The joy of iPad

115 thoughts on “The joy of iPad”

      1. Your comment made me go reaching for your terms and conditions and realise that I may have fallen on the wrong side of your copyright so I shall correct this straight away and apologise however in doing so I have come across something rather odd.
        I used the WordPress platforms REBLOG function which places a short excerpt of your blog and then a link through to the full article here. In my view there is never any claim that this is other than a pointer back to your article.
        BUT
        The Reblog feature is effectively offered as a button on your website (in the same way as the like button etc) and reading the WordPress terms and conditions it seems to imply that this is acceptable.
        So what is right here?
        Have I breached your copyright by using a function offered up by your host (WordPress) in which case I apologise or am I reading too much into your comments?

  1. Awesome! I LOVE all things communication technology related. I can’t get enough of this site. It is a must read every day. Most of my dad’s siblings live in the US while my grandmother remains in Guyana. I think I’ll pull a Mailik and leave my iPad2 behind when I visit this winter.

  2. My 80 year old granny loves the iPad and plays Solitaire on it! Her latest fascination is accessing Facebook on iPad and commenting on pictures! This definitely wouldn’t have been possible in the PC era! 🙂

  3. Completely agreed, Om. Recently, my grandfather experienced Skype video calls for the first time and was stunned. Technology is great for those who create it, but even better for those who use it to make better connections.

  4. My little niece has been using my iPad since she was 4 yrs. she will not even appreciate Steve Jobs when she grows up because she would think that this is how it has to be anyway. That is the power of true design.

    1. Maybe. Maybe not. Its not about the tablet as much as the thought apple puts behind the UI. Its not about video calling but the ease of using facetime. Think of the emotional connection made by a product that makes a non-techie feel like she can do anything on a tablet. Its the ease, not the tool.

    2. You are correct but the author and many posters just want it to be about Apple. Hell on just my phone I can simply touch an icon and I’m doing a video call. Nothing difficult. And you can tell the author knows its BS because the rebuttal is addressed before it even happens.

      Its fine to like Apple, MS, Google or whoever. But this picture painting that some Apple product is the easiest or worse yet only way to do something is crap. For instance my niece which had a really crappy Android budget phone upgraded to an iPhone. Within two hours she felt it was crap and took it back for a Galaxy S2 which she loves. That’s the story that’s rarely told. And say what you want but the overall platform market share numbers say that this isn’t a story that rarely happens.

      1. Exactly my sentiment. Instead of facetime it might be some more universal technology. Better interoperatibility instead of learning some apple lingo. What bugs me is that as journalist, the perspective painted by the apple philes leaves out that there are other (many times better) options out there.

  5. I can fully relate to the experiences so well described here. Add to the joy the freedom to comfortably read almost any book. Old eyes are no longer limited to the Large-Print section (least common denominator) of the bookstore/library. ‘Tech-support’ calls go down with iCloud automagically backing up settings and content once per day leaving more time for other, more important and engaging conversations on FaceTime.

  6. I am almost fifty house wife, my mom almost eighty never used a computer until her Ipad2. Now she face times with her kids and grand kids continents away she just learn email. That’s why I cried when I heard about passing of Steve Job, that’s why I still get misty eyes, and I know you would understand.

  7. And this is why Motorola, Samsung, and the like aren’t doing well in tablets.

    Samsung is eager to tell you about how high-resolution the camera will be on your Galaxy Tab. Motorola will tell you exactly how fast the 4G is. Apple would push those to the background and say how the new iPad would use both to let you talk to your mother and make her feel that much better about being away from her son.

    Specs only matter in achieving an end. Ultimately, it’s how they’re linked to the software to reach that end that matter. Apple understands that; others still seem to see the specs as ends in themselves.

      1. And the constant reminder about the Retina display, thinness, and number of apps in the App Store is different, somehow? My point isn’t to bash Apple, it’s merely to point out that they too love to bring up specs just like any other tech company.

