Wired’s 10 Most Significant Gadgets of 2010: iPad First, iPhone 4 Sixth

Wired recently released its 10 Most Significant Gadgets of 2010 list, and both iPad and iPhone 4 fared well, as the iPad ranked first, while the iPhone 4 ranked sixth. 2010 was a great year for both iPad and iPhone 4, as lists of the top gadgets of 2010 that don’t include the devices are really hard to find. According to Wired, despite its “silly name”, the iPad stole the show last year, as there’s no getting around the fact that the iPad has completely and successfully redefined what a tablet computer could be.
Thanks to Apple’s iPad, 2010 was the year of the tablet. The 9.7-inch touchscreen wonder created a brand-new product category that made digital content more attractive than ever. The iPad checked off all the boxes where previous tablet computers completely missed the mark. Unlike its stylus-driven predecessors, the iPad offers a finger-friendly interface that people of all ages can learn in a few seconds, requiring zero antivirus software and barely any maintenance (apps update themselves with the tap of a button). In other words, it was the first true tablet — not just a PC with a touchscreen skin. The market reacted strongly. Publishers lined up to reinvent their magazines and newspapers for the shiny device, programmers embraced another new digital frontier to make innovative apps and games, and several competing manufacturers announced plans to whip up tablets of their own. More controversially, the iPad extended Apple’s dominion over its phenomenal media distribution channel, the App Store, for better and for worse. The tablet’s beautiful 9.7-inch screen opens new possibilities for content creators to make money by selling apps through the App Store, but every so often Apple cracks the whip, demanding programmers to follow the company’s vaguely stated but stringently applied rules. In short, the iPad unlocked an exciting opportunity for digital innovation, while also posing an alarming threat to creative freedom. Nonetheless, the early numbers suggest customers are thrilled. Apple sold 4.2 million iPads during the tablet’s first quarter of existence, claiming the title of fastest-adopted gadget in history.
As for the iPhone 4, the new phone is simply a “killer upgrade.”
Tainted by early reports of a faulty antenna, Apple’s latest iPhone was perhaps the most controversial product of the year, but nonetheless a resounding crowd pleaser. Reviewers sang praise for the device’s gorgeous “retina” display, which makes reading from a digital screen as pleasing as a glossy magazine page. Add to that a front-facing camera for video chat, a fast A4 processor and iOS 4, which enables multitasking, and the iPhone 4 is a killer upgrade. Its debut was made more dramatic than usual by the accidental loss — and subsequent publication on Gizmodo — of a late prototype, several weeks before the phone’s official launch. The consumer electronics industry is notoriously tight-lipped about its upcoming products, and no company exerts tighter control of its messaging than Apple. Gizmodo’s scoop was a rare exception to the rule. Despite the leak, and despite claims about a “death grip” causing the phone to drop calls, the iPhone 4 was Apple’s hottest iPhone yet, selling 14 million units in just one quarter.
Besides iPhone 4 and iPad, a handful of non iOS mobile devices ended up on the list as well, such as the Windows Phone 7-powered Samsung Focus, as well as the Android-powered Samsung Galaxy Tab. Wired’s 10 Most Significant Gadgets of 2010: 1. Apple iPad 2. Berkeley Bionics eLEGS 3. Microsoft Kinect 4. Windows Phone 7 on Samsung Focus 5. Sprint Evo 4G 6. Apple iPhone 4 7. MacBook Air 8. Samsung Galaxy Tab 9. Canon S95 10. Kindle 3