The iPad was rumored long before it was announced — luckily the one about it costing $1,000 wasn't true — but even after Steve Jobs walked us through its apps and features, we still didn't get it, not exactly. People said it was just a big iPod touch. Those people were wrong.
Once the first iPad shipped April 3, 2010, it quickly became clear: the iPad is a game-changer. It wasn't the first tablet, but it was the first one that really mattered to the world, and the rest of the industry has been trying to catch up ever since — for five years and counting.
For the occasion of the iPad's fifth birthday, the Macworld staff offers some thoughts about how the iPad changed our game — and we're joined by some of the readers who chimed in on Twitter. What has the iPad meant for you? We'd love to hear your memories in the comments below.
I don't want to upgrade
I bought a first-gen iPad for my boyfriend as a gift before I wanted one for myself. I had little interest in a tablet, preferring to use my iPhone and MacBook, but he wanted one. Badly. I finally came around to the idea in 2012, but I was about to uproot my life to move to San Francisco, so dropping a few hundred dollars on a new device wasn't a high priority. Before I left, he gave me the ultimate goodbye gift: a third-gen iPad tucked inside a vintage red American Tourister suitcase.
That iPad kept me company while I headed off to the Bay alone. I still use it every day (which is more than I can say for the suitcase), and while it's slowing down in its advanced age, I don't want to upgrade. That iPad was more than just a tablet: It cheered me up with FaceTime dates and episodes of 30 Rock through a tough but rewarding year. But my sentimentality will lose out to a new iPad sooner rather than later, because it's about time. — Caitlin McGarry
My own personal reading machine
What sold me on the idea of the iPad was using it as a fancy reading device, so I loaded my first iPad up with basically every newsreader available as soon as I got it (though I never liked using it to read books — I still prefer paper). Two of those early iPad apps are now so ingrained in my iPad use that I forget that they launched so early in the game — Flipboard and Instapaper.
Flipboard's image-heavy layout and gesture-friendly design makes it super easy to browse content. My Flipboard is filled with pieces on travel, science, and wildlife — stuff that I like to read about, but that isn't crucial must-know material that would make my Feedly list. Instapaper, of course, dominated the read-it-later category thanks to its cross-platform integration and simple layout. Although both apps launched early, they launched strong, and continue to get better and better. — Leah Yamshon
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