A Decade of Apple iPads
It’s been a decade and this one amazing gadget, the Apple iPad single handily introduced a new category called post-PC devices and ruled over it for 10 years straight. Unless it’s the really low priced Amazon Fire tablet, 10 years and still the iPad hasn’t got a worthy long-lasting opponent.
In this article let’s look at all the iPad models ever introduced and take a walk down memory lane and see what changed through the years.
The year was 2010, it started bleak with a massive earthquake hitting Haiti but also was the year of the biggest man made structure ever, the Burj Khalifa and it was also the year where Steve jobs showed the newest device called iPad and said it was magical. All tech purists were sceptical wondering if there was any need for such kind of a device but the iPad really was the one which changed the course of history. The simplicity, ease of use, extremely long battery life and the size made this device truly magical.
So here I have the original iPad in cellular version with 32GB of storage. This was the mid-range storage option, upon launch Apple had 3 storage options, 16GB, 32 and 64GB in both WiFi only and WiFi with cellular connectivity options. I was one of the very early ones who got the device on launch day itself. I had the base 16GB model and got it with the silicon Apple case.
The device weighted it at 680gms with this cellular version weighing at a whopping 730gms.
The device had Apple’s custom A4 ARM chip clocking in at 1ghz and 256MB RAM. The screen resolution was 138ppi and there were no cameras at all on this device. They seem like pretty low specs now but back it 2010, this device performed very efficiently without a single hiccup or lag. In fact it crushed the netbook market totally which were just getting popular at that time.
Then 2011, it is the year that finally brought down Bin Laden and showed us how fairy tale wedding look like if they happen in real life with the Royal Wedding. Apple also took its customers views into consideration and introduced the iPad 2. The iPad shaved off nearly 80gms of its weight, got better with curved edges and came in 2 colours, white and black. Still gets in the same 16,32 and 64GB storage options.
This is my iPad 2 and yes, it is still fully functional, even after 9 years. I have the WiFi 64GB version. Actually, I wanted to settle for the mid-level 32GB storage but upon launch day it sold off like hot cakes and PCWorld near my house only had white 64GB in stock. So, I had to stretch my budget a little and I was actually glad I did that. As my original iPad was only a measly 16GB and more memory is always a good option to consider. The internals get updated as well with the first dual core A5 chip making its appearance along with double RAM at 512MB, so. The iPad 2 does get a serious performance boost. The iPad also gets the much needed cameras, both front and back. The resolution on them is however very low, VGA quality on the front and 0.7MP on the back, but at least they were added and were really useful for video calling.
Next is 2012 which marks the year of Higgs Boson and Queen’s diamonds jubilee. The third iteration of the iPad gets serious performance boost with quad core A5X processor, 1Gb of RAM, gets retina screen at 264ppi, gets 128GB storage option added but still retains the crappy low 16GB option, updates the rear camera to 5MP with HD recording at 30fps but the front is still the low-res VGA camera. It also gains around 50gm of weight back, mostly due to that retina screen
But the iPad 3 is very short lived as Apple decides to update it like 6 months later. So same year 2012 sees iPad 4 which gets updated internals and I bought this one. I sold it off few months later to buy the next one so I do not have it with me but this iPad was the heaviest one which I used at 650gms. And you could definitely feel the heft especially comparing it my iPad 2 which I still had at that time. The processor gets a bump to A6X and the front camera also gets updated to 1.2MP. Quick little time jump here year, Apple still offers this same low-res 1.2MP font camera even in its 7th gen iPad which was released in sept 2019. Talk about old tech and this is as old as it can get on a modern device!
