iHeart iPad

April 19, 2010 at 10:50 pm (Uncategorized)

Techies who already own and operate multiple toys may find the iPad redundant.  Creative folks might find it limiting.  People who love Flash video are enraged.  Communists say it’s another useless gadget to perpetuate a consumerist society.  If you are any of these people, Steve Jobs didn’t make the iPad for you.

He made it for my mother.

My mother, a highly skilled manual laborer, has often felt the negative aspects of the digital divide.  In the early 90s, the desk-jobless of America didn’t really care that they couldn’t type when computers were mostly for running boring programs like WordPerfect.  In fact, my mother boasted about how her livelihood didn’t involve staring at a screen all day.  However, in the last ten years she has been aching to be part of the fun side. 

So I tried to teach her, but our slow laptop was more frustrating than fun.

If you taught your parents or grandparents how to use the internets you might understand why “double-click” is the most annoying invention of the latter half of the 20th century.  And while it was mandatory for me to take keyboarding class in 9th grade (today’s nine-year olds type better than I did in high school), my parent’s never actually learned how to type. 

Enter iPad.

The iPad is revolutionary not because it does things unheard of in other yuppie gadgets, it’s revolutionary because it opened up a whole new world for my mother.  I personally have seen how much easier it is for her to surf the internet, write basic emails, watch videos, listen to the radio, buy books and music, get recipes, play soduku, get directions, and a host of other things. 

The ability to easily enlarge font on books and websites is a sight for older eyes.  Not knowing how to type can actually be a benefit for the touch-screen.  While I found it a little frustrating and awkward to type fast and without errors on the iPad, my mother was cranking out reply emails faster than she used to dictate them to my dad.  On the iPad you have to look down at the keyboard, but amateur two-finger typers need to do that on a desktop anyway. She will master touch-screen typing in no time.  It’s perfect for reading the great American novel on the go, not for writing it. 

Perhaps Apple thought that marketing the iPad for non-technically savvy, aging Baby Boomers was only going to inspire Depends jokes on top of the abundant female hygiene taunts.  But, if you know anyone who suffers from the digital divide, and can afford this toy, I highly recommend it.  It’s fun for the rest of us too–watching movies and video is great without a keyboard in the way.  The new battery lastest 12 hours!  It’s pretty, sleek, and user-friendly, but you must have a computer with iTunes and an iTunes account to activate the initial start.  (And, yes, my parents just got WiFi.) 

The iPad is helping bridge the middle- and upper-class digital divide for $499.  My mother can now read countless versions of the same news story and gossip away about Sandra Bullock (she deserves better!)  like the rest of America.  Now, she can email AND fill a cavity.  She’s unstoppable.    

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1 Comment

  1. sarah said,

    awesome post. i couldn’t stop laughing.

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