99 Years Old, Never Used a Computer, Finds the iPad a Joy To Use

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Russell and I can prattle on all day long about best use cases for the iPad, but here is one that kicks us straight to the curb: helping a 99 year old visually impaired woman, who has never used a computer, to rediscover the joy of reading and writing.

The video above shows Virginia, a 99 year old woman from Oregon, getting to know the iPad. 

Virginia has apparently grown very fond of the device already, since getting one a couple weeks ago.  The iPad is allowing her, despite impaired vision, to enjoy reading and writing again. She has already read two books and composed 12 limericks on it.

One of Virginia’s daughters was kind enough to trade a few quick messages with me this morning, and share a little more on how she came to get an iPad and her experience with it. Here’s what she had to say:

Virginia bought it on the first day it was released. Her middle daughter and son-in-law picked it up and gave it to her on Easter. She loves to write limericks and has written hundreds on them. Virginia could no longer read large print books so the iPad works perfectly. She does not have internet connection and only uses the iPad for reading and writing, but that is all she wanted to do. The large type and in particular the bright screen are especially important for someone with Glaucoma. She hopes older people will embrace this new technology. Virginia had never used a computer until she got her iPad. It took her very little time to catch on to how it works. She is very quick and clever. The iPad is hers not shared with the rest of the family. She is the envy of her friends in her retirement home, and loves to show them how it works.

We did research to determine what device would allow her to read again. We are Apple fans and knew that the iPad might have the advantage of also allowing her to write. She cannot use a device with a mouse as she would never be able to see where the cursor was on the screen. A touch screen keyboard with large type is perfect. She does have trouble seeing the punctuation marks and the smaller type at the top of the tool bar, but she is memorizing the position of all of these things. The iPad fits the bill and so we bought it. She says it is an elegant device and a joy to use.

And here is Virginia’s limerick in tribute to the iPad itself, just in case you didn’t catch it in the video:

To this technical-ninny it’s clear

In my compromised 100th year

That to read and to write

Are again within sight

Of this Apple iPad pioneer.

OK, I’ll admit I’m a sucker for soppy stories like this.  I also believe this is a great illustration of the real ‘magical’ element of the iPad and the iPhone platform.  It’s not about the hardware specs and whether it has USB ports.  It’s about being a device and an OS that’s incredibly easy to use, and such a joy to use, that someone like Virginia can just get straight into her reading and writing. 

I Hope it gives many years of good service to Virginia – there’s nothing like the joy of reading.

Patrick Jordan

Founder and Editor in Chief of iPad Insight. Husband, father to a lovely daughter, Commander of the Armies of the North, dog lover (especially Labs), Austinite, former Londoner, IT consultant, huge sports nut, iPad and mobile tech blogger, mobile apps junkie.

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