      2. Brian, people understand if a tablet is thin, or has a better display. They do not understand if the tablet has 720*1280 resolution. I doubt how many people know how many pixels are there in 8mega pixel camera!

  8. Thank you for sharing such and intimate moment Om. You hit the nail on the head for every facet of technology, it’s all about the people it touches.

  9. Well said, well done, Om. It’s not that these technologies didn’t exist before or elsewhere, it’s how the recipe that Apple prepares which makes products like the iPad great. A love for details, technique and the dining experience is what separates a chef from a fry cook.

  10. I had a very similar experience when we used Facetime in hospital to introduce our new born daughter to her 3 year old elder sister. The joy on my elder daughter’s face was remarkable. At that moment she didn’t care how she was able to see her younger sister but only that she could. Technology is powering emotional connections in the world we live in

  11. My younger sister has an iPad and I didn’t think it was necessary until her and I started using face time and other forms of communication. I live in a different city so using our resources to stay connected is important. The iPad isn’t just a fancy toy, it really does give people the opportunity to connect with loved ones.

    Great article!

  12. I saw something similar this Sunday when I was helping take care of one-year-olds at my church. One little girl seemed sad, so I pulled out my iPhone to let her play with the fish in a pond app.

    The instant I pulled it out, every kid in the vicinity zeroed in on it. They obviously already knew it was fun and wanted to play with it. I quickly put it away. One toy won’t work with five kids. If I’d pulled out an iPad, I’d probably been mobbed by the entire class.

    Moral: Your mother’s delight isn’t surprising. Even kids 12-24 months old know this touch gadgets are amazing.

  13. When my daughters were born late last year, I bought both sets of Grandparents an iPad – primarily for FaceTime. It’s now a verb in our family – lets”FaceTime”. As Om says, the Windows PC has been sitting gathering dust since then at our parents home…

  14. You’ve got to be kidding me! Thousands of parents from India talk to their kids studying overseas via Skype from PCs everyday – and, you had to convert it to an ad for iPad.. incredible Apple, incredible Valley

  15. Thanks for the great article Om. I can relate to your feeling because I saw the exact same look on my parents face when I did a FaceTime call with them, and I said the same thing “Thank you Mr. Jobs”.

  16. I ge the sentiment, but there’s a lot of oversimplification going on in the comments. iPads are great — I love mine — but seriously, it can’t possibly be that hard to login to Skype from a regular computer. Especially considering that the sign up process is virtually the same on any device (create an account–>log in–>done).

    Some of you are speaking like prior to iPads, video-chatting was beyond the mental capacity of the average user.

    1. True, BUT it is not easy to carry the computer/laptop around. My Dad took the iPad to the garden and showed me some new plants that he planted. Try doing that with a “regular computer”!

      1. Well, that for one is painfully obvious and well beyond the scope of the article. Your point is about as valid as me saying a desktop PC is “better” because I can run AutoCad and Creative Suite, all while rendering a video in the background. It sounds like a valid point until you realize that it has nothing to do with the discussion at hand.

        P.S. There’s also this thing called “email” that allows you to send photos of things to other people. It’s pretty awesome too. I highly recommend you check it out.

    2. > Some of you are speaking like prior to iPads, video-chatting was beyond the mental capacity of the average user.

      LOL! Isn’t this how the media and Apple fanboys portray every single feature that Apple incorporates that was already old news in the market?

      I am SURE Om’s mom had already experienced the joy of video chatting with her grandson on the PC. I don’t deny that she was delighted to chat with him on the iPad as well, but it wasn’t such a wondrous and poetic moment as this article would like you to think.

    3. Brian you lack maturity. Om wrote a sweet sensitive article, that went right over your head. To you this tech is second nature. To some, especially senior citizens, computers are as foreign, scary, and dangerous as Martians with thermonuclear devices! Although Skype is similar on iPads and computers, there is a world of difference in the UI.

