Blog Archive

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

How to Survive: Your Two Year Old and Your iPad

The new Apple iPad has blended so seamlessly into our lives that buying it and opening it have become a vague memory. Everything about it is wonderful. The touch screen is a revelation. It turns itself the right way up to suit you. So if you have happened to pick it up upside down, just give it a little shake and it corrects itself immediately. Zoom in on any part of the page with most apps by widening your fingers on the screen. Similarly, narrow your fingers back and zoom back out.

It was so ready to use out of the box, that they don't even ship a manual with it - you literally don't need one to find out how to work it. Just tap things. There is one button on the front of it, tap it to move from one screen to the next. Apple interfaces have always been user-friendly. It is the original 'Windows' GUI after all. Most computers before apple were black-screen text-based, then they came along with their desktop and icons...

It literally took a few minutes to work out what the other buttons do: turn up the volume, switch it off, plug it in to charge.  It comes with YouTube, Safari, iTunes (off course!), App Store, a map, a calendar etc etc.

One thing I didn't realise was about apps. You don't just buy them from the app store. Also there are thousands of free ones! So, I made the big mistake of registering my credit card with the app store straight away because I thought that was the only way to get at the apps. But this is not the case. Although you cannot access the App Store without first registering a card, there are other way around this. Just search on Safari for the app you are looking for.

It looks hard wearing and durable and is robust enough to take normal use. And this is where the two year old comes in...

I thought I was buying a cool new gadget for myself! Not so. To be fair, he is two and a half, but now, a month into the purchase, he can take a plugged in, charging iPad, unplug it (easily) carry it to where he wants to use it (very easily) and start looking up what he wants.

Because once you press the button, things don't seem to close, but just go somewhere into the background, usually, clicking on it brings up a previous session. So, for example, he has learned to look at photos. He can flick from screen to screen but sliding his finger across. He knows about the button to get rid of stuff he does not like. And he knows which pictures to press to get to his favourite apps. He has an alphabet app, which he loves. Then there is Safari, which sometimes leads to iPlayer, on which we only ever seem to watch 'Charlie and Lola' and 'In the Night Garden' for some reason. He can very easily change from one programme to another.

He also knows how to switch on YouTube (worryingly) and sometimes there are the previous day's nursery rhymes there.

I often catch him testing other things to see whether they are touch screens, like the TV and my non-touch screen phone.

I am not sure what Apple's target demographic was for their cute new gadget, but my two year old loves it!

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