First the iPad was a huge success in the consumer electronics space. Then it made major inroads in the enterprise arena. Now, it looks like it’s a big hit in a brand new, slightly unexpected area – among Orangutans at the Milwaukee Zoo.
Over the last six months these intelligent apes have been enjoying playing games and watching videos on the iPad at the zoo.
Orangutans, like their great ape brethren (gorillas, chimpanzees, and humans), are intelligent, inquisitive creatures — and, perhaps hinting at our shared genetic ancestry, they find the shiny, bright allure of an iPad almost irresistible. So far their favorite iPad pastimes have been games like Doodle Buddy and Flick Flick Football, and watching videos. One of the orangutans, a 31-year-old called MJ, is apparently a big fan of David Attenborough’s nature documentaries. “The orangutans loved seeing videos of themselves – so there is a little vanity going on – and they like seeing videos of the orangutans who are in the other end of the enclosure,” Richard Zimmerman of Orangutan Outreach said. “So if we incorporate cameras, they can watch each other.
Orangutans are an endangered species, and Orangutan Outreach has an admirable additional goal for their work with Orangutans and iPads, as noted by Sebastian Anthony at extremetech.com:
Ultimately, putting (ruggedized!) iPads in the hands of our fellow hominids serves another purpose too: Orangutan Outreach hopes that by seeing these sentient, self-aware, and intelligent animals playing with the same gadgets as us — by reducing the gap between man and monkey — we’ll be more inclined to support their charity, and also to take better care of the environment (Indonesian orangutans are critically endangered due to human activity).
I wouldn’t bet on it, but it would be great to see Apple work some Orangutan and iPad footage into an iPad ad.