      1. I may, but you clearly lack understanding. The difference in UI regarding specific apps (in my example, Skype) is minimal across devices. So my point still stands. Furthermore, it wasn’t a shot at Om, or his mother, and if I didn’t make it clear earlier I’ll say it again:

        Some of the **COMMENTERS** are oversimplifying. Again, you take exactly the SAME steps to sign into these apps, regardless of platform. Having used Skype on Android, iOS, Windows, and both of the Macs I work with, I know this for a fact. The “world of difference in the UI” you refer to basically boils down to using a finger instead of a keyboard. Everything else is the same. That said, pardon me for asking how in particular the iPad makes this process “easier” as some (not Om, in case I lost you) have claimed.

        Case in point: I installed Ubuntu on my mother’s laptop. Installed the Skype .deb for her, and then watched her set up an account. Took probably 30 seconds from one of the most tech illiterate people on this planet (she still refuses to give up her VCR). That was two years ago and she has yet to encounter a problem. This is the same person I have to remind every other week that she can’t install iTunes on her computer because Ubuntu is not just another version of Windows (‘nother story altogether).

        So, if refusing to believe there’s some inherent magical properties of iOS devices makes me immature, so be it. I wear it proudly.

  17. You know I remember in 2002 I typed in my girlfriends cellphone number, my parents cellphone number, my friends cellphone number – and by merely pressing the call button we were able to have a video call across cellphone brands. We didn’t need to set up accounts or anything: just phone number and press call. I did it daily and it is cost less than what the data would have. It might not have been mainstream in America but in South Africa our cellphone providers supported this for a very long time. Really FaceTime is absolutely nothing special.

  18. Interesting post, I was always under the impression that Apple sold experiences and and values, based on a lot of their advertising campaigns. But this is actually the first time that I’ve seen someone give a real-world example of the emotions and feelings that Apple packages into its products. As social media and connectivity continues to grow and take over more and more chunks of our time and lives, Apple has increasingly stepped its game up to bring devices that help simplify all these new outlets. This is crucial because Apple basically expanded its demographic markets into almost all age groups, a pretty impressive feat considering all the somewhat technologically-challenged people out there. And your example epitomizes this concept, thanks for sharing!

  19. Lovely story. I had a similar little epiphany with my own mother. At 78 she was pretty set in her ways namely completely apathetic to technology and would never use a pc. We sat with her to show her pictures of our kids on an iPad. We persuaded her just to try it, just swipe your finger to change the picture mom. She did the first one and smiled. Then she did a fantastic thing – she licked her finger and swiped, the same gesture I’ve seen her do a million times with magazines. I couldn’t help but smile. It echoed a normal behavior for her. After that she was hooked. Many people could do touch and gesture, but Apple made it mainstream and an Irish granny very happy.

  20. This is what stands out, the personal touch in the post, and at the end of day in our lives this is what matters:

    “she will be bothering me a lot — right in the middle of a meeting in San Francisco. Not that there is anything wrong with that.”

    And that makes me love Om’s writing even more…

  21. Yes. It makes lives better. Unless of course you are a Chinese factory worker. Read mikedaisey.blogspot.com and tell me if your iPad is worth destroying thousands of people’s lives.

  22. Very nice piece. I’m very happy that your Mom embraced the technology. My Mom passed away a few years ago. She had grandchildren all over the map. As hard as I tried my Mom refused to try email or video chat. She was afraid! I think if an iPad had been available, it’s ease of use would have won her over. May your Mom have many more years of enjoying her grandchildren.

  23. Good to see that my experience isn’t unusual. I gave my sister’s family (in Florida) and my parents (in Pennsylvania) each an iPad 2 for Christmas. My mother (in her 60’s) was appreciative but apologetically asked if it could be returned because she’s somewhat technophobic. I talked to my dad and explained what my reasoning was for sending something that made it seem like I was completely out of touch with what they wanted or needed.

    The reason, in a word, was Facetime. My mom talks to my sister and her grandchildren almost daily. In addition to saving them from a phone bill, the ability to see your loved ones is huge.

