Help me lure an iPad (and general computer newbie) to the iPad with great apps
July 16, 2010 6:27 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for iPad app suggestions for and older lady who is new to computers in general and has never used an iPad. What kind of apps are key for everyday iPad use, and what would make someone hesitant to use an iPad pick it up and say "Wow, this is fun (and easy)"? More thoughts inside.

We're getting my mom an iPad (previously AskMe question), and now I'm wondering, what apps would be good for her? Especially things that would make unknown technology more appealing. My wife and I have Droid dataphones/whatnot, so we're not familiar with the Apple App store, and were wondering if anyone had recommendations for apps that an older lady might like (this is a 60th birthday present for her from my dad).

Here are some app types I'm thinking of, but I may be overlooking something wonderful:

* day-to-day utilities: calendar, writing letters, writing notes to yourself, email, picture management

* fun things: brain games, games for idle moments

* great iPad apps: better ways to use Wikipedia is the only thing that's come to mind so far.

There are some prior threads on similar topics are either older, are for iPod Touch/iPhone or may not be ideal suggestions for computer newbies, though I may be over-thinking this whole thing (Seeking cool iPad apps, April 22, 2010; Looking for killer iPod Touch apps, March 29, 2010, linking to a bucket of older threads, etc). I figured that within the last few months there have been a significant increase in iPad apps, or at least some good upscaled/ported apps from the iPod Touch/iPhone app selection. Thanks!
posted by filthy light thief to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I've heard that The Elements for iPad is visually stunning and great to use.

Games-wise, you have to get her Flight Control HD and Angry Birds HD. Oh, and Peggle of course.
posted by Happy Dave at 6:45 AM on July 16, 2010

Wikipanion and Reeder
posted by markmillard at 6:45 AM on July 16, 2010

I don't know if this would affect your mom, but I think that the iPad interface would really be tough for my grandma with arthritis. She manages a computer mouse ok, but if she had to use just a finger or thumb, the other fingers would drag and get in the way. I don't use apple products, so I don't know if their screens correct for multiple finger touches, but it's something I would definitely keep in mind re the iPad decision. I realize this would have been more useful in your other question, but I missed it when it came up.
posted by phunniemee at 6:47 AM on July 16, 2010

Response by poster: phunniemee - my mom's hand-eye coordination seems fine, and I don't believe she has any arthritis. I might have more clarifications on how she interacts it this weekend.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:15 AM on July 16, 2010

Our 11-year old managed to get my mother hooked on bejeweled. There isn't an iPad-specific version of it, but it's one of the few apps that doesn't look totally heinous at the "2X" pixel doubling setting.
posted by jquinby at 7:19 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

MastermindHD, Popplet, Doodle Buddy, Solitaire City, Uzu, Logic Puzzles, BeeCells, Biggest Brain.

Plus news apps, maybe a Twitter app and something like Stanza makes the iPad a wonderful tool for a computer newbie in my opinion.
posted by Mrs Mutant at 7:27 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

Most apps have a lite (free) version so you can try them before you buy
posted by Mrs Mutant at 7:36 AM on July 16, 2010

My mom played Sudoku on our iPad for hours.
She also loved the Weather Channel App and Google Earth.
posted by smelvis at 7:36 AM on July 16, 2010

Make sure you have the home network set up so she can hop on wifi right away.

Other than that, I appreciate that you are coming from a good place with wanting to provide the best experience with the iPad but I think the best gift you can give her is a lesson in browsing the app stop, downloading apps, and deleting unwanted ones. Let her make mistakes and learn from them, just as you did once upon a time.

If you want her to enjoy the iPad you have to give up some of the control and let HER be in the drivers seat for once. She will probably love being the iPad expert in your family after everyone else has trumpeted their own computer expertise over her for years. Let her have that sense of empowerment and ownership.
posted by saucysault at 7:59 AM on July 16, 2010

Google Earth is a good choice - it really shows off the multitouch controls, and it's fun to see both places that are familiar ("Look! There's our grocery store!") and places that are exotic ("Hey, let's visit the world's fair in Shanghai!").

Brushes is an awesome (finger)painting product. There are others, but, if she gets into it, Brushes has more room to grow.
posted by OneMonkeysUncle at 8:15 AM on July 16, 2010

If you pay a small fee (I think $15/year), NY Times has a nice crossword app. I have Mondo Solitaire and like is. It has dozens of different card games.

I use Articles for Wikipedia.

The NY Times app is okay. It could be better but it's a nice way to get the main headlines. I used USA Today's but didn't care for it as much, and haven't done too much more looking for news apps.

The built-in calendar, contacts, and email apps all work great. You may want to set the email up for her and import her calendar and contacts.

My mom was captivated by the tour of iBooks that I gave her. She loved that you can change the font size and especially that you can tap and hold words to get the dictionary definitions right there.
posted by davextreme at 8:43 AM on July 16, 2010

Articles and Wikipanion are both nice wikipedia portals.

For notes I like Simplenote which syncs with Notational Velocity, but if syncing notes back to the computer is not important then HelvetiNote looks great.

Digits is a beautiful calculator.

Blokus is a great iPhone game and works pretty well with pixel doubling. Words with Friends is a popular scrabble game.
posted by ridogi at 9:24 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

On mine I have (and love) Epicurious, GodFinger, Kindle, Netflix, NPR, Osmos, Real Sol, Tetari, Uno, and Weather Station.
posted by msbutah at 11:32 AM on July 16, 2010

Response by poster: In the first few hours, Mom was just getting used to it, and was enjoying the experience. Next weekend: installing and managing apps.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:18 AM on July 19, 2010

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