The iPad is a line of tablet computers designed, developed and marketed by Apple Inc., primarily as a platform for audio-visual media including books, periodicals, movies, music, games, and web content. The iPad was introduced on January 27, 2010 by Apple's then-CEO Steve Jobs. Its size and weight fall between those of contemporary smartphones and laptop computers. The iPad runs the same operating system as the iPod Touch and iPhone—and can run its own applications as well as iPhone applications. Without modification, the iPad will only run programs approved by Apple and distributed via the Apple App Store (with the exception of programs that run inside the iPad's web browser).
Like iPhone and iPod Touch, the iPad is controlled by a multitouch display—a departure from most previous tablet computers, which used a pressure-triggered stylus—as well as a virtual onscreen keyboard in lieu of a physical keyboard. The iPad uses a Wi-Fi connection to access local area networks and the Internet. Some models also have a 3G wireless network interface which can connect to HSPA or EV-DO data networks and on to the Internet. Since the release of iOS 5, the device does not need to be managed and synced by iTunes running on a personal computer via USB cable.
Apple released the first iPad in April 2010, and sold 3 million of the devices in 80 days. During 2010, Apple sold 14.8 million iPads worldwide, representing 75 percent of tablet PC sales at the end of 2010.
By the release of the iPad 2 in March 2011, more than 15 million iPads had been sold—selling more than all other tablet PCs combined since the iPad's release. In 2011, it is expected to take 83 percent of the tablet computing market share in the United States.
Apple's first tablet computer was the Newton MessagePad 100, introduced in 1993, which led to the creation of the ARM6 processor core with Acorn Computers. Apple also developed a prototype PowerBook Duo-based tablet, the PenLite, but decided not to sell it in order to avoid hurting MessagePad sales. Apple released several more Newton-based PDAs; the final one, the MessagePad 2100, was discontinued in 1998.
Apple re-entered the mobile-computing markets in 2007 with the iPhone. Smaller than the iPad but featuring a camera and mobile phone, it pioneered the multitouch finger-sensitive touchscreen interface of Apple's iOS mobile operating system. By late 2009, the iPad's release had been rumored for several years. Such speculation mostly talked about "Apple's tablet"; specific names included iTablet and iSlate. The actual name is reportedly an homage to the Star Trek PADD, a fictional device very similar in appearance to the iPad. The iPad was announced on January 27, 2010, by Steve Jobs at an Apple press conference at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco.
Jobs later said that Apple began developing the iPad before the iPhone, but temporarily shelved the effort upon realizing that its ideas would work just as well in a mobile phone. The iPad's internal codename was K48, which was revealed in the court case surrounding leaking of iPad information before launch.