    A couple weeks later, I got an email from my mom. She was thrilled and basically said that anyone wanting to take her iPad away from her was in for a fight.

    Sent from her iPad.

  24. love this! very touching article because I also have given my mother and iPad and she LOVES, LOVES, LOVES it. her happiness is priceless and we have Steve Jobs and Apple to thank for this!

  25. I had the same experience when I went back home to Pakistan in December and got my dad an iPad 2. The look of awe and joy on his and my mom’s face when they facetimed with my sisters in different cities in Canada was worth every penny I spent on that iPad.
    My cook couldn’t stop laughing, he was so excited and shocked 🙂

  26. As a foreigner living in the US I always had the frustration of not being able to communicate with my elderly parents, except by phone. For years I wanted to be able to Skype with them and send interesting articles I find online to my father. But at 87 years of age, and never having used a computer in his whole life, a Windows PC or even a Mac were out of the question. He would have never learned how to use them and much less how to keep them free of viruses and in good order. The one time I tried to teach him how to use my laptop, we ended up in a fight and frustrated. I thought about giving him a laptop, but shuddered to think what would happen when he would be confronted with the usual dialogs asking him if it’s OK to update this or that program, or that some cryptic error had occurred. And how was I going to keep him safe from viruses, and from him deleting things or changing something important by mistake?

    My conclusion was that the only computer I could give my dad was an iPad. As soon as the iPad2 came out I gave one to him and it has been a wonderful experience. He still struggles a bit with learning how to use all the features in the device, but we can Skype and e-mail regularly. He loves reading all the articles and eBooks I send him, and he feels very proud of finally owning and using a computer. It’s wonderful to see how my parents get so excited when we Skype, and I love being able to see their faces and show them people and things, all without worrying that my dad is going to over his head on computer configuration issues, viruses, crashes, and the like. Many other people in my family that had never been interested in computers, because they seemed to them like exceedingly obscure and complicated things, have bought iPads and are using the daily with great satisfaction.

    Even though I’m an engineer, trained on microelectronics and programming, I’m tired of the PC using experience being such a pain. Me and my parent want a device that is as easy to use any other appliance to communicate, browse the web, read eBooks, watch movies, etc. I don’t want to feel like I’m working every time I or a relative is using a computer. My vacations back home are spent fixing everybody’s corrupted or infected computers and teaching them how to do certain things in Windows. Steve Jobs understood this better than most Silicon Valley people and that was his genius.

    I’m tired of the arrogance of all the techy uber-geek types that abound on-line and in Silicon Valley that think using gadgets should be a test of one’s intelligence and technical prowess. I want my media consumption and communication devices to be as simple to use as any other dumb appliance, just like the iPad is. I can indulge enough my geek side at work, fighting with Windows and engineering design software. No need to do the same at work, and no need to make my parents suffer through it.

    1. Maybe if people like Brian could check their prejudice and really read your post, Rafael, they might jut understand that it’s not the same or as simple.

      Excellent post and echos my own experience with my father. People like Brian have “geek goggles” on – to them the differences between an iPad and a computer (Ubuntu? Seriously?!?) are trivial. Good for them. To the vast majority of humans on this planet the differences are using a tool or not using a tool.

      The main difference between Apple and their competitors – Apple focuses on the user and everyone else focuses on the device or tech itself. This is second nature to geeks, but an ocean of difference to normal people.

      People like Brian and A S can continue to completely miss the point and wish Apples success a mere fad. I see more anger and frustration in their future. Perhaps when Apple passes the combined market cap of Google, Microsoft and Samsung combined they might take a hint that the issue isn’t Apple or those who like Apple products.

      Then again…. Sigh….

  27. In my opinion, Apple is the only company that makes devices you can give to anyone, without even thinking about their level of expertise, be it a 5-year old or an 80-year old. You just know that the user will somehow “get” how the device works. It’s a true magic of Apple, in Jobs’ words, to create devices very “intuitive”.

