Steve Jobs brandishing an iPad

Apple, you have sold iPads for five years today!

What prompted me to climb out of my sickbed to write this and the previous article (nothing serious, I just have a cold) was that I just found out that today is not just the 40th birthday of Microsoft, but also the fifth anniversary of the Apple iPad going on sale in the United States. I do not know whether any people lost their lives or were maimed that day in Apple product launch-related mayhem but if there were their sacrifice was not totally in vain, for they were present the day the tablet was born!

the original tablet

Sure, like most revolutionary products, the first iPad was pretty rubbish, but the second version was a revelation. I know, because I used a friend’s iPad and then patiently waited until the iPad 2 was available before buying. The first generation iPad was pants partly because of the limted hardware but mainly because there were hardly any apps optimised for it. In this regard, Apple (thirty years old next April Fools’ Day, no less) were treating iPad users even more like over-grown toddlers in 2010 than they treat Davy like one today.

If the first-generation iPad left a tiny bit to be desired, this pales into insignificance when compared to the first-generation Apple iPhone, which I and my blogger-cum-partner trekked into a very dodgy area of London’s East End to pick up after I had bought it off eBay (10 years old this September). There were no apps at all for the original iPhone, except the pre-installed Apple ones, but at least you could browse the web, very, very slowly, on a tiny screen.#

It was not until the second generation that the iPhone (the first smartphone), the iPad (the first modern tablet) and the IBM PC (the first personal computer) began to reach their true potential, and became not just revolutionary but actually useful. With some products, it takes until the third generation, such as with the Microsoft Surface 3.

Would-be Apple Watch buyers may want to bear this in mind. Although with the Watch, Apple are in the unusual position of being followers rather than in the vanguard. But, then again, they were also in the same position with the iPod, which I think it is fair to say did quite well.

Perhaps The Economist are right after all and I am not as young as I feel, given that the pace of technological change keeps getting more and more bewildering and how my technological memory stretches back to 1979. The page of change is especially evident when compared to geo-politics where in 1979 the American Embassy in Tehran was burnt down and in 2015 America and Iran sit down for a chat. For instance I was genuinely surprised that Steve Jobs was still alive five years ago, as the featured image clearly shows.

Nothing demonstrates the sheer speed of technological change than that I found about the anniversary of the iPad by reading a Telegraph article through MSN News on my Google Nexus 9. Apple may have been the inventors of the modern tablet, but I am so over the iPad, and in fact I am already so over my Google Nexus 9 (which I pre-ordered only last October), and cannot wait to ditch it when the Surface 3 is released next month. Hopefully I will not be so over the Surface 3 by October 26, the third anniversary of the original Surface, which I was foolish enough to buy!

Surface 3 with red keyboard
2015: Surface 3 with red keyboard

To conclude I would like to say a big thank you to Apple for inventing the tablet and smartphone, which are useful for so many things – even when made by other companies, and also for leading the way in so many fields, though not horology!

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