iPad for an Old Dad??

Discussion in 'iPad' started by MissyTX, Mar 8, 2010.

  1. MissyTX macrumors newbie

    Mar 8, 2010
    My father is 76 years old and lives by himself. He has had one computer. It was a PC that he got about 10 years ago and it stopped working about 6 years ago. He is now wanting a way to keep in touch with me and to see pictures of his grand kids. He does not have a cell phone and actually owns a reel to reel player. My question is would just an iPad work for him? I was thinking if I got him an iPad with the 3G then he would not have to also buy an internet service. The thing would be portable so he could sit in his recliner and use it. All he really wants to do is e-mail and pictures. Of course he has no concept of what all can be done. I have tried to explain that he would be able to keep up with me on Facebook, but he has no idea what i am talking about and thinks I just mean e-mail. I have debated getting him an iMac or the iPad. The iMac would cost a lot more and he would have to get high speed internet hooked up at his house so I am thinking maybe the iPad would work. Could he have the iPad 3g without having to get internet service and without having an actual computer? I know this is all going to be over his head no matter what we do, but I would like to go with the easier cheaper option if it will work for him. Would he be able to print from the iPad? Let me know what you guys think and what you would do or get in this situation. Thanks so much. :)
  2. diabolic macrumors 68000

    Jun 13, 2007
    Austin, Texas
  3. Gav2k macrumors G3


    Jul 24, 2009
    yes it would be perfect for him as it's a simple device to use.

  4. diabolic macrumors 68000

    Jun 13, 2007
    Austin, Texas
    Can you show me how he'd use it without ever syncing it to iTunes? Like an iPhone/iPod Touch, it's designed to be synced with iTunes.

    Personally, I wouldn't be comfortable syncing and setting up an iPad on my system, then giving it my parents and hoping it never needed to be synced again.

    I'd love for it to work out of the box without needing another computer, but from everything they've shown, it doesn't look that way.

    EDIT: They list Mac and PC system requirements right on the iPad Tech Specs page.
  5. danlovaj macrumors regular

    May 9, 2009
    Yes I agree it is APPEARS simple to use. But until any of us have one in our hands, lets not get ahead of ourselves. I'd wait a week or two to see if any problems come out with the initial shipment. Don't want any yellow screens like the new iMacs or such. But if you are sure, then go for the iPad. It should be more intuitive then an iMac, since you just need to point and touch.
  6. jerryrock macrumors 6502


    Sep 11, 2007
    Amsterdam, NY
    What's the deal with the wireless plan in the United States?
    Apple and AT&T are offering a pretty good deal on 3G service for the iPad. There are two options: US$15 a month for 250MB of data, or unlimited data for US$29.99 a month. The bonus is that you don't have to sign any contracts that bind you to the device for two years. Each option can be prepaid for a month in advance. Again, you need the iPad 3G model, which bumps up the baseline price of the device to US$629 (16GB), US$729 (32GB), and US$829 (64GB).

    No synching required. The itune store is available on the device.
  7. diabolic macrumors 68000

    Jun 13, 2007
    Austin, Texas
    The store is available on the iPhone/Touch also, but they still need to be synced.
  8. puckhead193 macrumors G3


    May 25, 2004
    He/you will need to sync it with itunes for software updates.
    Also I would invest in the dock/keyboard thing as typing might be easier.
  9. Gav2k macrumors G3


    Jul 24, 2009
    they have to list a pc or mac in the requirements as the initial sync. Tbh there is no need to plug an iPhone or iPod touch in after the first sync except for updates. All purchased media for iTunes or the app store can be redownloaded if there is an issue.
  10. MacVDS macrumors regular

    Nov 14, 2007
    Philomath Oregeon
    Well, maybe not technically "untrue" but to use all the features it helps. Plus upgrades would require iTunes on a computer. I guess if you're willing to populate his iPad from time to time with photos and doing the upgrades, it might be a possible alternative. I can't think of an easier device for web surfing without a wifi set up. If you do it, let us know how it works out for him. There are some that think this is the "target market". ;)
  11. GeekGirl* macrumors 65816


    Feb 26, 2009
    Buffalo, NY
    nope untrue
  12. pirateRACE macrumors 6502

    Feb 1, 2010
    I've met several iPhone users who don't even own a computer. They just use email and light web surfing so it's cheaper to get an iPhone with data plan then a cell phone, computer and broadband internet.

    You will probably need to sync to iTunes once, but it can be done on your computer and then you can give it to your dad. For new photos, you can just email them to him or share via MobileMe or some other site he can save the pictures from.

    Odds are that the $14.99/month (250MB) data plan would be enough for him as well.

    I would advise backing it up for him every so often.
  13. Julien macrumors G4


    Jun 30, 2007
    Sorry but your Untrue is Untrue. In order to even activate and register an iPad you must connect to a PC. If you just buy an iPad you can never even boot it up.
  14. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Jul 17, 2008
    Assuming that the OP is willing to initialize the iPad before giving it to his dad, the main problem with using an iPad without syncing regularly with a computer is no backup. I've read too many threads in the iPhone forums that go, "HELP! My iPhone died and my contacts/media/photos/whatever was not backed up. How can I get them back?" The answer, unfortunately, is you can't.
  15. vini-vidi-vici macrumors 6502

    Jan 7, 2010
    And you know this because....?

