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Holding the internet in your hands

Feb. 7, 2020
by Mark Ollig

Rumors at the time said it could be named the iSlate or the iTablet.

We didn’t officially know until Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs walked out onto the stage Jan. 27, 2010, at the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco, to make the dramatic announcement.

I recall watching the live-streaming video of this event as it took place.

Jobs was dressed in his traditional laid-back blue jeans and comfortable-looking black turtleneck sweater.

He spoke to the audience about our use of laptops and smartphones, and whether some middle computing device could be used.

At the time, I thought the netbook was the middle device.

Jobs seemed to know what I was thinking, and said, “Some people had thought that’s a netbook. The problem is netbooks aren’t better at anything.”

This remark drew laughter and brief applause from the audience.

“They are just cheap laptops,” Jobs continued. “We don’t think they are a third-category device,” he said.

There was a moment of silence.

Jobs broke the silence, saying, “But, we think we’ve got something that is, and we call it the iPad.”

He then smiled and held up a half-inch thick, tablet-like device with a large display screen.

I recall the audience erupted in applause.

“iPad is our most advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price,” said Jobs.

The first iPad weighed 1.5 pounds and had a 9.7-inch LED-backlit, multi-touch display screen.

It included built-in Wi-Fi, with the higher-priced models including the 3G capability for internet access via the AT&T cellular phone network.

Yes, 10 years ago, we were using 3G.

Jobs sat down in a chair on stage with the working iPad and demonstrated its features and how easy it was to get on the internet.

He accessed the online New York Times newspaper and scrolled through the front page.

Jobs described how pleasant it was seeing the whole webpage at one time.

At each website visited, he mentioned how effortless it was to navigate a webpage by only using the touch of a finger; no need to use a mouse.

The first iPad was available in 16, 32, or 64GB flash drive sizes and was powered by Apple’s 1 GHz A4 custom-designed processor.

Its internal rechargeable lithium-polymer battery provided up to 10 hours of use.

Jobs displayed the high-resolution, full-color, back-lit screen with crisp, easy-to-read text. The colors were bright and vivid.

He proclaimed how “phenomenal” it was to “hold the internet in your hands.”

At the time, someone called the iPad a “media consumption device,” which it ultimately became.

Before the iPad could be sold to the public, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) needed to approve it.

The first-generation iPad (Wi-Fi model only) became available April 3, 2010, and could be purchased by the public.

Some 300,000 iPads were sold the first day, and my oldest son purchased one; it was the iPad 16GB model A1219.

The Wi-Fi + 3G iPad model became available April 30, 2010.

Apple discontinued manufacturing the first-generation iPad March 2011.

Be sure to visit my weblog at https://bitscolumn.blogspot.com.


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