The iPad (/ˈaɪpæd/ EYE-pad) is a line of tablet computers designed and marketed by Apple Inc., which runs on Apple’s iOS operating system. The first iPad was released on April 3, 2010; the most recent iPad models, the fourth-generation iPad and iPad Mini, were released on November 2, 2012. The user interface is built around the device’s multi-touch screen, including a virtual keyboard. The iPad has built-in Wi-Fi and, on some models, cellular connectivity.
An iPad can shoot video, take photos, play music, and perform online functions such as web-browsing and emailing. Other functions—games, reference, GPS navigation, social networking, etc.—can be enabled by downloading and installing apps; as of 2012, the App Store offered more than 700,000 apps by Apple and third parties.
There are five generations of the iPad. The first generation established design precedents, such as screen size and button placement, that have persisted through all models. The iPad 2 added a dual core Apple A5 processor and VGA front-facing and 720p rear-facing cameras designed for FaceTime video calling. The third generation added a Retina display, the new Apple A5X processor with a quad-core graphics processor, a 5 megapixel camera, HD 1080p video recording, voice dictation, and 4G (LTE). The fourth generation adds the Apple A6X proccessor and replaces the 30-pin connector with an all-digital Lightning connector. The iPad Mini features a reduced screen size of 7.9 inches, in contrast to the standard 9.7 inches, and features similar internal specifications as the iPad 2. iOS 6 adds Siri to the third and fourth generations and the iPad Mini.
Steve Jobs, Apple’s then-CEO, introducing the iPad.
Apple co-founder Steve Jobs said in a 1983 speech that his company’s
strategy is really simple. What we want to do is we want to put an incredibly great computer in a book that you can carry around with you and learn how to use in 20 minutes … And we really want to do it with a radio link in it so you don’t have to hook up to anything and you’re in communication with all of these larger databases and other computers.
Apple’s first tablet computer was the Newton MessagePad 100, introduced in 1993, which led to the creation of the ARM6 processor core with Acorn Computers. Apple also developed a prototype PowerBook Duo-based tablet, the PenLite, but decided not to sell it in order to avoid hurting MessagePad sales. Apple released several more Newton-based PDAs; the final one, the MessagePad 2100, was discontinued in 1998.
Apple re-entered the mobile-computing markets in 2007 with the iPhone. Smaller than the iPad, but featuring a camera and mobile phone, it pioneered the multitouch finger-sensitive touchscreen interface of Apple’s iOS mobile operating system. By late 2009, the iPad’s release had been rumored for several years. Such speculation mostly talked about “Apple’s tablet”; specific names included iTablet and iSlate. The actual name is reportedly a homage to the Star Trek PADD, a fictional device very similar in appearance to the iPad, as well as being a variation of the word “iPod”. The iPad was announced on January 27, 2010, by Jobs at an Apple press conference at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco.
He later said that Apple had begun developing the iPad before the iPhone, but had temporarily shelved the effort upon realizing that its ideas would work just as well in a mobile phone. The iPad’s internal codename was K48, which was revealed in the court case surrounding leaking of iPad information before launch.