Why is the iPad so great? One of the many reasons is, it set the standard for Tablet PCs.

Answering the question “why is the iPad so great” is not an easy task. There is certainly some ingenious work behind the sheer idea, but after considering the matter, it is not an original concept.


Most of the features the original iPad and the second incarnation offer to the customers are not really new. There were devices available offering multitouch screens, there were even tablets available.

When closely looking, even on the Star Trek original series captain Kirk is constantly using a pad device for signing off correspondence, orders and any kind of other stuff that is not explained more closely, also using a digitizer pen for input.

The original Microsoft Tablet PC predates the iPad for almost ten years, but nobody seems to even know this fact.

Most mobile phones, smartphones particularly, including the iPhone, have similar features to the iPad, but that did not stop millions from buying it. It all just has to make you curious, so really, why is the iPad so great? 

The first of many

The original iPad was released in April of 2010 already to frenzied expectations. The Apple PR machinery is capable of creating a buzz like no other public relation agency, as testified by Apple’s revenue. Just to clarify the fact, Microsoft’s products are in over 90% of all world’s computers, yet Apple has the same revenue numbers. Although there are rumors that the iPad development started before the iPhone concept got release ready, which took place in January 2007, the iPad and all tablets in general were made possible by the smartphone developments and evolution that led towards the phones we know and use today, which was the original objection of Steve Jobs that shelved the iPad for a while. Namely the original iPad idea consisted of applications that were more properly applicable within the iPhone environment. It is also no coincidence that all operating systems that are powering tablets – exceptions do exist, like the Windows 7 tablets – are based on operating systems that were developed for smartphones. 

Why is the iPad so great?

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The answer to the question, why is the iPad so great, can be seen once the reasons are evaluated why Windows based tablets, which clearly predate the Apple incarnation, are not great. Windows operating systems are undoubtedly the best, because there are not only apparently endless features and applications available, but there is the versatility and the capability to do all kind of work with it. And right there is the main clue: work. Despite being capable of providing the environment for fun galore, the other side of Windows is that it is designed for work and creative applications first, for fun second, if not third. The iPad the Apple Tablet PC is designed to be fun. Yes, there are some applications that allow you to do some work, but the iPad is fun and only fun and nothing but fun. All applications, gadgets and widgets, even internet integration, are geared towards providing the user with entertainment and fun. You really have to make an effort to do some work with it, it is much easier to simply enjoy the iPad, then to work with it. Hence, iPad is a toy for grown-ups. 

Late to pick up on the difference

It seems that Microsoft is unable to see this major difference, because even now, when developing their own tablet, they do not focus on making a portable Xbox with a killer display and internet access, no they rather look at how they can port the Windows OS to fit the portable platform best, even Microsoft Windows 8 is targeting this goal, which provokes only flashbacks to Windows Me and the disaster formerly known as Vista. Apple does not care about porting the OSX to the iPad. The iPad is meant to be the uber-gadget, the ultimate toy, the platform to watch movies, surf the internet, waste time on social networks, video-chat with someone, read a book or magazine, listen to music, or play a video game. It is much more fun to plant some defense against zombies, than to verify a spreadsheet. It is more fun to use birds to attack some cleverly hidden pigs, than to edit a Word document. Granted, Apple was first to simply not give a damn and release a toy to the unsuspecting world, which would induce an avalanche of similarly minded tablet devices to overflow the world and eventually render the netbooks obsolete. 

Design & Quality

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It was not widely known that the name of the iPad is actually a homage to the PADD devices that were used in the Star Trek universes. The fictional “Library Computer Access/Retrieval System”, or LCARS for short, was the actual origin of the iPad idea. The colored Plexiglas that was used there was abandoned and the backlit LED with multitouch capacity was added, encased in aluminum that looked much better than polymer plastics. The final design was actually an enlarged iPhone. It is still one of the lightest and thinnest tablets on the market. By implementing the same OS architecture, immediate compatibility was given with thousands of apps that were available at release date, mainly for the iPhone platform. During the almost two years the iPad and the follow up iPad 2 have dominated the market, the applications for the new platform have multiplied into several hundred thousand; according to official numbers almost half a million, ranging from games to video editing applications, apparently without perceivable limitations to genre or form. 

The end of the world as we know it

The iPad 3 is in the late development phase, several improvements are rumored to be implemented, a better camera with Carl Zeiss optics – very likely made by Sony – thinner encasing, retina display is also being talked about, faster processor, bigger RAM, better display with an even higher resolution and whatnot. The reason why people are more likely to pick the iPad than any other tablet device, despite the fact that theSamsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, the Motorola Tablet PC Xoom, the Lenovo Tablet PC line, the Asus Tablet PC the Transformer Pad and some others are incredibly good and in some instances way better in performance, display quality and camera quality, not to mention the RAM and the NVIDIA® Tegra™ 2 processor, is simple. Apple was first and everybody else is copying a good idea. Not to mention that the geek factor, cool factor and the Apple debonair status add to the charm of owning an Apple device. As the bottom line, the question “why is the iPad so great” is actually answered pretty easily: because it is the ultimate gadget, a toy everybody wants to have, a status symbol that discriminates nobody, a fun packed bundle that does not require books or manuals to be used. Just like there are many dolls, but there is only one “Barbie”, there are many tablets, but there is only one “iPad”.