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Ten years in, the iPad is still capable of surprising us—and Apple

More than most companies, Apple has often seemed reluctant to wax too nostalgic about its past—as if looking back was a hindrance to the more important matter of building the next great thing. But it does sometimes acknowledge milestones as it talks up what’s new. And so CEO Tim Cook prefaced the unveiling of two new iPads at Apple’s virtual product launch event last week with a mention that the iPad turns 10 this year.

These latest models—the eighth-generation iPad and an all-new iPad Air—join the new iPad Pros and Magic Keyboard announced in March, making 2020 an especially eventful time for the iPad. Unofficially, Apple VP of Product Marketing Bob Borchers told me, he sees the tenth-anniverary celebration as having kicked off last year with the release of iPadOS 13, the first version rebranded from iOS to emphasize the importance of its focus on iPad features. “Not to be overly sentimental, but this is a big year,” he says.

Another iPad anniversary passed earlier this month without fanfare: It’s been five years since the announcement of the first iPad Pro. But that introduction didn’t  just mark the iPad’s advance into higher-end territory. To a degree that would have been tough to predict at the time, it charted the future for every iPad model. In the years since, the features that once defined the Pro—bigger screens, more computational muscle, keyboard cases, and the Pencil stylus—have spread through the line from the entry-level model on up.

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