Everything You Need to Know About the First Generation iPad

Answers to all of your questions about the first iPad

1st Gen. Apple iPad

Apple Inc.

The first-generation Apple iPad first debuted in April 2010. Since its release, Apple has continuously improved upon the product releasing numerous new versions and iPad models. Whether you bought one when it first came out, or you're just curious about how it all started, here are some of the key details about the 1st-Generation iPad.

First Generation iPad Hardware Specs

The iPad has gained a variety of features over the years, but some things have remained constant. For example, they come with several storage options. Here are the specs for the original iPad:

  • The Operating System: The first iPad ran a modified version of the iPhone OS (in this case, version 3.2). It added things like contextual menus that weren't available on the iPhone or iPod Touch at the time. Later, the iPad started running iOS, the same as an iPhone. Eventually, however, Apple's tablet got its own operating system: iPadOS.
  • Storage: 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB.
  • Dimensions and Weight: The first iPad weighed in at 1.5 pounds (1.6 pounds in the 3G version) and was 9.56 inches tall x 7.47 wide x 0.5 thick. The screen was 9.7 inches.
  • Screen Resolution: 1024 x 768 pixels.

Orignal iPad OS and Apps

1stgen-ipad.jpg
The 1st Generation iPad seemed quite thin when it was first released, but the original iPad won't exactly hide behind a pencil. Apple, Inc.

While there were virtually no native iPad apps at the time it was released (other than those that came pre-installed on it), the first-gen iPad was compatible with nearly all existing iPhone apps at the time. Those iPhone apps were able to run in two modes: in a window about the size of an iPhone screen or scaled-up to fullscreen mode. Fullscreen took advantage of the iPad's larger screen, but because the apps' graphics were generally designed for the smaller iPhone screen, images often looked jagged or blurry.

Native iPad apps soon started being released and apps no longer run in two modes: all iPad apps are now fullscreen. There are now over 1 million native iPad apps available.

Downloading apps to the original iPad was just as easy as it is today but proved more difficult with each iOS update. Apple officially stopped supporting the 1st Generation iPad with the iOS 6 update, but you still have ways to download apps to the first-gen iPad.

The Wireless Features of Wi-Fi and 3G

The original iPad debuted as a Wi-Fi-only device. Shortly after the initial launch, though, Apple debuted a Wi-Fi/3G model that offered offer full Assisted GPS (A-GPS) like the iPhone 3GS offered at the time (and all subsequent iPhones and cellular iPads have offered). Like the original iPhone model, which did not include GPS, the Wi-Fi-only iPad used Wi-Fi triangulation for its location services.

Also, like the original iPhone, AT&T was the only phone company that provided 3G service to the original iPad at launch. (Verizon offered service through its Mi-Fi plans, but iPads could not connect directly to Verizon until later models were released). 

Apple marketed the device as unlocked, but the first generation iPad didn't work with Sprint, T-Mobile, or Verizon in the U.S. due to differences in the networks and the chips used in the iPad.

Using the First Generation iPad Then and Today

Syncing the first generation iPad was pretty easy and very similar to syncing an iPhone. Setting up a new iPad, however, has since changed with each subsequent version of the iOS.

While the original iPad is out of date for most users, there are still some great ways to use an old first-generation iPad.

That said, given the tremendous improvements in iPad hardware that have been made over the years, and since the 1st gen iPad is 6 versions of the operating system out of date, it's well past time to upgrade to a new model.