Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Apple iPad's First Year; the Device Many Thought would Fail

Jan. 27 marked one year since Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad at a special event at the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco. At the event, Jobs repeatedly referred to the device as both magical and revolutionary. Many joked about the name, referring to feminine sanitation products in their talks instead of the words magical and revolutionary. Many would eat their words and many others would scramble their R&D resources to come up with a would be iPad killer tablet device.   

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 that in a way so natural it left me feeling liberated.  My laptop has become imprisoned at my dining room table. My back has been freed from carry a huge load.  I can now attend conferences and no longer have to get there early to commandeer a seat with a view and a power outlet. I no longer have to worry about burning a hole in my bedspread or burning my thighs. I would say it has been very magical; it made my laptop disappear from my travels.    

Let's take a 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 whether the iPad will take off, myself included.

Mar. 12, 2010: iPad preordering begins from 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 Wi-Fi only model.) The iPad does very well in preorder sales, but still, no one predicts the level of success it will ultimately achieve.

Apr, 3, 2010: The first iPads arrive at customer doors. The lucky few who'd preordered well in advance spend the day setting up or comparing native iPad apps with scaled versions of iPhone ones. But the real winner is Apple, which reportedly sells roughly 300,000 iPads on launch day alone. I haven't gotten mine; let's see what the 3G version is all about first.

Apr. 21, 2010, at 8:44 AM, I wrote:

"I too am waiting on the 3G. I have a 16GB iPod Touch and I have 165 apps, 1799 Photos, 10 Movies/Videos and 1800 songs.  The 16GB = 14.6GB on iPod.  I have 563MB available.  Based on my usage, I have to at least get the 32GB unit."

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 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 14, 2010:  on Friday I walked into an Apple store and purchased an iPad. I sent my first e-mail from my new Apple iPad. I actually dictated the message with my voice using the dragon dictation program.  I went with the 16GB WiFi only model for 2 reasons: 1. I know the iPad 2 will be released about a year later and I wanted to minimize the investment cost, 2. My wife said we didn't need to spend money on the iPad, so I had to use my golf league money to get an iPad. So my hand was forced; 16GB WiFi only model it is then. I added about 4 apps then I jail broke it with so I could multitask. 

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 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 generated by expanding to new markets.

Sept. 1, 2010: Apple announces iOS 4.2 for the iPad, which will finally bring such features as 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.  I eagerly await news on whether the Jailbreakers will crack this version before I upgrade.  

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 (MSFT) 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 it was available. That brings the total number of iPads sold during 2010 to 7.46 million at that point and pushes iPad revenue past 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.  I am still eagerly awaiting news on whether the Jailbreakers will crack this version before I upgrade.

Jan. 6, 2011:  Apple is a no-show at the 2011 Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas NV.  They are not there to promote the current iPad nor talk about any future tablet that are working on.  Plenty of others are there with non-iPad killers and soon to be released (vaporware anyone) products with only prototypes to display at the show.     

Jan. 18, 2011: Apple sells 7.33 million iPads during the fourth quarter of calendar 2010 (the holiday season and the company's first fiscal 2011 quarter), 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 Apple dominating the mobile PC industry, these most recent figures put it ahead in all categories, mobile or otherwise.

We marked the calendar from when the iPad was announced.  With plenty of iPad 2 rumors and iPad 2 features being discussed, we are sure to see plenty of more from Apple as the annual anniversary for the shipping date approaches. Will this year's golf league money again pay for the next iPad in the line?  Will I ever get back out to swing the clubs again?  Is April the shipping date for the new iPad or will Apple wait until the Motorola Xoom, with Android Honeycomb, starts shipping to announce their next tablet?  Only time will tell. 

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