design and marketing blog

apr 3, 2010

April 3rd officially declared “iDay”

Kari-Lynn O’Neil — Partner and Strategist, eightseconds

The doorbell rang at about 10:30 Saturday morning, and everyone ran down the stairs like it was Christmas day. April 3rd, 2010. iPad day had arrived.

We purchased the wifi version of the iPad for my in-laws. My father-in-law has vision problems, so the ability to adjust the screen size and type fonts for reading books and browsing the internet was one of the reasons we thought he’d like one. My husband and I had gone back and forth on whether or not the technology would be intimidating for them. Up until now, they have remained firmly in the PC camp, despite our love of Macs. We ordered away, figuring if they didn’t like it, we wouldn't have a problem keeping it for ourselves. (Of course.)

Once we opened up the package and played around with it, we knew “game-changer” was no overstatement. I don’t care how tech-challenged you are, if you can operate a microwave, withdraw cash from a bank machine or use a charge card at the grocery store, you can use an iPad.

I couldn’t help but picture Steve Jobs as a modern day Wizard of Oz. The twenty first century Willy Wonka of technology, checking to see who was blogging, tweeting and downloading upon releasing his “golden ticket” after months of speculation and nay-saying. If I were him, I would have felt like a kid giving the best present in the world. It was that cool.

We saw the endless possibilities given our profession in advertising and new media, but the real test would be putting it in the hands of two retired people who didn’t use computers for much more than checking email, passing jokes and playing games like Bejeweled.

We met for Easter brunch at Kil@wat in the Intercontinental, Milwaukee. After a round of Mimosas, we slid the box over and watched as they opened it up. At first there was a little hesitation. My husband had predicted that and downloaded some books, classic black and white films, a few photo albums, big band music, and a couple of apps. He even had his email account set up and ready to go, too.

Once they saw those photos and watched a few minutes of the Big Chill, their eyes lit up. The interface was so natural to use, his dad didn’t even have to think about how to work it. Touching the screen to slide, choosing what to read and pinching to enlarge the screen came to him automatically. When he saw the WeatherBug app with the storm fronts and cameras, he was sold. His eyes were sparkling and he was grinning like a school boy!

To create a technological gem like the iPad is quite an achievement. To make it financially accessible at $499 is remarkable. To make it easy to adapt for those who are unused to new technology and who have physical limitations is brilliant. Nice work Steve Jobs. Game changer, yes. Life changer, absolutely.

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