Also Apple didn’t just stop with the iPad 4, 2012 also sees the birth of iPad Mini in a smaller and lighter 7.9 inch screen size as opposed to the iPad’s usual 9.7 screen size. The internals are powered by A5 dual core processor with 512MB RAM and the cameras at 5MP on the back and 1.2MP on the front. But what made this device truly stand out is that 310 grams of weight even though it packed mostly same internal as it’s big brother iPad. That weight made this tablet the lightest and most powerful iPad your money could buy! 2012 sure was the year of iPads
Next is 2013, the year of protests and violence in Egypt and the welcoming of royal baby in British royal household, and the year where Apple redefined the iPad. Gone is the 650gms weight and thick bezels, Apple shirks all of them launching the new iPad with thinner bezels, 469gms weight and calls it the iPad Air. Seriously every other 9.7 inch iPad feels like a brick in comparison. I sold off my iPad 4 and bought the iPad Air in white colour and 64GB storage option. This was my main iPad for the next 6 years until I upgraded to the iPad Air 3 in late 2019. This iPad Air gets A7 64 bit chip under its hood and it was a serious performer back then.
The mini also gets a boost to A7 processor with 1GB RAM and a seriously impressive 326ppi screen resolution, making it on par with its bigger bother the iPad Air. It does gain weight at around 330gms instead of the previous 308gms but still its feather lite even compared to the iPad Air
Next is 2014, the year of infamous Ebola outbreak. Seems like we never learn from our mistakes! And then an entire commercial aircraft along with all its passengers and crew go missing without a trace. Apple releases the iPad Air 2, with even thinner profile at 6.1mm and lighter weight at 437gms. The physical mute switch is given a boot, the processor gets bumped to A8x with 2GB RAM and Apple introduced its first ever laminated display with anti-reflective coating. Apple also adds Touch ID to the iPad Air 2 making it one of the first iPads to have this feature. The back camera also gets boosted to 8MP whilst the font stays the same. Apple also introduces a new gold colour option for the iPad Air 2. See this is the iPad which still supports the iPadOS launched in 2019. So you see, this is a solid iPad with very substantial updates. I couldn’t buy this one as selling the iPad every time just after a year’s usage is making me lose money. So I kept my Air 1.
The iPad Mini 3 was also introduced but it didn’t get the updates which it deserved that year as Apple heavily focused on the Air 2. The Mini 3 gets Touch ID and a new gold colour but that’s it. No other processor or RAM updates.
Next is 2015, the year when Nepal got ravaged by earthquakes and NASA’s spacecrafts does a close flyby of the planet Pluto, the first ever man-made spacecraft to do so! Apple also takes drastic turn and introduces a beast of a device calling it the iPad Pro. It came with a massive 12.9 inch size with 5.6 million pixel variable refresh rate display.. 4GB of RAM, with 64 bit A9X processor and quad speaker setup for that true stereo phonic sound effect. The rear camera is 8MP iSight camera but the front stays same at 1.2MP. It also had smart connector at the side allowing you to dock Apples dedicated keyboard accessory and also introduced a stylus device called Apple Pencil which changed via the lighting port.
The iPad mini 4th gen also gets updated with fully laminated display and A8 processor with 2GB RAM and the rear camera also gets updated to 8MP
Now we are into year 2016, the year when American people voted for Donald Trump to lead their country and the year where Russians shot down a passenger flight leading to the death of all the passengers and crew! Wow every year we humans make sure to mess up in the most ginormous way possible. On the Apple front, they released a 9.7 inch version of the iPad Pro. Same power as it’s bigger 12.9 inch brother but with only 2GB of RAM instead of 4. But the rear camera gets bumped to 12MP with 4K video recording and finally finally Apple pays attention to the front camera and makes it a decent 5MP shooter with 720p HD recording
2017 is the year of #metoo movement and iPad Pro’s. The second gen iPad Pro’s launch with the bigger one staying same at 12.9 inch screen size but the smaller one gets bumped to 10.5 inch instead of the usual 9.7inches. The processor is the A10x fusion chip with 4GB RAM for both the sizes. Both the displays get the excellent 120hz refresh rate and the cameras get updated with rear at 12MP capable of 4K recording and the front at 7MP with full HD recording capability.
