Birth of the iPad: Jobs wanted to read email on the toilet

When Steve Jobs was alive and with Apple, he was not only the face of the company but also a major force in the development of new products. Thus, it comes as no surprise that he played a starring role in the birth of the iPad. However, you might be surprised at the reason why Jobs wanted to develop a tablet in the first place.

birth of ipad

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The official story

The New York Times published an oral history on the tech inventions of the last 10 years. For the story, reporters spoke with tech columnist Walt Mossberg and Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller about the birth of the iPad.

Schiller said the birth of the iPad came about when Jobs wanted a computing device with a price tag of less than $500. In order to do that, he said they would have to “aggressively” remove components from a computer. The company got rid of the folding design and the keyboard, switching them out for the multi-touch technology that initially debuted on the first iPhone.

Apple took a break from working on the iPad to release the iPhone but went back to it after the first iPhone was launched. The company then took what it could from the iPhone and incorporated it into the iPad.

Birth of the iPad: reading emails on the toilet

That may or may not be the entire story, however. Of course, no marketing person will share a story that involves sitting on the toilet, but supposedly, that’s exactly why the iPad was born.

Former Apple designer Imran Chaudhri tweeted that the real story behind the birth of the iPad is that Jobs wanted “a single piece of glass I can use to read email on the toilet:

In the very early stages of the iPad’s development, attention turned toward the idea of a smartphone first, and the iPhone was born. However, after the iPhone’s release in 2007, attention returned to the idea of a tablet, and the iPad was released in 2010.

We have no way of knowing if what Chaudhri says is true, but those of you who have a habit of using your iPhone or iPad on the toilet know who you are. It’s possible that you think like Steve Jobs.

About the Author

Michelle Jones
Michelle Jones was a television news producer for eight years. She produced the morning news programs for the NBC affiliates in Evansville, Indiana and Huntsville, Alabama and spent a short time at the CBS affiliate in Huntsville. She has experience as a writer and public relations expert for a wide variety of businesses. Michelle has been with ValueWalk since 2012 and is now our editor-in-chief. Email her at