After 10 years, can we finally call the iPad a computer?

Steve Jobs with the original iPad
Image via Digital Trends

10 years ago on this day, the post pc era began. At least according to Steve Jobs it did. 10 years ago, Steve Jobs sauntered onto a San Francisco stage to announce possibly the most anticipated product in his company’s history: the iPad. To Jobs, the iPad was more than just a tablet, it was the final nail in the PC’s coffin and the first glimpse at the future of computing. But 10 years after its unveil, many are still hesitant to call the iPad a computer. This has nothing to do with the iPads functionality today, and everything to do with the iPads functionality 10 years ago. When the iPad first came out, it seemed to be focused on content consumption. Its reveal keynote highlighted its potential as an e reader, or its video streaming prowess, rather than paying attention to applications in writing, business environments or content creation, all fields that were dominated by the PC. While its obvious why the iPad was so centered around content consumption, with the tempting ease of advertising the device as a portable tv or a slate that lets you carry the Library of Alexandria in your backpack, these weren’t the features people were looking for out of a tablet, they wanted Word, Photoshop, GarageBand, and other apps previously exclusive to PCs and Macs. This association between the iPad and content consumption is still strong in the minds of many today, and is the key reason why so many people have such a difficult time seeing the iPad as a computer in the same way they see their laptop or desktop as one, where in reality the iPads of today are entirely different beasts than the first ten years ago. Modern iPads check all the boxes of a computer, they have physical keyboards, file managers, productivity and content creation applications, large screens, and other features key to a computer replacement, so yes, the iPad can be called a computer, and it should be, but that doesn’t mean that everyone will.

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