Published On: Sep 07 2012 10:43:30 AM CDTUpdated On: Jan 27 2016 01:00:00 AM CST
With Wednesday marking the sixth anniversary of the unveiling of the original iPad, take a look back at the surprisingly long history of the tablet computer.
Announced at a "Hey Siri" press event on Sept. 9, 2015, the iPad Pro went on sale on Nov. 11, 2015. Starting at $799 and aimed at business users, it is 12.9 inches, features a screen with 5.6 million pixels -- more than a 15-inch MacBook Pro with a Retina display -- and is 1.8 times faster than the previous iPad's CPU. It also boasts a 10-hour battery life, super-thin design and weighs just 1.5 pounds.
iPad Mini 4
Also announced at the same "Hey Siri" press event in September 2015 that featured the debut of the iPad Pro was the iPad Mini 4 (left), which replaced the iPad Mini 3. Also seen here is the iPad Air 2 and the iPad Pro for comparison sake. The iPad Mini 4 was the first Apple device to ship with iOS 9 pre-installed and also was the first major redesign of the iPad Mini line, featuring a slightly taller and wider body. It also is much thinner than previous iPad Minis, matching the iPad Air 2's 6.1 millimeter thickness.
iPad Air 2
Released in October 2014, the iPad Air 2 comes with a TouchID fingerprint sensor and is just 6.1 millimeters thick -- 18 percent smaller than the previous iPad Air. Also introduced at the same time was the since discontinued iPad Mini 3.
Released October 2013, the fifth generation of Apple's market-leading tablet weighs just 1 pound and is fractions of an inch thinner and narrower. It also has the same A7 processing chip in the iPhone 5S, making it 72 times faster than the original iPad.
Kindle Fire HDX
Released in the fall of 2013, the third generation of Amazon's Kindle Fire line comes in two models, a 7 inch and a 8.9 inch. A second generation of the Fire HDX 8.9-inch model featuring a faster processor and a more powerful graphics processing unit was released in September 2014. At at that same time, the name "Kindle" was removed from all of the Fire tablets' names.
Originally released in November 2012, the iPad Mini was replaced by the iPad Mini 2 in November 2013. The mini, which is now in its fourth generation, features a 7.9-inch screen, which is one-third smaller overall than than its 10-inch cousin, and weighs less than a pound.
This Amazon tablet was first released in October 2012. Back-lit and boasting a higher resolution than the company's previous e-readers, it's thinner than a magazine at 9.1 millimeters and weighs 7.5 ounces. The device also has a long-lasting battery, with Amazon saying the device can stay on for up to eight weeks even if its back light is powered on. The Paperwhite is now in its third generation, with the most recent model being released in June 2015 and featuring twice the pixels of the original Paperwhite.
Kindle Fire HD
The HD version of the original Kindle Fire, released in the fall of 2012, has dual stereo speakers and Dolby Digital Plus, the first tablet to ever have it. It was also 40 percent faster and had a longer battery life than original Kindle Fire and was offered in two different sizes at an introductory price of $199 and $299.
Released in July 2012, the Nexus 7 was designed and developed by Google in conjunction with Asus. It is the first tablet in the Google Nexus series, which previously had consisted only of smartphones.
Released March 2012. Developed by Apple, the third-generation iPad added a Retina display, the new Apple A5X chip with a quad-core graphics processor, a 5 megapixel camera, HD 1080p video recording, voice dictation and 4G.
With the release of its first real tablet in November 2011, Amazon targeted the lower price segment of consumers while also trying to create a device focused on media consumption. The original Kindle Fire featured a 7-inch display and combined the functions of Amazon's Kindle e-readers with streaming video and music. It also offered apps, WiFi and Internet, all run on a customized version of Google's Android operating system. The price, $199 as compared to the then $499 starting price of the Apple iPad, was designed to get the device into consumers' hands on the cheap so that Amazon could then sell digital goods and services.
Released March 2011. The iPad 2 has a battery that lasts up to 10 hours, a dual core Apple A5 processor and VGA front-facing and 720p rear-facing cameras designed for FaceTime video calling.
Released April 2010. The original iPad was designed by Apple primarily as a platform for audio-visual media. Its size and weight fell between those of contemporary smartphones and laptop computers. During the first 80 days, three million iPads were sold. It was discontinued in March 2011 with the announcement of the second-generation iPad.
Released April 2011. PlayBook is the first device to run BlackBerry Tablet OS, based on QNX Neutrino, and runs apps developed using Adobe AIR. It features a 7-inch display and 3D graphics acceleration.
Released September 2011. Sony eventually made two versions of its tablet (Tablet S and Tablet P). Both run on Google's operating system Android 3.1 Honeycomb. They feature touchscreens, two cameras (a rear-facing 5 MP, a front-facing 0.3 MP), infrared sensor and Wi-Fi.
Released November 2011. The original Barnes & Nobel Nook e-reader was released in November 2009, but the newer tablet - which ran on the Android platform and came with either 16 or 8 gigabytes of internal storage - became available two years later.
Released February 2011. This is an is an Android-based tablet developed by Motorola. It supports up to 720p video playback, features a 2 MP front-facing camera for video chatting over Wi-Fi or cellular Internet and a rear-facing 5 MP camera that records 720p video. It has a larger, 10.1-inch display and 3D graphics acceleration as well.
Samsung Galaxy Tab
Released November 2010, the Galaxy Tab was the first Android-powered tablet to be released. This tablet has a 7-inch TFT-LCD touchscreen, Wi-Fi capability, a 1.0 GHz ARM Cortex-A8 Samsung Exynos 3110 processor, a 3.2 MP rear-facing camera and a 1.3 MP front-facing camera for video calls.
Released 2007. While Amazon's first model wasn't nearly what tablets are now, it proved beyond doubt that the time was right for ebooks and e-readers to make their move.
Released in 2003. This hybrid tablet PC was designed by Compaq, before the time of the modern-day tablet. It used the Transmeta Crusoe processor and had a detachable 10.4-inch touchscreen.
Microsoft Tablet PC
Released in 2000. Bill Gates and Microsoft achieved industry accolades for his early vision of the tablet, seen here in prototype form, but the execution was not so great and this tablet was not regarded as a success.
Apple Newton MessagePad
Released in 1993. John Sculley, the CEO of Apple in the early '90s, coined the phrase Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) to describe the Newton MessagePad. The handheld device appeared less than a year later, featuring an ARM 610 processor ambling along at 20MHz, 640K of RAM and a 336 x 240 display. This device helped mark the beginning of the PDA era.
Released in 1992. This PDA is an important part of the tablet story, but it was a struggle to get people to buy this touchscreen device in the early '90s.
Released in 1989. Built by the GRiD Systems Corporation, this early tablet PC ran MS-DOS, supported stylus input on a 10-inch monochrome screen and had enough juice for about three hours of battery life. Critics regarded it as a creative breakthrough in laptop computer design, but the price prevented the device from being widely consumed. At $2,370 each, the GRIDpad was followed by similarly overpriced and underpowered rivals, which included the Momenta Pentop (1991), the Compaq Concerto (1992) and the AT&T EO PC (1993).
To read more about the history of the tablet, go to Techradar.com.