Is iPad the best option for someone who has never used a computer before?

Discussion in 'iPad General Discussions' started by Demon114, May 30, 2012.

  1. Demon114
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    Demon114 iPF Noob

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    Dear all,

    My father, who is in his 70s, has never properly used a computer in his life. I am very keen for him to find out how to check his mail and how to type documents. I have thought about teaching him on a PC but I think it would be too complicated and have heard that iPads are much easier to handle.

    I do not have an iPad myself but was wondering whether I could have your comments on the following:

    1) how easy is it for someone to learn how to use their e-mail and to type documents on an iPad for the first time? Is there a better device than the iPad for teaching them this?

    2) I am in London and am not sure what the latest iPad version is here and whether there is a newer version coming out soon.

    I'd be very grateful if you could provide guidance on the two points above.

    Many thanks!
  2. zphone
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    zphone iPad Enthusiast

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    Good questions.
    My father-inlaw had gone from no apple devices to using the iPad and iPhone he got almost exclusively. He now uses it for online entertainment, Skype, FaceTime, Facebook, photo and video recording etc.
    There was almost no learning curve.
    I think the iPad would be the best choice.

    Now depending on your fathers vision and whether he would use if for reading books, or taking lots of pictures you may consider an iPad 3 which is the newest one that came out in march but most likely as a starter device an iPad 2 would be more than good enough. Don't wait for a new one.

    Likely he will not a store a lot of content on it so 16gb is probably ok.

    Good luck.
  3. DocPhyz
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    DocPhyz iPF Novice

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    1) If he's used to email, the iPad is the easiest way to use it. You should be prepared to set up his email accounts on the iPad, and get iBooks and the iBooks iPad User Guide (free) so he can learn more. For "documents", iPad comes with Notes, and there are many other notes apps available, some free. For something like MS Word, there is Apple "Pages", but I'm not sure you mean serious compositions. iPad has no file system like you are used to on a PC, so attaching things to an email is very different. You may want to get some experience on the iPad before training him.

    2) See zphone.
  4. Gabriel1
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    Gabriel1 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    As you are in London you may want to pop into one of the Apple Stores and have a play, get there early to avoid the crowds, you'll find the staff really helpful.

    The Archangel
  5. petermillard
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    petermillard iPad Fan

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    Apple retail stores also run free workshops, so attending a "Getting Started with iPad" workshop would probably be a help if you're both new to the device; you can find your local Apple Store here, then choose 'workshops' > 'Learn more' for more info; you can reserve a place (or two) online.

    FWIW when I upgraded to a new iPad I passed along my original iPad 1 to my parents (86 & 88) and they get along just fine with it.

    HTH Pete
  6. AQ_OC
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    AQ_OC Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I would say the iPad is the absolute best option for someone who has never used any kind of computer at all. I cannot think of a better modern OS to use.
  7. Demon114
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    Demon114 iPF Noob

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    Dear all,

    Thanks for all the comments. I wanted to confirm that it would be the best way for my father to start and I guess you have all tipped the balance in favour of buying an iPad.

    Just a couple more questions :

    i) I'm assuming the iPad would have to be connected to a printer like a PC to print documents (naive question but I have to ask!)
    ii) we use Mozilla Thunderbird for our e-mail. Would it be possible to continue using this on the iPad?

    Thanks again for the help!

    Regards,
  8. AQ_OC
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    AQ_OC Super Moderator Staff Member

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    i) It depends. You cannot connect the iPad directly to a printer. There are several ways to print. You get a printer that supports AirPrint, or, there are apps that support printing from the iPad. For example, I have an Espon printer and there is a app on iOS that lets me print to my printer over my wireless network. Also, my router, a Netgear 3700, has an app for my PC called Netgear Genie. With it, any printer connected to my PC becomes AirPrinter compatible and can be printed to over my wireless network.

    ii) I don't think so. You can use the mail app that comes on the iPad. The iPad is not a PC, it runs iOS, so you need to use apps that run under iOS.
  9. DocPhyz
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    DocPhyz iPF Novice

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    I) No, remember, the iPad communicates only with it's WiFi connection to a WiFi router/gateway from your Dad's ISP. So if he wants to print things, and assuming he doesn't yet have any printer, the best thing to do is get one of the Apple AirPrint capable printers, from a list available at apple.com, and it will be very easy for him to print. All detailed in the User Guide. Biggest problem will be learning the care and feeding of inkjet printers. The printer can be connected by Ethernet or WiFi to the router/gateway. A very good question, and one that creates a lot of traffic on this forum, as a quick search will attest.

    Your dad will need to get used to the touchscreen virtual keyboard on the iPad, and touchscreen "gestures" -- there is no mouse or normal keyboard, of course. He might like a stylus for this use - I use a Boxwave version.

    ii) No, you're stuck with Mail on the iPad, which is an Apple view of your ISP's email client, it's folders, etc. It likes to use an IMAP connection to it, and remember that when you delete an email in Mail, you are deleting it permanently from your ISP email storage, unlike Thunderbird which stores locally on your PC. It's very easy to set up Mail accounts with major ISP's like Yahoo, AOL, etc. on the iPad. You may need to help him set up his Contacts list to use with Mail.

    To confirm your decision, since you are not familiar with the iPad, it would be valuable to follow Gabriel 1's suggestion of consulting with the very helpful staff in an Apple Store, even if you later purchase from Apple over the Internet. And remember, your dad will need an Apple account, with credit card on file, to register and use his iPad.

    I'm 80, am on my 2nd iPad, and love it. Assuming you dad is still pretty sharp, he'll like it. Good luck!
  10. DocPhyz
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    DocPhyz iPF Novice

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    Another thought, Demon114 -- if you want to do some homework on the iPad before you visit an Apple Store, you can search on the "iPad User Guide for iOS 5.1" at the apple.com website. Lots of detail on how the iPad works and features.
  11. Beryl
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    Beryl iPad Fan

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    I don't think a trip to the Apple store is the best idea. I think you should just get one for your father and see how it goes. You can always return it within the right time (30 days?) for a full refund.

    My cousin got the original iPad for her father a couple of years ago who was turning 70. He didn't think he would like it when he first opened the box but now he and his iPad are inseparable. He is on it all day every day.
  12. AQ_OC
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    AQ_OC Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I agree. Buy the iPad and use the 14-day return. I doubt seriously if you will need to return it. Your dad will love it. There just isn't any device easier to use than an iPad. Don't over think this.
  13. McSnifferson
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    McSnifferson iPF Noob

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    I recently bought an iPad 2 for my dads 70th birthday. At first I was worried he may find it too technical , however he bought himself a now to book (not sure why he didn't use the ebooks version) and now he loves it.

    Definately give it a try for him and return it if it's too techie.
  14. s2mikey
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    s2mikey iPad Addict

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    I agree. The key will be that they don't need to do any major software development, big office-type docs, or major graphics things. A lot of printing could get testy too. Otherwise, my goodness..... There ain't a better option.
  15. Demon114
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    Demon114 iPF Noob

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    Dear all,

    I bought my Dad an iPad yesterday and helped him through the set-up process. I woke up this morning to find him searching for things on Google on his own. For someone who has never come to grips with a PC, seeing him use an iPad on his own was amazing.

    Thank you all very much for your input and advice! I guess I will start saving up for my own iPad now... ;-)

    Regards,

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