Today in Apple history: ‘Magical’ first iPad debuts in stores

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The long wait was finally over. iPad 1 had arrived.
On launch day, people were very excited about the first iPad.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

April 3, 2010: Today in Apple history:  ‘Magical’ first iPad debuts in stores April 3, 2010: The first iPad hits store shelves after months of anticipation. The tablet Apple CEO Steve Jobs had called “magical and revolutionary” at its unveiling earlier in the year quickly becomes a major success.

Jobs initially showed off Apple’s first tablet on January 27. And there had been rumors long before then. But the wait for the iPad is finally over … at least for people in the United States. The iPad’s international debut won’t happen until May.

iPad was a tremendous success from the start

That very first iPad boasted a 9.7-inch multitouch display and a 1GHz Apple A4 processor. Storage options ranged from 16GB to 64GB of flash memory. It didn’t come with a camera. A version with 3G built in came out a bit later.

The iPad benefited from a lot of pre-release excitement, but it faced a certain amount of skepticism, too. After Jobs announced the device, Dan Lyons at Newsweek, wrote, “Jobs and his team kept using words like ‘breakthrough’ and ‘magical,’ but the iPad is neither, at least not right now.”

Jeremy A. Kaplan at Fox News unleashed an even more scathing evaluation. “Call it the iPad or the iPlod, but the message seems clear: Apple may have lost its mojo,” he said. And John C. Dvorak at MarketWatch dismissed the original iPad as “a giant iPod Touch.”

To use an iPad is to love it

But those comments came from people who had never actually used the device. After Apple sent out review units, Walt Mossberg at All Things D called the iPad a “pleasure to use,” and said it made him less interested in using his laptop. And David Pogue at The New York Times said anybody interested in a tablet would “love the machine.”

Cult of Mac’s in-depth review by Leander Kahney called the first Apple tablet “perfect for relaxing at home or on a plane.”

Consumers knew what they wanted. Apple sold 300,000 iPads on launch day and a million units in less than a month. By the end of the breakthrough tablet’s first year, Apple sold around 25 million of them. That made the iPad the most successful new product category launch in Apple history.