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iPad turns 5: What Apple's tablet has meant to us

Macworld Staff | April 6, 2015
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.

A killer lean-back device

My first-gen iPad marked the very first time I waited in a long retail line to buy an Apple product on the very first day. I had the tablet within hours, and it immediately replaced my iPhone as my go-to "kick back on the couch and swipe through websites" device. I knew it would become a major part of my digital life before buying it, and wasn't disappointed. But the bad news for Apple? I've only felt the need to upgrade my iPad once. — Jon Phillips

The best product I never needed

I was at the launch event for the first iPad, and had been dubious before the invitations went out that Apple would really make a tablet. They were so negative about netbooks, and the initially rumored $1,000 price leaked successfully to the Wall Street Journal seemed far too high for the kind of adoption necessary.

But then the invites went out and it seemed clear it was going to happen. I have a few distinct memories. How thin Steve was, his pants baggy. The strangeness of spending so long on iWork apps. And then being handed a device in the demo area to play with freely — holding a sky-mapping app overhead and seeing the stars wheel around me.

It seemed impossible, like a device that dropped out of the future, but also one that I wasn't sure I would ever need. I'd long learned by then not to try to predict consumer response to Apple's products, and they tapped into a need. I've owned four and still own two, but truth be told, almost no one in the family consults them: it's iPod Touch, iPhone, TV, and laptop all around. — Glenn Fleishman

Family technology

My family didn't even have a computer until I was in middle school, but my 3-year-old son thinks that pretty much every screen he sees is a touchscreen, and he wants them all to be the iPad. The two of us have spent hours role-playing Toca Store, cooperating on Plants vs. Zombies levels, and using real-life objects to manipulate onscreen action with Osmo.

Its kid-friendly storybooks and videos have kept us both sane during long trips. (I honestly don't know how people flew with toddlers before the iPad.) We use its cameras to video-chat with faraway grandparents. But more than anything, it's been a friendly, hands-on introduction to technology and the many ways it can empower its users. I can't wait to see what he gets into next. — Susie Ochs


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