Thursday, 28 January 2010

The iPad is not for geeks

Yes, it's finally arrived, but who is it for? I think that the Apple iPad will actually go down a storm with two groups of people at the opposite end of the age spectrum - the young and the old.

My 5-year old granddaughter enjoys playing games on my PC. Before Christmas, I was considering buying her a Nintendo DS, so I dug mine out of the cupboard to see how she got on with it. It didn't take her long to get used to it, but she couldn't be bothered with anything that required use of the buttons. But the next day I found her playing intently with my daughter's iPod Touch, and asked her which she preferred - the iPod won hands down, because 'it's easier to hold and the games are easy to play'. Asked whether she'd rather have that or a PC, the iPod won again.

Those who carry no preconceptions of what a computer should be - such as my granddaughter and, to a lesser extent, my parents (who are retired and have unsuccessfully tried to get to grips with PCs) - will be attracted to the iPad, as it does pretty well everything that a computer needs to do these days, but with a less intimidating  point-and-touch interface.

The iBooks app will also appeal to them, as will the oversized on-screen keyboard. Teenagers will hassle parents for one because it looks cool, students may well be interested in it for digital textbooks because it overcomes the lack of colour in other e-book readers like the Kindle. But the wider tech community - myself included - mostly won't see the point of it, because it's not really aimed at them.

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