iMac for parents, learning curve?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by jeutie, Jan 2, 2013.


What should I get?

  1. An iMac

    36 vote(s)
  2. A Windows 8 AIO

    2 vote(s)
  3. Nothing, stick with the iPad

    14 vote(s)
  1. jeutie macrumors member


    Jul 9, 2011
    Greetings all,

    My parents computer - finally - broke down today. I was talking to my mom whom is in love with the design of the new iMac. They have both been using Windows for the past couple years, but when I got them an iPad last year, the computer had little to no use at all. Still they want to replace it and it has to be an All-In-One computer.

    A little more information about my parents; they are both clueless when it comes down to technology. My father manages to make some word documents, check his e-mails, take pictures and make sales on eBay, but has trouble understanding concepts like Google or App Stores. My mom only browses the web. She wants to pick up photo editing but handling a camera is a little too much for her. She also has bad eyesight and does not like touch. (She prefers to browse the web on the desktop rather than the iPad because it has a mouse.) Both do not understand the concept of a file system.

    This all taken in consideration I was looking at my options. I could either buy a Windows 8 All-In-One, which will have a big learning curve for both of them or purchase an iMac. (Price isn't really an object here.) I guess my dad will recognize most icons in OS X and have a slight advantage there. Though the high resolution of the iMac might be a problem for my mom whom says the retina display of the iPad is much easier to read than the desktop. (HiDPI mode could be a solution here, but does it work well?) I like the idea of iCloud syncing with the iPad as well as it would make some things a lot easier.

    All by all I need some opinions. Should I buy a Windows 8 AIO, an iMac or refuse and leave them with the iPad? I'll have to stand in as tech support either way and I have some experience with all OS. (Am a rMBP / iPhone 5 user myself.) Thanks already for your input.
  2. MisterKeeks macrumors 68000


    Nov 15, 2012
    iMac- much less of a learning curve, which is vital here.
  3. forty2j macrumors 68030


    Jul 11, 2008
    The Win 8 UI is difficult enough to use without touch input. I don't know how you avoid getting an iMac in this situation.

    Do not forget to teach them the gestures (which work better on the trackpad than the mouse).. pinch to zoom may handle 90% of the eyesight issues. The base 21" should be fine - and doesn't suffer as much of the "OMG it's SMALL" problems as the 27".
  4. MacMilligan macrumors 6502

    Aug 2, 2012
    Both will be a learning curve. They are coming from a Windows PC, but Metro is so different that it may as well be a new OS for them. I'd swap them to a Mac, now is the best time since the learning curve for upgrading to Windows 8 and simply going with OSX from a Windows machine are the same. Show them launch pad and that's all they will need :).
  5. jeutie thread starter macrumors member


    Jul 9, 2011
    That is a valid point. Thank you.
    A 21 inch would do fine indeed. Though if they intend to keep it as long as the current computer a 27 inch may be a better option. Pinching to zoom is something they'll use a lot indeed. Thank you for your input.
    That is certainly true. They'll recognize some stuff either way. In Windows 8 there'll be some similarities with Windows 7, in OS X there'll be more similar icons from iOS. If I were to convert them to Mac this would be the time to do so but I can't quite put my head round seeing them with such a lovely machine and not even utilizing 10% of it. :(
  6. turtlez macrumors 6502a


    Jun 17, 2012
    the biggest learning curve is learning that clicking the red button up the top doesn't completely close the application. I always see mac noobs with a million things open on their dock when they are not using them. Everything else is pretty logical / self explanatory
  7. sounddesigner macrumors regular

    Dec 22, 2012
    I would say imac cleaner OS I find the whole windows tile thing very weird and everyone has to relearn OS
  8. macrumors 68000

    May 25, 2012
    Hard to say I think windows 8 can be easier to use than osx. I came from windows and mac was not very easy to learn but I like to do custom stuff here and there.

