Re: Not sure
"There is something that was done right about the iPads, but I am not sure that anybody knows what it really was"
Oh this is easy - getting vast amounts of media coverage, even before it was announced, let alone released. (The point being, since this came before, it was a causitive factor, rather than an effect.)
That and getting lots of distribution in shops. I mean, it's hardly surprising that people didn't buy Android tablets (which actually were released earlier) when no one knew about them, or hardly any shops sold them. The first Android tablets to get significant sales were the ones from companies that got media attention in the media (Amazon, Google).
Indeed, as you say yourself - "it made people aware of the alternatives" - Apple's litigation made things worse. Any publicity for both Apple and alternatives is bad for Apple, because previously the media only gave attention to Apple.
Now that attention and distribution of Android tablets is finally improved, IOS's tablet share has collapsed. Also remember that although Apple's share may have been higher, sales as a whole were far lower. The original ipad wasn't the revolution that the media claimed it would be - it was 6 months before I even saw someone with one.