iPad Pro I Need Advice re iPad Pro 12.9 for elderly Russian Grandpa

Discussion in 'iPad' started by oneMadRssn, Jan 9, 2017.

  1. oneMadRssn macrumors 601


    Sep 8, 2011
    New England
    I was hoping to get some advice regarding a getting an iPad for my grandpa.

    Currently he uses an older Dell Desktop running Windows 7 with a 17" LCD screen. He uses it for Yahoo Mail, checking the weather, Skype, streaming eTVnet (similar to Russian Netflix), and whatever youtube or web links his old buddies email each other.

    There are two difficulties with this setup:
    - First, as he's getting quite old, he's having trouble navigating with the mouse these days. Double-clicking is becoming difficult, and getting the pointer to stay on top of a link while clicking is also difficult.
    - Second, while I did teach him how to use Windows fairly well a while ago, it seems lately he is forgetting the basics and having trouble with things that used to be relatively easy for him. E.g., printing, adding attachments to emails, typing in URLs. It doesn't help that most web interfaces seem to change often and UI elements move around a lot.

    I was thinking of getting a 32GB 12.9" iPad Pro WiFi, a Logitech Create Case, and a Logitech K760 keyboard (with Russian keys).

    I figure the iPad screen should be visible to him. While it will be smaller than his current 17" monitor, it won't be too much smaller, especially in landscape mode.
    I figure the K760 keyboard will be easy since it's solar-charged and thus would never need batteries replaced nor plugged in to charge.
    I figure the case has an adjustable angle, so it should be good to use at a desk, on the couch, or in bed.​

    My concerns are:
    - How can I trouble-shoot if he has issues? Currently I can VNC into his computer and solve 98% of problems remotely. As far as I know, there is no VNC server for iPad, or anything similar, correct?
    - How is the Russian language support on third-party apps? I know iOS in general is ok with other languages, but how are the apps?
    - Does anyone here use eTVnet to stream Russian programming? Does it work well on iPad?
    - Has anyone here had experience teaching a 90-year-old how to use an iPad? Any tips?

    Also, his current computer has been acting up a bit lately and I think it needs to be replaced soon. Even if I do replace it with another Windows PC, I am really not sure which to choose. Seems Windows 10 tablets would be even more difficult to teach, but offer larger screens. Or, while setting up another Windows 7 desktop is an option, I am not sure for how much longer he can sit in an office chair and use the mouse for.
  2. jamesrick80 macrumors 68020


    Sep 12, 2014
    I suggest getting him a Samsung Galaxy View 18.4 inch tablet....He can surely see it, toss it, watch it, touch it and do whatever else he can do with the best of his remaining abilities...
  3. oneMadRssn thread starter macrumors 601


    Sep 8, 2011
    New England
    Holly cow, did not even know that was a thing. This is a good option - and Android has a VNC server app.
  4. cruisin macrumors 6502a


    Apr 1, 2014
    • You need to jailbreak the iPad to run a server, but nothing you can easily install. Or you can video chat using another device. Android might have better vnc server support but I'm not sure.
    • Every app shows the languages it supports on the app store page. So you can check the apps you plan on getting.
    • For eTVnet they have a support page which basically says the newer stuff will work but the older stuff needs a 3rd party app: http://etvnet.com/apps/ipad-iphone-ipodtouch/
    • The official iPad keyboard takes its power from the iPad, so it never needs to be charged.
    • Personally I think if you got a big monitor (24 inches or more) and lowered the resolution to make everything bigger it would be better as it has more visibility and things are easier to click. You can also lower the mouse speed for more precision. Maybe a touch screen so you can skip the mouse. You can also make one click buttons on the task bar for his main apps if he can't double click.
  5. alecgold macrumors 65816


    Oct 11, 2007
    How old is "getting quite old"?

    Two things that I would like to mention.
    First, I'm worried about the deterioration in his condition. Apperantly the tremors in his hands are getting worse and also he starts to forget what he has known for some time. The forgetfulness can be caused by not using those functions very often and not having enough experience in computers to find them again (hello google and search functions) but it might be symptomatic for deeper problems with his health.
    Either way, it is not going be better any time soon, if ever.

    That does relate to my second suggestion, teaching him a completely new operating system (be it iOS, Android or macOS) could be severely stressfull for him, take considerable time (and yours as well, I would guess) and not give the results you might want/expect/hope for. So perhaps staying on windows 7 might be better, or perhaps there are skins and mods that make windows 10 look a lot like windows 7 again.