  28. Thanks Om for sharing something thats very personal …. I think everyone has a story of how technology helped bring them closer to their loved ones, this is so today and the reference to a windows PC being “not the right tool” should echo to people that still believe that they need a computer/laptop at all.

  29. There is an old saying in India, that the Grandkids are the return on your investment. I’m sure that she sees the ipad as the best tool for her to keep an eye on her investment and enjoy the return. Great Article

  30. I am in the same boat. When my mom (she is 78 and has never used a computer) saw the iPad and started using it without any help – that was the moment of my life. My mom could surf the web and play games on a computer and talk to my sister.

    Steve Jobs did something that was unique. Lets all hope that Apple will continue to follow his legacy.

  31. Could not agree more with you. I gifted an iPad to my sister in India last year and was stunned at the ease of use of facebook. The most important thing about the iPad is that it rings like a phone. My 70 year old dad can call me any time, and I get the call on my iphone or ipad wherever I am. More importantly, I can call him anytime, and he does not have to boot the PC at a mutually agreed up on time and start skype etc. I am planning to gift one to my father-in-law now.

  32. The only thing my 3 year old need is for me to login the passcode. He is on his own then…can swipe, find the netflix app and find his favourite Thomas the train episode and when that bores him goes to the ‘ABC’ app and takes it from there…for us technology was an external stimulus, for kids these days, technology is woven into the fabric of their daily life. And nobody makes it so as Apple’s devices..

  33. Nice Article. My mom & dad who struggled a lot to learn the PC, instantly got hooked to iPad when they visited me in the US. It’s now become their Indian newspaper where they read an Indian newspaper online. I don’t have to explain to use it more often.

  34. Very nice article. No other product has such a personal touch and instant affinity as an iPad. I’m amazed to see my 2 year old daughter pick the iPad and use it with ease – I don’t have to teach her anything. Sooner or later “iPad Time” is bound to become a common household term.

    I can’t agree with you more about how amazed seniors are about iPad. I can see their eye glow in surprise looking at the possibilities it opens up and more to it, how easy it is for them to use. Except for Steve, no one would have made such a experience possible.

  35. skype on PC = pretty good
    skype/facetime on ipad = sheer joy

    latest windows laptops= quite good, awesome
    mac book air = sheer joy

    samsung = catching up quite well, not there yet; am sure apple’s investments/R&D in new chip and battery etc will spring new surprises.
    android = security issues
    iOS =less choice , but more secure ?

    1. “iOS=less choice”

      Really? I haven’t been prevented from doing anything I want.

      And I’ve certainly been enabled to do far more than I’d ever imagined.

      Why do people feel compelled to repeat meaningless phrases like this? Just because? Geek guilt?

  36. For more than 11 years, my sister and I have tried to teach our mother, who lives in India, to use a PC to read email, look at slideshows, etc. without any success. Last year, she tried my iPad and finally figured it out. Once I installed and configured the apps, she was able to use Skype and Talkatone with Google Voice to stay in touch. For people like me, the iPad is an optional device but for her, it’s the only device she can use.

  37. This is the kind of article that reminds me why I follow this website. It is not an Apple fanboy or Android bashing article, it is a real life and non techie user using a tool.
    I have an Ipad1 I bought refurb but have shown my mom how to use if for QVC, email and even movies and she likes it . Her next computing device is going to be a tablet of a sort and most likely an Ipad because it “just works” .
    For me , a WebOs tablet loaded with CM9 nightly is just fine. I like to tweak and break stuff then fix it . I’m a geek and I admit it , the first step towards recovery.

  38. Hmmm I bought my parents a HP Pavilion and a webcam in year 2000 they could chat with me and also see me via Yahoo chat and Net meeting… they had no issues or difficulty using them…may family in India has been using Yahoo voice chat since 2000 I am amazed to see so many people go gaga since these features are now available in a tablet … it was there since a decade and was always easy to use …before the tablet there was netbooks that also had them and was equally easy to use.

