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January 27, 2010: Apple announces the iPad

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iPad is three. It was January 27, 2010, when CEO Steve Jobs took the stage to show the world what the company had been cooking up in the lab. Our staff roundup and anniversary post from last year include many of the highlights, but in the past 12 months Apple's tablet has continued to set records and transform the consumer electronics and PC markets.

Since last January 27, the iPad has flown off the shelves -- about 66 million units sold in 2012, with the 100 millionth unit since April 2010 sold in October of last year. October also saw the introduction of a fourth-generation iPad with Retina display, taking some owners of the third-gen model (only seven months in the market at that point) by unpleasant surprise. A more pleasant surprise was the iPad's little brother, the iPad mini, proving popular with all kinds of customers.

iPad was a long, long time coming. Vigorously anticipated as the "Apple Tablet" for years before it was realized, and the subject of countless rumors and predictions, Apple's iPad introduction finally brought coherence to the mess of will-they-won't-they speculation. (One TUAW contributor took a brave position on the device's naming: "Let me say this clearly: Apple would never name the tablet the 'iPad'. It's too similar to 'iPod'. So, everyone, please stop calling it the iPad.") Even thought many fans bemoaned the fact that the new tablet would not run the desktop version of OS X, it's hard to argue with the success of the iOS approach. (To be determined: whether Windows 8's "no compromises" unification of PC and tablet OS catches on with buyers.)

Happy birthday, iPad, and here's to a wonderful 2013.

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