Is the iPad a perfect model for new technology?

I boarded a train to London this morning a noticed an elderly lady – well into her pensionable years – already comfortable in her seat reading a book on her Kindle. How timely and reassuring this was, ahead of the conference I was on my way to attend, focused upon the digital future of adults.

As always on my journeys, I began this one by reading some comments in the conversation thread evolving on Twitter. One comment from @sarah_loves_tea suggested that the ipad is a device that has encouraged (or has the potential to encourage) many more to invest time in developing their technology skills. I would tend to agree with this, but there may be some caveats.

The ipad is a wonderful device that i have been fortunate enough to use for several months now. It really does have the potential to change the way you behave. Yes, behave. Not work; not play; behave. The ipad is a device that, in my view, transcends the ‘home computer’ / ‘work computer’ divide – if you let it. If you are comfortable enough to allow your daily work routine overlap with your personal life, the ipad is a sure fire winner. Back to the point though, the iPad, and perhaps too the Kindle, are devices that are changing the opinion a large user base holds towards technology. It’s no longer the domain of ‘technically skilled’, but potentially a tool of the masses. I hope this development continues.

This said, is my adoption of the iPad into my behavioural patterns more natural to me than it might be to others? I have grown up with technology. I am very comfortable in moving from one platform to another, and from one device to the next. The same cannot perhaps be said for those from different generations who have not become confident with a single technology, let alone the vast range that typically confronts us daily through so many different channels.

In order to educate a different generation, is it our technique that needs to change, or until now has the technology been excluding those less confident users from participating? Does the ipad indicate to us the need for a marked shift if technology design to ensure accessibility and approachability for all?

Seeing the Kindle voluntarily in the hands of one from a generation that is perhaps less confident in embracing new technology was reassuring. Perhaps we are turning a corner in the design and application of technology that finally enables greater adoption by the ‘digitally excluded’?

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