The pros start from 650$ so Apple introduces a new base level iPad for 329$. The direct successor to 4th gen iPad but with the form factor of that iPad Air gen 1. With A9 processor, 2GB of RAM and Touch ID but without the laminated display or stereo speakers or the thin profile of the iPad Air 2, this iPad certainly looked tame in front of those powerful pros but getting full blown iPad experience for a 300$ price tag was a sure winner.
The year is 2018, the year of another royal wedding and the year the iPad for the first time since its conception gets a compete redesign. The iPad Pro’s gen 3. Gone are the thick bezels and the home button instead now you have thin profile and Face ID, Apple’s amazing face authentication system which uses depth sensing to recognise your face and unlock the device. Screen still gets the amazing 120hz refresh rate and the internals feature a 7 nano metre ARM based A12X bionic chip. The storage option adds in the whopping terabyte option and the terabyte one getting 6GB of RAM instead of 4GB. The lighting port and 3.5mm headphone jack also gets the boot in favour of single USB type c port. This iPad Pro is really more powerful than many laptops around that time and is an amazing product from Apple. We also get a buttery smooth second gen Apple Pencil which attaches on the side magnetically and also pairs and charges that way.
The low-end iPad also gets an update with A10 processor and support for first gen Apple Pencil.
Then we head over to 2019, the year of Avengers: End Game and the re-launch of my long-lost friend, the iPad Air. Apple brings back the iPad Air bridging the gap in-between the expensive/powerful pros and the cheaper entry level iPad giving us the iPad which makes the most sense to buy and the one which gives perfect value for money.
With a super-fast A12 processor, 3GB of RAM in a very thin profile l, with anti-glare coating & laminated display, 8MP rear and 7MP front cameras, with first gen Apple Pencil support and smart connector for Apple keyboard support, this is really the iPad most of us need and is excellent value for money.
2019 also sees a spec bump to the entry level iPad which gets 3GB of RAM instead of 2GB, the screen size Goes up to 10.2 inches from 9.7 and gets smart connect on side for Apple keyboard support and also gets Apple Pencil Gen 1 support.
The iPad mini on the other hand, in its 5th gen iteration becomes as powerful as the iPad Air. It gets A12 bionic chip with 3GB RAM, the same 7MP/8MP cameras and support for Apple Pencil. It just doesn’t get the smart connector and keyboard support but in every other way it is as powerful as the iPad Air.
And finally we head over to the current year 2020. The year when Apple was supposed to host its March iPad event at the Steve jobs theatre to introduce the new iPad Pros and convince us about why the iPads Pros needed a new camera system and lidar sensor, or tell us how fast the new 8 core A12z chip is going to be but none of that happened and Apple launched the new Pros quietly online due to the biggest mistake of humanity which lead to the outbreak of Covid 19 coronavirus!! This year will be remembered in history along with events like world war 1 or 2, genocides and other darkest points in human history. Unfortunately, we do not see the light at the end of the tunnel yet with cases and deaths rising every day. Sorry guys I couldn’t finish this on a high note, but despite all the mistakes we’ve done, we still show proof that humanity is not lost in us, we prove this in every way right from the healthcare workers who are risking their lives everyday working the front-line to supermarket employees who are making sure that we have enough to eat by risking their own safety. To those pharmacists, teachers, transport workers, all who do not have the privilege to stay home, who are doing their part for others despite the risk!! What more proof of humanity do we need!! We wage wars, draw borders, destroy resources at the same time we come together in the face of danger and stand strong for others! Wish we only did the later and not the former and maybe this pandemic will bring us ever so closer as one untied unbroken powerful human chain! I hope and pray with all my heart that this will be the case.
So, I end this article on a hopeful note guys, let’s do our part and stay home with our beloved Apple or Android gadgets and save lives. Thanks a lot for taking a trip with me though time and the remarkable journey of a wonderful Apple product. Until next time, stay safe, see You in my next time, bye for now.