Biggest Black Friday 2019 iPad deals available now: Huge savings with $250 10.2-inch iPad
With Apple's iPad range getting bigger and more confusing than ever, we go through how to choose the right one for you this year.Unlike last year, Apple hasn't released a new version of the top-end iPad Pro. But the recent 10.2-inch budget-line iPad is better than ever.
In late 2009, one of the worst-kept secrets in technology was that Apple planned to launch a tablet of some sort, probably within months. Would it be a locked-down device like the iPhone , launched just two years earlier in 2007? Or would it be a more traditional platform like the MacBook , following in the footsteps of personal computers since the early '80s?
"Either the Apple tablet (or iSlate, or whatever it ends up being called) will be a 10-or-so-inch tablet PC with a full Mac OS X operating system; or it will merely be a larger-screen version of the current iPod Touch , which has a closed, limited phone-like OS ... The former would mean it could very likely run any software you'd run on a MacBook, from Firefox to Photoshop, and maybe even install Windows 7 via Boot Camp or Parallels. The latter points to a hermetically sealed ecosystem, where apps would have to be approved and sold through an official app store (as in iTunes)."
The best iPad 2019: is the iPad Air, Mini or Pro the best for you?
Whether you want the best iPad Pro or the best cheaper iPad, you'll find the best options here.Whether you're looking at the iPad Pro line, premium tablets with all the power of a computer; smaller slates like the iPad Air and iPad Mini with various sizes and specifications, or the base iPad line, there are many different options open to you, which complicates the process of finding the best iPad.
Most of that, from the iSlate name to the 10-inch screen ended up being wrong (the iPad launched with a 9.7-inch screen, a spec only recently discarded in favor of a 10.2-inch screen). But the final product, first officially unveiled on stage by Steve Jobs on Jan. 27, 2010 skewed much more towards the latter idea, a closed system, like the iPhone. The key takeaway being that all apps would have to come through preapproved channels.
As soon as the first wave of iPad details were announced, we immediately returned to the question of whether this new device would be considered a computer. The same day as the initial January 27, 2010 iPad announcement, I wrote:
iPad Air (2019)
Apple's iPad Air has resurfaced, and while it doesn't look very exciting, it does have some horsepower underneath its dated hood.No, it’s not as cute as the baby, the 7.9-inch iPad mini, and its traditional looks make it a wallflower compared to the head-turning premium iPad Pro 11 and iPad Pro 12.9. It took us a few days of testing to realize why it’s still important in 2019.
"By some standards, the iPad is essentially a keyboardless laptop, but by others, it's more akin to a portable media player, such as the iPod Touch ... But, even though the device as described by Apple initially feels more like a portable media player and less like a computer, is it fair to kick it out of the computer category entirely?
"One can envision a not-too-distant future where an iPhone-style interface becomes more prevalent on small Netbook and smartbook systems, rather than a full PC OS trickling down to ever-smaller devices ... The other side of the argument is that the iPad's lack of freedom to install basic apps and plug-ins, such as FireFox or even Flash, makes this far too limited a system to be considered a full-fledged computer. Ditto for the apparent lack of multitasking."
While the reference to Flash is dated, the general argument is very similar to the one we're still having today. In the intervening years, the iPad has added all sorts of keyboard docks, a more powerful Pro version, stylus support, and yes, finally a beta version of Photoshop (which is still not quite fully baked).
iPad's 10th anniversary leaves us asking if Apple's tablet is a computer
So I asked the same question again, now that the iPad is 10 years old. Can we call it a computer yet?
"No," was the emphatic response from my colleague Lori Grunin, when I asked if, in 2020, an iPad could be considered a computer. Why? Because its walled garden software ecosystem prevents you from running nonapproved software. What about a Chromebook then, I asked, is that a computer if it can't install and run software? "If you consider just websurfing a computing task, then yes, it's a computer. But if you don't, [a Chromebook is] just a tablet in a laptop design."
Back in 2010, my colleague Scott Stein took a broader view, explaining that the look and feel of app-driven operating systems are actually much more useful on small-screen systems. Ten years ago that applied to low-end laptops called Netbooks. Today, you could say the same about small-screen Chromebooks, hybrids, Windows 10 Arm devices or even the first wave of folding PCs.
More 2010 iPad flashbacks
Hands-on: Gaming on the Apple iPad
Hands-on: The Apple iPad as e-book reader
Hands-on: Netflix on the Apple iPad
Hands-on: Is the Apple iPad a Netbook killer?
"Of course the iPad is a computer," says Scott today, looking back at a decade of evolving iPad hardware. "Is it the computer that replaces all my other computers? No, not yet... but it keeps getting closer, year by year. I keep waiting for it to close the gap. I think it will. But it might take longer than I expected. It's already been 10 years, waiting for it to be everything. But it does some things far better than my laptop, and it's closer to my dream computer of the future than any current MacBook is."
Apple sale: Amazon is marking down AirPods, the iPad line, AirPods, the Apple Watch and Mac desktops and laptops
The first Apple iPhone is now 10 years old. Over that time it has become a revolutionary piece of hardware. But its gesture-based iPhone OS software -- now called iOS -- has been just as revolutionary.Here's how Apple's groundbreaking mobile operating system has evolved from iPhone OS 1.0 to iOS 11, set to come out later this year.
For all its fanfare, the first iOS was somewhat limited. There was no App Store yet, so early adopters could only use the simple apps that came preloaded. It was basically an iPod with a phone built in.
Apple's iPhone OS 2 launched with the iPhone 3G in July 2008. The OS update brought several important new features, including always-on email push, Google Maps Street View and most importantly the App Store.
The 2011 launch of iOS 5 brought wireless updates to the iPhone, allowing it to be updated without connecting it to a computer via iTunes. The new iMessage instant messenger feature, meanwhile, allowed the sending and receipt of multimedia content over Wi-Fi.
Apple's switch from Google Maps to Apple Maps, which also occurred in iOS 6, was terribly received. The not-ready-for-primetime replacement included numerous graphics bugs and a large number of incorrect and out-of-date business listings.
Apple's iOS 7 brought a total visual refresh to the iPhone with its simple, flat-icon style.Craig Federighi, Apple's SVP of software engineering, explained that the shadowing and texture effects used on icons in the past was a way to distract from the limitations of the display. "But with a display this precise," says Federighi, "there's nowhere to hide. So we wanted a clear typography."
The iOS 8.1 update introduced Apple Pay for contactless payments via near field communication (NFC) and a dedicated payment chip on the iPhone 6 and later devices.The service got off to a mixed start, with major retailers Walmart and Best Buy refusing to accept Apple Pay as a result of exclusivity deals with a failed competing service.
Apple's iOS 9 introduced a low-power mode, a Night Shift mode for easy reading after dark and mass transit support for Maps. The Notes app also got an update, seen here, that allows you to sketch with your finger.
The current iteration of iOS, version 10, introduced a sticker store for the Messages app, predictive emoji, chat bubble animations, facial recognition that bundles your photos together by person, and a Bedtime feature to help you get the perfect night's sleep.
It's only available in beta right now, but Apple has packed a ton of new features into iOS 11. Control Center can be customized, Live Photos can be edited, Siri can translate certain languages and there's a new one-handed keyboard.Those who install iOS 11 on an iPad will also get a MacBook-like dock on the bottom of their screens.