    1. Except for the fact that you know what you’re saying. 95% of the world would be maddeningly frustrated trying to get that junk to work smoothly. You also forget one LARGE problem, the fact that the recipient will also need to be tech savvy. So, tablets and modern software (desktop and mobile) have made communication staggeringly easier.

    2. Proud of your tech aptitude a little? This a 2-way street. Recipients need to understand how to do all the gobbly-gook you speak of. Face it, modern software (desktop/mobile) and peripheral devices have made communication staggeringly easier and more enjoyable.

  39. Great job, Om.

    I was provoked to write a similar story about my 88 year-old mother and her iPad experiences.

    It’s over on ATPM . Published one day earlier on March 01.

  40. So many people want to say that such and such Android device is as good as the iPad. But what Apple does is not simply bolt on bells and whistles on to the latest hardware. They blend in the experience of the user from the very start, and work backwards to beautiful technology (art) that creates joyful experiences.

  41. AMazing form of inovation,truly was a great help for everybody.And with it’s user friendly gadget that’s why everyone wants to buy ipad nowadays not only for business,uses from school or works,but for personal use also.

  42. Nice article Om. I love the image of your Mom on the iPad. Very Banksy style and theme. Traditional Indian lady holding the best of Silicon Valley. The contrast is almost like shopping trolleys & security cameras in a Lowry painting!

  43. Your description of the joy your mom felt is similar to the experience of my grandfather! At 93 years young, he has been using his original iPad, which he received as a 91st birthday present, daily for nearly 2 years now. He uses it to play games, send emails and read online newspapers from around the world. With a recent update to ios 5, he now sends iMessages to his children and grandchildren.

    I am currently using an Android 4.0 Tablet — on my HP TouchPad — and as nice as it is, there is just something much more intuitive and “fun” about an iPad. It may not be as customizable or have all the features of the latest, greatest Android tablet, but it just works with much less a learning curve.

    I fear that most companies still are thinking of tablets in PC terms and not Post PC terms. My favorite example is how you install an app on iOS verus Android, automatic vs pressing install and having a shortcut on your screen, etc.

  44. Om, I have been following you since the 2000s and always find your writing and insights enjoyable. I finished the Jobs bio a few months ago and have a deeper appreciation of his products and how he changed the world. I also can distinguish at a greater level the difference between companies that make products that enrich our lives and those that make our lives more frustrating. I think about how MY mother tries to navigate her MS-based PC and how many times she’s called me for help with it because it is so Non-user friendly. We thought about getting her an iPad, and now I am convinced I will do it. I also think it’s time to get one for me! Thank you for this great blog post.

  45. Om,
    Thanks for this article. It hit home for my family (wife/kids/self) and allowed me to show my mother why I’ve bought all this Apple crap over the past 4-5 years. She was considering buying an iPad but now she’s on board just for the future to opportunity to talk to her grandchildren via FaceTime (maybe I’ll get some attention).
    The only downfall, I’m going to have to play teacher for a handful of months. Wait, who am I kidding, it’s going to be awesome!

    1. Deon

      Thanks for reading and for taking the time to respond. I would say, your Mom is going to adapt to it and adopt it much faster than you think. I know that because I am already getting requests for “apps” to download. Anyway good luck with Facetiming with mom and getting grandkids closer to her.

  46. Hello OM,

    I gave an IPad 2 to my parents 5 months back and they were thrilled as your mother is, they have figured out how to do FaceTime ti talk to their grand kids, Skype (although they don’t need it any more) iMessage and even reading hindi e-paper and magazine,
    this is the best gift any one can give to their parents. Thanks to Steve Jobs

  47. when my son was born, i made a skype call from a hospital in india, using a samsung galaxy s2 on vodafone’s 3g network. my sis who was in atlanta, could see the baby on my nephew’s ipod touch which was connected to the home wifi. it’s not about the androids or the iphones or the ipods or the ipads. it’s about what you do with it.

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