    I realize the iPod touch works that way, and the iPad might... but we just don't know.
  16. Bodhi395 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2008
    I think this is a very good test of how far reaching the ipad can be if senior citizens are able to use it and like using it. I think it should be easier to use than a computer since the touch interface is much more intuitive than using a mouse(I know it took my grandma awhile to get the hang of the mouse). The big question though would be weather they could pick up the virtual keyboard, since that might take a bit of a learning curve compared to a physical computer keyboard. Besides that though, most senior citizens would never need the extra features a computer has, and the ipad would offer them everything they would use.

    I think the main issue would be syncing it back to a computer, although do you need to do that automatically when you take an ipad out of the box or can you just start using it? If you did need to sync it, I think most senior citizens could merely sync it intially with a relatives computer and then may never need to sync it again, unless they wanted to have the most current iphone OS software updates, and even then that would only be every few monthes at the most.

    Also, I think if you just had it hooked up via 3G and no wifi, you'd have to make sure he had a really good 3G signal in his house, and then I think it would be all right. It probably would be cheaper than buying high speed internet access in his home and buying a wireless router. You probably could even go with the $15 250 mb plan since he'd probably not use it for much more than email and light web surfing.
  17. thejakill macrumors 6502


    Sep 8, 2005
    Don't waste your time and money setting him up with a new-fangled ipad. Just put your pics on reel-to-reel and mail it to him. He's already got the player for it.
  18. Chupa Chupa macrumors G5

    Chupa Chupa

    Jul 16, 2002
    OP: If you are willing to use your computer to support your dad's iPad its a great solution. 99% of the functionality of the iPad does not require a computer. All you need to do is set your dad up with an iTunes account, presumably with his CC, and the iPad works fine as a stand-alone device as long as he has access to WiFi.

    You can then put pics up on a web site like Picassa or Flickr and he can just log on to see them, or you can email them, etc.

    If he wants an app he can d/l direct from the iPad
    If he wants a song he can d/l direct from the iPad
    If he wants a book, mag, video... direct from the iPad

    Assuming you have a laptop, whenever you see him you can just do a sync then to backup his stuff and if needed, update the firmware.
  19. bobr1952 macrumors 68020


    Jan 21, 2008
    Melbourne, FL
    I think it could work quite nicely--in theory anyway. You get it running for your dad and then sync occasionally or maybe only if there are problems. I don't really think the backup issue would be of great importance to your dad, if the stuff on it is mostly from you, anything lost would be put back by you when you get your hands on his iPad. I think it could work.
  20. Gav2k macrumors G3


    Jul 24, 2009
    Have you never activated an iPod touch or iPhone in an apple store? As I've said you don't need a computer and I'll stand by it ;)
  21. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Jul 17, 2008
    I think the big if is the "if the stuff on it is mostly from you." One thread I saw in the iPhone forum concerned someone's dad who had started using the contacts app, but didn't know to backup his contacts. Ouch. What if the OPs dad starts buying songs on the iPad? Last I checked, iTunes didn't allow you to redownload purchased media -- if you lost them, you have to repurchase them. What if he figures out how to save photos from websites, and builds up a collection of favorite photos he finds from all over the web?

    But if only Apple provided a means to backup the iPad without a computer, like maybe to a Time Capsule, then I agree that the iPad could serve well as the only computing device for people like the OPs dad, or in fact for a significant portion of the general public, who use the computer only for a few things, like email, web browsing, and photos/video/music.
  22. cRuNcHiE macrumors 6502a

    Jan 2, 2007
    And do you go back to the apple store if you need to update the firmware? Do they tell you to get lost while they relieve someone else of their money.

    You can re-download apps, but you can't redownload music can you?

    You dont NEED petrol in a car as long as you are always going downhill
  23. bossxii macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    Kansas City
    Yes, actually you can. If you send an email to itunes support, you can have EVERYTHING you downloaded from the iTMS "reset" to download. I think their is a limit to once every 12 months but it it possible. You need to enter a redemption code, but it works similar to the apps.

    The firmware is the only thing someone would need to sync for. Backups can be done via apps such as iDisk, Dropbox and services like Mobileme.com. Just because you haven't heard of something, doesn't mean it's not possible. My wife has the 3G version and likely hasn't connected it to the desktop in nearly a year. No clue what OS she's running but it doesn't effect her daily use and all here contacts, calender events and email is always backed up via Mobile me.

    Think outside the box and anything is possible :)
  24. mrgreen4242 macrumors 601


    Feb 10, 2004
    As a couple people mentioned, after the initial sync you would be all set in terms of REQUIRING a computer. Depending how far you are from your Dad this would probably be a good solution. If something goes wrong, you are unlikely to be able to remotely help him (iChat screen sharing is great for fixing my parents computers, though they rarely need that now that I've got them on Macs).

    My Mom does this with an iPod touch for my Grandma. It's sync'd to her (my Mom's) MacBook and my Grandma uses it for email, Facebook, and browsing the web. She downloads apps (she's partial to card and slots games :p) directly on the device, and podcasts as well as books through the Kindle store. My Mom puts audiobooks and TV shows on it for her every month or so when they visit - they live about 2.5 hours apart.

    As long as you were in driving distance and could shoot over on the weekend to help out, I would think this would be great. If not, and there is an Apple store nearby him, you might check into getting the one to one service for him so he could go to the retail store for help.
  25. diabolic macrumors 68000

    Jun 13, 2007
    Austin, Texas
    I'm not sure I'd want to be thinking too far outside the box when finding something for my 76 year old father to use.

Share This Page