With the release of iPad 2, many are wondering place in history the first generation iPad holds. Is the iPad a classic device already? There has been much said about how the iPad was the best selling product release in the history of the tech world, but what does that really mean? Apple is has a long line of successes beginning with the Apple 2 in the late 1970s, the Macintosh, iPod, iPhone and finally the iPad. These devices have changed the industry in their own way, but does the iPad belong in the same category of these other game-changing devices?
Lets begin by looking at sales. Steve Jobs announced the Apple sold 15 million iPads in 2010 (including 300,000 on day 1!). This sounds like a staggering number, but he also announced that Apple had also sold its 100 millionth iPhone in the month of February 2011. Two devices that defined categories, two different milestones. It is difficult to understand what this means unless we break down the numbers further. The iPad went on sale April 2, 2010 and sold 15 million by the end of December. That is a total of 274 days. By doing simple math, we discover that Apple sold 54,744 iPads per day, 2,2801 per hour, and 38 per minute. The iPhone went on sale July 29, 2007 and by the end of February 2011 had been on sale for 1,617 days. That means that Apple has sold, on average, 61,842 iPhones per day, 2,576 per hour, and 42 per minute. Four more per minute than the iPad.
There are other numbers that make one question the importance of the iPad. The App Store has been a success for Apple on the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad and Jobs was sure to announce that the App Store had approximately 65,000 apps for the iPad as of the beginning of March 2011. The App Store, however, has over 350,000 total apps which means that only 19% of the apps on the App Store are optimized for the iPad. Not nearly as impressive as you thought, is it?
The iPad has delivered some very impressive numbers since its launch, however. Selling 15 million units of a new device does seem to be a record. Those 15 million units generated $9.5 billion in revenue for Apple, a sizable portion of their revenue. Users have also downloaded over 100 million iBooks since its launch last April. That equates to approximately 253 downloads per second. Apple did not release the number of apps downloaded during that same period, but I assume it would eclipse the number of iBooks. The iPad currently holds approximately 90% of the tablet market share. This is because there are still few competitors out there, but they are coming. Blackberry, WebOS, Windows (yet to be named), Android (too many to list), they are all creating tablets to rival the iPad.
So is iPad 1 a classic? It would seem that many people have chosen to keep their original iPad as opposed to upgrading to iPad 2. A survey conducted on launch day of iPad 2 found that 70% of those buying an iPad 2 were buying their first iPad. Does that mean Apple will increase its consumer base by 70%? Probably not, but it does show that many people waiting for the iPad 2. That is one thing with technology. There is always a group of users that skip the first generation of products. The iPad 2 is an improvement over iPad 1, but there is a sizable crowd that will keep their iPad 1 for another year and wait for iPad 3.
The simple answer to the question as to whether iPad 1 is a classis is yes. A classic device changes things and the iPad certainly has. The iPad can do everything the iPhone can do and it can do everything a MacBook can do, but the revolution is in how it does it. The touch interface changed the smart phone market in 2008 and the iPad changed the computer market in 2010. At the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2011, there were over 40 tablets demoed, all destined to challenge the iPad. At CES 2010, there were a few, but they never made it to production. January 27, 2010 changed the tablet market forever. When Steve Jobs held the iPad on stage in San Francisco, it was clear something had changed. The first iPad went virtually unchallenged in 2010, but there are a wide variety of challengers lined up for 2011. iPad was released to nationwide sellouts and a massive number of online orders, but will iPad 2 live up to its predecessor, the “Classic iPad”? We will have to wait and see.