    Mac strikes me more of the do this and that doesnt really matter how it works but if you want to do anything custom its going to take lots more work than windows.
  9. jeutie thread starter macrumors member


    Jul 9, 2011
    As a small update to the situation,

    I spent the morning with my mom letting her use my rMBP in order to see if she could get used to the gestures and all. The whole "Don't think what you should do, just do what you want to do." (e.g: Clicking on something for it to open, or swiping.) really worked well. She did have some trouble with the gestures though, I don't know if it is lack of pressure but the trackpad doesn't really like her fingers. She either doesn't touch the pad enough or too hard. (click)

    My dad however, isn't really that interested. He just wants to know how to do what he wants. If it works, it works and being efficient or not does not matter. This is troublesome trying to explain anything at all, since anything I show him he responds with "I won't ever need that" and 5 seconds later he forgot how to do it.

    I'm pretty sure I could learn my mom how to use it, she has interest in it all. My dad will be more of an issue there. Still I can't quite get over the fact that they are willing to drop such an amount of money simply to access Safari and Mail. (They'll never use an other app I am sure.) *sigh*

    Are there any other people whom learned their (grand)parents how to work with OS X and or the iMac? If so, how did you explain the concept of apps and expanding what you do on a computer?
  10. AT06 macrumors 6502


    Dec 30, 2012
    Winwick, UK
    Other than wanting a new Mac, do they have any real need? If the iPad, being very easy to use, is adequate for their needs then don't waste money getting an iMac.
  11. tom vilsack macrumors 68000

    tom vilsack

    Nov 20, 2010
    ladner cdn
    Forget windows 8,(unless they buy aio touchscreen one) the learning curve without touch will leave them confused. (heck ive used comps for over 33 years and i had to take a couple hours to figure it all out)

    You might consider a google chromebook,but as it's a laptop and rather small i guess it's out of running (but very very easy to use)

    This leaves you with Imac...I would get them 27" model (bigger is always better for older eyes)...then just show them launchpad and they should be good to go....maybe in the dock just leave there favorite programs.
  12. Vandefilm macrumors regular

    Feb 17, 2012
    OSX all the way.
    My dad, who is just as an a-technical person as you had no problem learning how the iPhone worked in a couple of minutes. That is also true for OSX, although the learning curve might be a week or 2. OSX is far better in terms of easiness to use. That also counts for the gestures, but since your mother will be using a mouse for safari en will also use the mouse for photo's that's a none-issue. Certainly with your dad, if he doesn't want to learn something, don't even try. When he smashes the computer because he doesn't know something he wouldn't learn, it's his own fault ;).
  13. Sjhonny macrumors 6502

    Feb 25, 2011
    The land of the cucumbers
    But why should they go trough any other learning curves? The Ipad is more then capable for some document editing, checking your mail ... Maybe buy a bluetooth keyboard.

    And why is a Windows 7 AIO out of the question?
  14. dolemite45 macrumors newbie

    Jun 25, 2010
  15. jeutie thread starter macrumors member


    Jul 9, 2011
    They don't necessarily want a new Mac, they want a new computer, which due to the latest "trends" has to be an All-In-One. My mom especially finds the iPad cumbersome and my dad doesn't get why some things (e.g: website with flash) simply does not work on it.
    A chromebook would suit all their needs except size and style I'm afraid. Though thank you for the suggestion.
    iOS was indeed easy to explain, though, due to his stubbornness he still doesn't get gestures or simple things like copy/paste. OS X would be easier due to the recognizable icons and all though. :) Thank you for your input!
    The iPad is more than capable. I agree with that, but they don't necessarily want to use it for that. I find it a waste of money, but it is still their money. Regarding the Windows 7 AIO, it is not out of question, but the newest, sleekest models (It'll be in the living room so it has to be clean and good looking.) are all Windows 8.
    That would be the ultimate solution. Unfortunately, Belgium does not have Apple Stores and those training sessions at our local redistributors are quite more expensive. :(
  16. forty2j macrumors 68030


    Jul 11, 2008
    You might think about getting both a mouse and a trackpad. Your Dad can probably handle the mouse better. But get a basic USB or wireless mouse.. the Magic Mouse, in my experience, is prone to accidental touches that recognize unintended gestures.

