AS A DEVICE, THE IPAD'S VULNERABLE, BUT AS A PLATFORM, IT'S ALMOST UNASSAILABLE
In spite of its brief history, the iPad has already played host to a number of standout apps that have raised expectations for all mobile devices. The Paper app from FiftyThreeis still the prettiest sketchbook out there, Flipboard got its start on the iPad, and the iOS-exclusive Infinity Blade continues to set new standards for graphics quality in mobile games. Apps like Traktor DJ and Auxy are also turning the iPad into a legitimate music-making instrument. And now Microsoft is delivering its best mobile Office experience on Apple’s devices.
This is to be expected. Outside of the iPad, there’s very little evidence that making tablets is a profitable or even viable business. Back in 2010, the hastily assembled HP Slate preempted the original iPad announcement by a few weeks, but flopped terribly. A year later, the BlackBerry PlayBook, the Motorola Xoom, and the webOS-powered HP TouchPad again proved that making a commercially viable large-screen tablet was hard. Meanwhile, the iPad was selling about as fast as Apple could make it, surpassing 3 million sales per month by the middle of 2011.
THE IPAD'S GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT HAS BEEN SIMPLY TO CONVINCE PEOPLE TO USE IT
The iPad’s debut was greeted with skepticism, derision about it merely reiterating the iPhone at a larger size, and a roll of the eyes for its "magical and revolutionary" tagline. Four years on, it has earned a level of ubiquity and name recognition approaching the likes of Xerox and Kleenex, with NFL commentators describing Microsoft’s Surface Pro tablets as "iPad-like tools" and CNN talking heads using Surfaces as iPad kickstands.
Perhaps a big iPhone wasn’t such a bad idea after all.