TIME Magazine’s Best Gadgets of the Decade: iPad, Apple Watch, and AirPods

Three Apple products have been named to TIME Magazine’s most important gadgets of the decade.

Patrick Lucas Austin for TIME Magazine:

Making a list of the decade’s most important and influential gadgets is, in a word, illuminating — and that’s before you factor in all the LEDs. Over the last 10 years, thousands of products have been released, and while some are definitely “cooler” than others, their impact on the past decade, and the decade to come, is by no means identical… Here are TIME’s picks for the most important gadgets of the decade.

Apple iPad (2010)

Before the iPad’s introduction in 2010, the idea of a “tablet computer” was mostly relegated to slick science fiction movies and unwieldy laptop-adjacent monstrosities running terrible software. Apple’s iPad — like the iPhone before it — resulted in a cultural shift for personal computing, and set the tone for the next decade of portable devices. Its impressive multitouch display, complete abandonment of physical keys, and gargantuan selection of software and media created a perfect storm of entertainment that everyone could get on board with. And while competitors have had ample time to make laptops or detachable two-in-one computers to attack the iPad’s biggest pain points, Apple has continuously advanced the platform’s iPadOS and hardware (Apple Pencil, anyone?), making any nerd optimistic about the next decade of tablet computing.

Apple Watch (2015)

While many have tried, no one has been able to match the polish and performance of the Apple Watch, which set the standard for what a smartwatch could do. Since its introduction in 2015, it’s gone from a device for early adopters and fashion-deficient nerds to a mainstream accessory, thanks to its smart software and ever-improving hardware. And as the Apple Watch expands its health-oriented features, it could become the easiest way to keep your health on track and your day on schedule.

Apple AirPods (2016)

Like the iconic iPod before it, Apple’s AirPods have captured the hearts, minds and ears of music lovers looking to jam to some tunes. First released in 2016, AirPods quickly became an icon in their own right, both for their aesthetic appeal as well as their larger cultural impact. But widespread adoption hasn’t come without criticism. Its controversial manufacturing methods make disposal and recycling difficult, and could alter how we think about the future of our gadgets once we’re done with them. AirPods even carry social significance thanks to the glut classist jokes and memes spread across social media, transforming them into earbuds that double as a not-so-subtle status indicator. However, their cutting-edge hardware and software evolved further in this year’s AirPods Pro, and helped cement them as the gold standard of truly wireless audio for music fans.

MacDailyNews Take: Now, which one of this group of three would you choose as the “best” of the decade:


  1. Right now you’d have to say the iPad because of all it enables and improves, but, each of these devices is progressively more personal and compact, and they’re all on unfinished journeys, with the iPad the most mature at this point, and so iterating slightly less dramatically recently.

    So five years from now as more and more capabilities can be further refined and miniaturized, it could be the wrist-worn watch, and five or ten after that, the AirPods and their other sense and will-enhancing follow-ons.

    What a record….

    PS: Once again it’s revealed that while Apple is quite capable of invention (and spotting good inventions to scoop up more lately), it’s true genius is in evolving, refining, and personalizing technology to better interface with humans and their aspirations.

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