    The magic trackpad also has a different sensitivity level than the rMBP trackpad, so I'm not sure the trackpad recognition issues will translate over to the iMac.
  17. laserfan macrumors member

    Jul 13, 2012
    I think you should fix the computer that broke--anything else will require more training, and support.
  18. Tri-stan macrumors 6502

    Oct 27, 2012
    Fix the computer that broke and keep the ipad. The older generation are not fussy about having the latest and greatest things.
  19. viajy127 macrumors newbie

    Jul 26, 2012
    I too am a MAC noob and am also thinking about getting one for my parents. I though with remote desktop I can assist as necssary and for the things they do (email, web, facetime with grand kids), OSX just does it better.

    Being a noob - can you help me understand your comment above? If closing apps with the red x minimizes them to the dock, how do I actually close them? I realize that if it minimizes to the right side of the dock near the trash can, it is still open.
  20. kaelell macrumors 6502

    Nov 16, 2009
    My Parents, old and retired, over the years I tried many times to teach Windows and then to teach Mac OSx when I moved over myself. But it was a hopeless battle. Explaining basic principles over computing is the challenge.

    But now that they've had a few years with the iPad, which they find really intuitive and easy to use, Ive found it easier to go back to the Mac and try again. Some of those basic core principles, they understand better and when teaching them you can relate tasks back to experiences on the iPad and how it differs or is the same.
  21. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    "She also has bad eyesight and does not like touch."

    Is there any way you can get your mom into an Apple store so that she can view the screen on the new iMacs?

    She may find the pixel size is so small, that text will be difficult for her to read.

    If this is the case, I can suggest an alternative.
    That would be the Mac Mini, coupled to a "medium resolution" monitor such as the Dell S2740L. This is a 27" monitor, but it has the resolution of a standard 24" monitor. What this means is the pixels are larger (.311" on the Dell, as opposed to .230 [approximately] on the iMac display).

    This may not sound like much, but the larger pixels will make "readability" at normal resolution MUCH easier for someone who is visually impaired. The med-rez screen may look "grainy" to you, but it will look GOOD to her.

    Just something to think about.
  22. forty2j macrumors 68030


    Jul 11, 2008
    Command-Q or program menu->Quit to actually quit an application. Right click->Quit on the app in the Dock too. For many apps, the red button just closes the open window; given enough virtual memory it's usually not a problem for the app to be open with no windows, but some people find it annoying / dock clutter / etc. More and more apps are starting to quit when their last window is closed but it's not universal yet.
  23. laryenhilllvr macrumors regular

    Dec 29, 2012
    I would recommend getting the iMac for your parents. It's honestly not that hard for them to get accustomed to and I'm speaking from experience here. When I gave my mother my late 2009 mbp when I upgraded she was a bit hesistant to use it because she was only familiar with windows. I went and signed her up for one-on-one and within a few weeks she was telling me how to do things I never knew was possible! I asked her a few months ago how she liked mac and if she would continue to buy from them and she said absolutely. My father (who has always been a bit thrifty) went and bought a max spec one a few months later and my sister has been trying to convince them to buy her one ever since then.

    Just to give you an idea of how technologically unsavvy my mother was, she would call me and ask how to put music on her ipod.:rolleyes:
  24. MathijsF macrumors member

    Dec 19, 2012
    The Netherlands
    Or you can always download RedQuits to make it close just like it does on Windows :)
  25. jeutie thread starter macrumors member


    Jul 9, 2011
    It was a pentium 3 which the PSU fried the motherboard and processor from. I refuse to fix that. :p
    If I do get a Mac for them, I hope to utilize the same strategy. :)
    I did take her to the store, when standing in front of it, she can read it all good. But I'm afraid that at home, she'll sit further away and therefore have more issues. Regarding the Mac Mini, that is something I did not yet think about. Thanks a lot for the suggestion! :)
    That's an interesting story. It is such a pitty we do not have Apple Stores to have one-on-one sessions here in Belgium. Still, I would love to make such process with parents not liking technology to completely converting them. :D

    As a small update,

    For the time being I've convinced them to just keep the iPad and try managing that way. If it does not work, I'll have to start educating OS X. :) Whilst I was at the store checking if she could easily read text on the 27" iMac, I showed her Windows 8 and she flipped. :rolleyes:

    Thanks for all the input, it is much appreciated. :)

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