    That all begin said, my father had never worked with anything else beside a little bit windows. When he retired (64 years) he wanted a computer and I "forced" him to go with a MacBook Pro. First it was much better then Vista at the time, secondly I used them myself so I could easily help him out, thirdly, I think OSX is easier to manage and easier to use and I had just bought a new one, so I had a three year old one laying around. He got around, needed to learn a lot to switch and didn't find it easy, but "logmein" was very useful.
    My mother had never used any computers and wanted something, so I gave her the first iPad as soon as it came out. Brilliant! Carpal tunnel syndrome prevented her from using mouses for more then a few minutes, but the touch screen was natural and pain free. it was easy for her to use. All the books she could ever want, simple games to doodle, web surfing went easy, but also iMessage was very easy although not often used (she preferred to make a call, speaking gives so much more interaction).
    That was 10 years ago, but I would really hate to get my father back on windows again. It would really annoy him to no end (they changed everything, I can't find it, it previously did show my history/web links/etc and now I can't find them anymore, all my email is gone, where are all my photo's.) and cost me many hours giving phone support and using Jump Desktop to login into his system and show what went wrong.

    My mother has used the original iPad until it was utterly unusable, only worked with the power cable connected and really needed to be changed (by that time she was really sick from chemo's and all) so I replaced it with an iPad Mini which was so much lighter and easier to hold for her, yet had enough real estate to read a book on in a large letter type. The beauty of it was that it felt almost exactly the same for her, despite being 4 or 5 iOS generations further. No learning curve, no frustration or troubles, just sync it, get used to a different look (just a different look in the icons, almost nothing changed after I put a backup of her old iPad on the new mini).

    So to make a long story short: I'm pretty sure changing operating system isn't a good idea, unless he really likes computers and you are every day around for "tech support". In that case I would suggest an iPad Air 2 and becoming familiar with the different functions for visibility, zoom, lettertypes etc. buying an iPad Pro 12.9' won't make the letters bigger unless you use those accesebility features. But the air 2 is much lighter, easier to hold/handle.

    Sorry for the long post, but wanted to help :)
  6. oneMadRssn thread starter macrumors 601


    Sep 8, 2011
    New England
    Thanks for the reply. This is useful.

    He is 80 year old. We are aware that his hand shaking and slow-response are concerning, and his doctors are aware of it. The current theory is sometime in the past 5 or so years he suffered a minor stroke at night, and it has sort of kick-started a whole lot of these issues. Later he fell and broke his hip. While the hip itself is now better than new, the hospital stays and long time in bed have really caused a deterioration in his physical strength.

    Getting a touch-screen Windows 7 computer sounds like a good idea. I have already set his mouse settings to do single-click to open folders and files. I am not sure of any setting that would prevent the pointer from moving slightly while he clicks. To that end, I do think moving a touch-screen is a good idea.

    The transition from Windows XP to Windows 7 was a bit tough, but the changes online which I have no control over are even tougher. For example, Yahoo Mail has changed layouts and UIs a few times over the past few years. Weather.com has moved things around. Many apps are now using new UI elements that were not part of the design language a few years back - like the three horizontal bars to depict a menu.

    I think transitioning to iOS or to Windows 10 would be equally challenging. There is certainly a lot of appeal in staying with Windows 7 as long as possible.

    The flip side of that is he currently gets a lot of enjoyment from the main activities I described - email, skype, viewing links, and etvnet. I want to get him something that he can bring with him should he end up in a hospital again, or if he is unable to sit in a desk chair. This is where the iPad idea mainly comes from. He knows the Skype and Yahoo logos, so I think that part of it will work. I can make a homescreen shortcut to etvnet. The only nontrivial thing, I think, will be teaching him to use Safari and using the on-screen keyboard at times. He has played with my iphone before and was enamoured by the touch-based maps app, so I think he might actually like the touchscreen. My main reserve here is lack of VNC.

    While I live nearby and can be available for help often, I work long hours and that prevents me from being available as often as I would like. Hence VNC helps so much.

    On the Windows-7 side of things, I see there are some all-in-one computers with touch-screens that run Windows 7, which I might end up going with. Currently that is my top choice. I am not able to find a large battery-powered tablet that runs Windows 7 though, which is unfortunate.

    For people's information, as the current set-up is quite nice and really helps with tech-support for parents and grandparents. I have a TightVNC server running as a service on his computer - which means it's running as soon as the computer is on and does not require a user to login. I have configured DuckDNS to route me to his dynamic IP, which is updated with a small script in Windows that I have set to update every few minutes and is also configured to run as a service. Thus I don't need to know his IP, DuckDNS is always up to date. His router is configured to allow those ports too, obviously. Pretty much the only times I am not able to remote into his computer is if there is a hardware failure.

Share This Page