If you’re a dedicated follower of tech innovation, you no doubt recall the day in 2010 when Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled Apple’s new tablet computer: the iPad. Internet jokers and wacky morning DJs had a lot of fun with the name. Apple, as usual, had the last laugh.
The iPad has since evolved into an unqualified success, carving out a space between laptop and smartphone, and providing a handy device for checking email, surfing the web, reading e-books, and — most importantly, perhaps — enabling the 21st-century obsession known as binge-watching. It was the device we didn’t know we needed until we had it in hand.
With the release of the sixth-generation 9.7-inch iPad (2018), it’s a good time to take a look at the evolution of Apple’s game-changing tablet. This history is a bit selective; we’ve skipped over some of the smaller iterative tweaks, focusing instead on the more evolutionary leaps. Prices listed here refer to the base model in the U.S. upon release. (Prices go up with premium storage and connectivity options.)
As a bonus, we’ve included secret trivia and some cultural context — and if you’re reading this on an iPad, give yourself 100 bonus meta points.