the iPad was pretty good for reading your ebooks, watching videos and listening to music, and playing some games. It may have had limitations due to the small onboard storage and lack of a micro-SD card slot, but then again this was Apple’s first try at a modern tablet in 2010. It offered you a certain level and degree of usage and functionality and we can say that it delivered on that front.

The Bottom Line

Despite some setbacks, the iPad sold more than 15 million units worldwide, and in doing so was met with competition from other tech companies, which in the end proved to be great for us consumers looking for other tablet options. Manufacturers such as Samsung, LG, Asus, and Microsoft came up with their own tablet devices, with Google even taking part in the race with their Nexus tablet.

All in all the iPad definitely proved to be a big milestone for Apple, which went on to continue developing and selling more iPad models. More variations would eventually come along, such as the iPad Mini, iPad Air, down to today’s 2018 iPad Pro, which paints a good future of Apple’s popular tablet line.

It is also noteworthy to mention the legendary iPad Air 2 that conquers the world during its peak. 

Further Reading: iPad Air 2 review: Its Finale and Succession

Join us soon for more tech throwbacks. Thanks for reading!

About the author

Mike Viray

A writer with a fondness for consumer tech, Mike is also a music lover, and an avid gamer as well. He and his wife are big fans of Mario Kart.


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  • Hi! Thank you very much for this very interesting throw back. iPad is more or less linked to Steve Jobs last announcements. iPad 1 was announced on January 2010 and released on April that same year. And iPad 2 was launched on March 2011, and that was in fact, Steve Job’s last presentation after he passed away.

    And I could also mention as curious fact, that back in 2010, quite a few Americans joked when they first started to hear the word “pad” in Apples new device.

    • I was young when it was first released. Back then I was also skeptical of tablet devices but over time they have really shown their worth. Haha I remember the pad thing.

  • Hi Mike; I found out that the iPod stands out in many areas of the world as the device of the day. I cannot say if itis because it came from Apple, but where I live, there is something about iPods that have captured the attention of the people. 

    Every edition of iPod triggers some people to buy. They owned one of every new released of iPods that Apple puts on the market. The reflection of twenty ten released is a memorable moment, those iPods were good then inspite of upgrades, I consider they are still good. The Tablet might have cover a wider area of the present needs though.


    • Apple really hit their mark with their effective marketing and campaigning strategies of the ipod brand. They’ve managed to do the same thing with the ipad and it’s quite a feat in itself!

  • I gained some knowledge reading your post. I didn’t know so much about the history of apple devices. My son has a iPad mini and I have an iPhone 7 Plus. Definitely we need an up grade. Using apple devices for the first time was a bit confusing at first, but I have mastered using them now and is ready for the future with apple. 

    What your take on the 2018 iPad Pro?

    Thanks for sharing 

    • Same here! I use Android mainly but sometimes play around with my wife’s iphone. It’s a bit confusing at first but it’s easy to get a hang of.

      As for the Ipad pro 2018, I like the allacreen design, the construction and build quality, especially the addition of usb c. I really dislike that it omits the headphone jack though.

  • This is wonderful post and resourceful information in this article. A lot of person still want to get this type of Ipad. But this is not possible for everyone. Sometime they think about alternative. Specially in rural area, people prefer cheap tab instead of Ipad. However this article is useful who are searching a high quality genuine apple brand product like Ipad.

  • The only Apple product I use is a Power Mac for music production purposes – Logic is a wonderful DAW to work with. But that’s it – I really can’t get along with the ‘all in house’ feel of Mac products. 

    I hate iTunes and I hate the fact that Mp3’s are so hard to upload to the system – everything seems to be kept within an iron fence so you have to use just Apple products or functions, so it’s PC and Android for me for life (more freedom). What are your thoughts on Apple’s ‘in house’ setup?

    • That’s one of my main gripes with ios and Apple’s system overall. File management, media transfers and itunes are what bring down the Apple experience for me. I use Android and Windows right now as they are easier to use when it comes to files and media. 

  • i remember the craze, the long lines and envious looks when it first came out! I had to wait till ipad 2 to get my hands on one! Reading your post, its crazy how advanced the new ipads have got and how simple the original was!

    those were dark days then lol but just having this light weight mini tv infront of you all the time was awesome! playing games rose to all new level! e-books all in 1 hand make long journeys shorter! thank god for the iPad!

    Apple did change the market and habits of people with the “tablet”. Doubt they will do it again given most of their recent models have just been upgrades but hey i’m not complaining…now only if they could sort out the cost!

  • I remember when I received my first iPad, actually mini iPad. It’s still in good shape, and we are using it day by day. It’s convenient when you travel, especially with kids. Just buy some movies and your travel is calm and quiet. I’m using it when I’m running on the treadmill. I just set a movie and start my workout.

    I’m really looking forward to the new iPad generation, and I know that the quality and features will not disappoint.

  • I am team apple, always have had a iPhone and Ive had a iPad mini in the past now I have a Apple Mac, I think once you start on apple you can’t go back. You get so used to the software, and the layout , its hard to try anything else. I remember when this generation of iPad came out!!

    • As much as I love Android I have to admit that using an iphone is a pretty great experience as well. Everything just works.

  • Thanks Mike, One thing I really like about Apple is the cross device connectivity.  I started with an iPad and later got an iPhone and then Mac Book Pro & just love how I can read any document/note/evernote etc across any and all of them.My iPad is 3rd Gen I think (2013), is a bit slow (only 16Gb) but still works well.I think they are the leaders, make everything so easy use and the quality is worth paying for.Whats your favourite apple device?

    • Favorite Apple device? I’d have to say either the SE or Iphone 6/6s. They were compact and had great build quality. i wish Apple renewed the SE line, to be honest.

  • Thanks for the trip down memory lane!  It seemed so long ago since the first ipad but really just 8 years.  

    Technology moves so fast that it’s hard, if you do not have an affinity for it, to keep up with what’s essential.  So I rely heavily on pages like yours to know the bottomline of what I need to know.

    Thanks for keeping me updated!

    • Thanks for reading! The speed that technology evolves at is scary fast. It’s quite fun to see how devices change over the years.