The iPad was a futuristic gadget when it debuted in April 2010, but the apps it presented offered a rather nostalgic revival of traditional media. Photos, graphics, magazines, and books optimized for its high-res screen featured a print-era visual polish that had been sorely missing from ad-crammed web pages and monochrome ebook readers.
One of the early hits was Flipboard, a graphical embodiment of social media that launched in July 2010. It turned Twitter and Facebook feeds into an online magazine by displaying the photos, articles, or other pages that people linked to. Previews of articles were laid out like items on a newspaper page; and flicking up on the screen triggered a visual effect that looked like flipping pages. Flipboard was among the top 10 iPad apps in its early days, according to rankings by AppAnnie. “It seemed to be a perfectly timed creature of the iPad age, of the tablet age,” says digital advertising consultant Ken Doctor, author of the book Newsonomics: Twelve New Trends That Will Shape the News You Get.