Saturday, April 9, 2011

Wonders Never Cease: My Mother Is Getting An iPad

Wonders never cease. My mother is getting an iPad. The dear woman blissfully bypassed the PC era and has never used a personal computer. This isn't to say she doesn't have one. There has been a designated Mac in the house for use by grandchildren and my mother's wayward adult children who are challenged to spend more than a day in an Internet free zone on trips home. 
To provide Internet access in the post dial-up era I labored one summer day to extend an Airport network from my sister's house on an adjacent property to and through my mother's house via of relay stations. Still, my mother until now has never used the Internet and the closest she has come to using a Mac is dusting the dust cover on the keyboard. 
That's all about to change. It's not that the woman is information starved in any way. She has an amazing capacity for news and information consumption from traditional sources such as books, magazines and TV. Thanks to satellite TV if my hectic workday keeps me from reading the headlines a quick call to my mother during my evening commute will usually provide an earful of the day's top stories filtered through her unique editorial outlook. For years she has supported and endorsed the use of Apple devices in the educational lives of her grandchildren, but she has never once touched a keyboard.
When the Apple iPad was released last April my sister and I thought this was a natural device for my mother's interest in news and information. Perhaps it was my nephew's enthusiasm for the profusion of apps available, but showcasing Angry Birds and similar digital wares wasn't an enticement. For all my mother has experienced and endured in life, spending time engaged in aerial assaults of digital pigs isn't among her desired hobbies. But recently she has come to realize as a news and book reader the Apple iPad is beyond compare. The home screen and icons that will deliver the tailored content she desires makes sense for a no-nonsense consumer. The abundance of easy-to-use news apps and the iBookstore are a winner.
The Apple iPad is an engaging device. Piercing a demographic of older consumers who view the physical keyboard as a step back and not a step forward is an example of how Apple's tablet product transcends the PC and is ushering in a new era of more intuitive and useful digital devices. 

Robert Paul Leitao


  1. If you truly a good son, you wouldn't have bother with the repeater stations. It would force your mother to spend more time with her daughter :-)

  2. Last Christmas when my mother visited us I installed RealSolitaire on my iPad so she could get a sense of what a tablet is. She used the game a little while but discovered Safari and Mail all by herself. I had to give her my iPad (I bought another one) to bring back home. She was never really at ease with a mouse, but she has no problem using her fingers. She's 92.

  3. I think you have hit the nail on the head so to speak Robert. I read the version of this piece that's in ATPM and you're right it opens up computing to a new demographic.

    I think it would likely be even more widely adopted in some demographics if it did not need to link to a computer periodically. Perhaps Apple will designate part of their new data farm as a sort of "digital filing station" allowing one's content to be stored in the cloud. The iPad and future devices could link to that without a computer