In April 2010, Apple announced the launch of a revolutionary product, the iPad. At the end of the 2000s there was a real need for something that would be more portable than the lightest netbooks, yet more powerful the most advanced smartphones. The iPad was meant to bridge the old gap between handheld devices such as smartphones and portable media player and personal computers. Many hailed the iPad as a groundbreaking product, an innovation that will forever change the way we interact with our devices. Despite this and the fact that the iPad is truly a fantastic piece of technology, the concept of a personal computing device in the form of an internet tablet is actually quite old.
The first forays into this concept date back to the late 60s when researchers at Xerox imagined the first portable device shape like a tablet. The concept seemed to catch on, and during the 80s numerous companies attempted to create a tablet computer. This evolution led to the creation of the Apple Newton, the forefather of the modern iPad, a pioneering product, which failed nevertheless to achieve widespread success. The Palm Pilot is another landmark on the long road that leads to the tablet. A PDA with advanced functions, the Pilot enjoyed a successful existence in the last decade of the century.
In the 2000s the explosion of the consumer electronics industry led to the appearance of an avalanche of new and innovative devices. Cell phones gradually became smarter and smarter, eventually transforming into fully fledged portable media players. An important trend was the tendency to pack all kinds of media in a single device, which lead to the appearance of the MP3 players with cameras and video playback capability. MP3 players with cameras, such as the iconic iPods, conquered the world, becoming commonplace for everybody. This trend created a convergence between handheld devices such as phones and MP3 players, which united as complete personal media players.
The computing power was reserved to computers for much of the 2000s. A trend that anticipated the success of the iPad was the emergence of the netbooks, small devices that sacrificed power for the sake of convenience. Digital cameras and web cams grew ever smaller and more powerful, which allowed manufacturers to include sensors in smartphones and mp3 player with camera. Portable gaming devices, such as Sony’s PSP, and the first e-readers, most notably the Kindle, became more and more sophisticated.
This general advancement of the consumer electronics sector, coupled with the tendency to incorporate as many functions as possible into one device, have culminated with the appearance of the first tablet device to achieve massive success and create a market of its own, the iPad.
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