Friday, April 2, 2010

iPad for Seniors

Apple's latest gadget, the iPad, will be released tomorrow. I don't really care, since I won't be buying one. However, I've been trying to get my grandparents to get a computer for the past few years...and I wonder if the iPad might do the trick. One of the big criticisms of the iPad is its simplicity -- no multitasking, Flash, web camera, HDMI, etc. For people who haven't owned a computer in the last 15-20 years, these items only add complexity to an already intimidating device. The touch screen is nice, too, so they don't have to plug in a keyboard, mouse, and monitor to a CPU. Wi-fi and 3G capabilities make it easier for newbies to get on the web.

When the Nintendo Wii came out a few years ago, I was surprised to discover that nursing homes were buying them to help the residents engage in low-impact fitness. The thought of a bunch of 80-year olds playing video games still makes me chuckle. I wonder if the iPad will fulfill a similar function for older folks who have wanted to delve into the world of computers, but lacked the gumption to try. Like all Apple products, it appears to be quite intuitive, which will help newcomers learn the new language of digital technology.

I'm curious to know what you think. Is the iPad the best entry-level "computer" on the market? If it's not, how come...and which device is better?

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