First Generation iPad Hardware Specs

apple ipad
The Apple iPad. image copyright Apple Inc.

Introduced: Jan. 27, 2010
On sale: April 3, 2010
Discontinued: March 2011

The original iPad was the first tablet computer from Apple. It is a flat, rectangular computer with a large, 9.7-inch touchscreen on its face and a home button at the bottom center of its face.

It came in six models—16GB, 32GB, and 64GB of storage, with or without 3G connectivity (provided in the U.S. by AT&T on the first generation iPad.

Later models were supported by other wireless carriers). All models offer Wi-Fi.

The iPad was the first Apple product to employ the A4, a new processor developed by Apple.

Similarities to the iPhone

The iPad runs a version of the iOS, the same operating system as the iPhone, and as a result can run apps from the App Store. The iPad allows existing apps to upscale their size to fill its entire screen (newer apps can also be written to fit its larger dimensions). Like the iPhone and iPod touch, the iPad's screen offers a multitouch interface that allows users to select items onscreen by tapping them, move them by dragging, and zoom in and out of content by pinching.

iPad Hardware Specs

Processor
Apple A4 at 1 Ghz

Capacity
16GB
32GB
64GB

Screen Size
9.7 inches

Screen Resolution
1024 x 768

Networking
Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
802.11n Wi-Fi
3G cellular

3G Carrier
AT&T

Battery Life
10 hours use
1-month standby

Dimensions
9.56 inches tall x 7.47 inches wide x 0.5 inches thick

Weight
1.5 pounds

iPad Software

The software features of the original iPad were very similar to those offered by the iPhone, with one important exception: iBooks. At the same time it launched the tablet, Apple launched its eBook reading app and eBookstore, iBooks. This was a key move to compete with Amazon, whose Kindle devices were already a substantial success.

Apple's drive to compete with Amazon in the eBooks space eventually led to a series of pricing agreements with publishers, a price-fixing lawsuit from the U.S. Dept. of Justice which it lost, and refunds to customers.

Original iPad Price and Availability

Price

 Wi-FiWi-Fi + 3G
16GBUS$499$629
32GB$599$729
64GB$699$829

Availability
At its introduction, the iPad was only available in the United States. Apple progressively rolled out the availability of the device worldwide, on this schedule:

  • May 28, 2010: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the UK
  • July 23, 2010: Hong Kong, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore
  • September 17, 2010: China

Original iPad Sales

The iPad was a major success, selling 300,000 units on its first day, and ultimately close to 19 million units before its successor, the iPad 2, was introduced. For a fuller accounting of iPad sales, read What Are iPad Sales All Time?

Even six years later (as of this writing), the iPad is far and away the most widely used tablet device in the world, despite competition from the Kindle Fire and some Android tablets.

Critical Reception of the 1st Gen. iPad

The iPad was generally seen as a breakthrough product upon its release. A sampling of reviews of the device finds: 

  • I gave the device 3.5 stars, calling it "a terrific luxury device that takes the first step towards fulfilling Apple’s revolutionary promise."
  • CNet gave it 4 stars out of 5, saying the iPad was "the first affordable tablet computer worth owning."
  • The Wall Street Journal didn't assign a rating, but said that the iPad "has the potential to change portable computing profoundly, and to challenge the primacy of the laptop."
  • The New York Times' review was more mixed, saying it was a good device for consumers, but for techies, "if you’ve already got a laptop and a smartphone, who’s going to carry around a third machine?"

    Later Models

    The success of the iPad was sufficient that Apple announced its successor, the iPad 2, about one year after the original. The company discontinued the original model on March 2, 2011, and released the follow-up on March 11, 2011. The iPad 2 was an even bigger hit, selling around 30 million units before its successor was introduced in 2012.