The iPad is a family device

As a Canadian, I was lucky enough to get an iPad early (at the beginning of May), thanks to my sister, who won it in a contest (thanks, Sarah!).  While some have dubbed the iPad "just another solo-user device," I disagree.  I think it's a family device and is more social than an iPod touch.

The screen

The iPad screen is perfect for sharing. I'm not the only one that thinks so: many have noticed that, right out of the box, the form factor of this device makes it great for 2 adults, or 1 adult and multiple kids, to share.  The touch interface is much more responsive than a regular iPod touch screen. Games, educational apps, and videos all feel "more at home" on a screen this size.

Kids get it

How long did it take to teach the kids how to use the iPad?  Zero seconds.  They picked it up and immediately knew what to do with it: swiping across the screen, clicking on icons, and using different apps.  When they're on the computer, they often need my help to access different websites or programs not on the iPad.  They can find the apps and use them themselves.

How you can use it as a family

Here are some of the ways we have used the iPad as a family; we have:

  • Read the Toy Story interactive storybook at bedtime

  • My wife and I have played, using our iPods as the "letter racks"

  • Snuggled on the couch with one of our kids to watch a movie

  • I use Maps with my daughter to explore our neighborhood using Street View

  • We're looking forward to using it with a vehicle mounting kit when we travel this summer.

My wife doesn't touch our computer anymore

My wife hates technology.  She never liked our PC.  She perked up a bit when I brought home our iMac a few years ago.  But she loves the iPad:

When I'm home with the kids, I don't want to have to boot up the computer.  The iPad is fast: I open the case, and I can access my email, Facebook, and the web right away.  I don't have to type in a web address; I just tap the icon with my finger and I'm there.

Previously she hesitated to use iCal and Contacts on the Mac because she'd have to boot up the computer (or "wake it up") to use them.  But the iPad feels more accessible; it's on the kitchen counter, and she can pick it up and use it immediately if she needs to look up something.

Published on May 29th, 2010
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