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. Its size and weight falls 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 wireless local area network (“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. The device is 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.