How To Launch A Product That Will Make $10 Billion In Its First Year

iPad keynote slide

It’s hard to believe that it’s already been one full year since Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad in San Francisco on Jan. 27, 2010.

It’s even harder to believe that Apple has already sold some 15 million iPads, representing more than $10 billion in revenue.

Jobs’ iPad unveil wasn’t his greatest keynote of all time — that’s when he first introduced the iPhone in 2007. But it improves with age!

For all the scepticism about the iPad, including ours, it’s hard not to be impressed with how right Apple was that there was a market for a third category of device between the iPhone and MacBook.

Steve Jobs takes the stage at the Yerba Buena centre in San Francisco, to much applause. He says: We want to kick off 2010 by introducing a truly magical and revolutionary product today.

But before we get to that, a few updates. 250 millionth iPod sold a few weeks ago. 284 retail stores with 50 million visitors during holiday quarter. 3 billion apps downloaded. (Now 10 billion!)

Starts talking about how Apple is a mobile devices company. Sizes up to competitors: By revenue, Apple is largest mobile devices company in the world; bigger than Sony, Samsung, and Nokia. This was disputed because Apple was including laptop revenue.

But before we get to that, want to go back to 1991, when Apple announced and shipped the first PowerBooks. Jobs talks about how Apple basically invented the laptop.

Now everyone has a smartphone and a laptop. The question is, is there room for something in the middle?

To create a new category of devices, they have to be FAR better than the smartphone and laptop at doing some really important things, like web browsing, email, eBooks, etc.

Here's what it looks like. It's very thin. customise the home screen. Make it anything you want.

Shows off mail, maps, iTunes, etc. And, of course, the iTunes store is built right in. YouTube. TV shows.

Photos. Gorgeous. Flick through, can pinch to zoom in and out of folders.

Steve goes over some hardware specs now. Thinner and lighter than any netbook. Gorgeous display. Apple's first device to use its custom A4 chip.


Apple iPhone OS software boss Scott Forstall comes out to talk about apps. First, he shows off using existing iPhone apps on the iPad, like Facebook. (Which still doesn't have an iPad app.)

The SDK is available today, but Apple invited some early partners. We see demos for games, a New York Times app (which Steve Jobs reportedly wasn't so crazy about), a very cool drawing app, and MLB's At Bat app with live streaming video.

Steve Jobs then shows off the iBooks eBook reader and store, announcing plans to stand on Amazon's shoulders. (So far, the Kindle still seems to be doing pretty well -- especially the Kindle store on the iPad.)

What about doing work on the iPad? Apple's Phil Schiller shows off word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation apps -- which have been top sellers for the iPad.

Now for the practical stuff: Steve is back to talk about the different iPad models, including a 3G iPad, and a great no-contract data plan system from AT&T. (The unlimited plan was only available for two months.) Applause!


Here's the full pricing matrix. This was a huge surprise.

It'll be available in 60 days for wi-fi model, and 90 days for 3G models.

The iPad gospel: If you were to sum it up, is our most advanced technology and a magical & revolutionary device at an unbelievable price.

Big-picture spin: The reason Apple can create products like the iPad is that we've always tried to be at the intersection of technology and liberal arts.

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