Before Apple announced the very first iPad, the company was losing its place in the smartphone market. Google’s Android was free and open, and the software ran on practically every other mobile device that wasn’t made by Apple or BlackBerry (Research in Motion, at the time). According to a new book by author Fred Vogelstein, in order to compete with the Android operating system, CEO Steve Jobs made the tech world-altering decision to make an iPad.
Excerpts of Vogelstein’s book, “Dogfight: How Apple and Google Went to War and Started a Revolution,” were recently published on the Wired website. Early on, Jobs had told the Wall Street Journal that it was unlikely his company would enter the tablet market. “It turns out people want keyboards… we look at the tablet and we think it is going to fail,” Jobs said.
Not long after insisting that a tablet would be dead on arrival, Apple released the iPad. Google’s “Android Everywhere” campaign was just the fuel needed to light Job’s fire. He knew he needed to do something to grow the iOS ecosystem and the iPad was his solution.
Vogelstein wrote, “Maybe more people in the world would own Android phones than iPhones. But the people who owned iPhones would also own iPads, iPod Touches, and a slew of other Apple products that all ran the same software, that all connected to the same online store, and that all generated much bigger profits for everyone involved. Only someone with the self-confidence of Jobs would have the guts to set such a high bar.”
In 2010, many critics were calling the iPad a toy or an oversized iPhone. There didn’t seem to be a place for it in the tech world. Within a year, the iPad had captured more than 85 percent of the market share and the success of the tablet had catapulted Apple’s stock prices to record highs. By September of 2012, AAPL stock reached $700 per share.
Although tablets had been in development since at least 1968, Apple managed to make the device stick through a number of simple marketing and design techniques. First of all, the operating system was exactly like the iPhone, so most buyers would already know how to use the tablet right out of the box. Additionally, Apple chose to make the iPad touch screen, something that had not been done so far. Previous tablets required a stylus, or a trackpad and a keyboard.
The end result is that, instead of being thought of as an oversized smartphone, consumers think of the iPad as a thinner, lighter laptop. Today, the iPad is number one selling “ mobile PC” on the market.