I strongly recommend adding a keyboard to a senior parent’s iPad if typing is important! Dad thinks it’s a “game changer.”
Over the past three months he’s used his iPad in a variety of ways, but when he wants to type more than a word or two, he is frustrated by the iPad’s touch keyboard.
I purchased a keyboard at the Apple store, and yesterday when I took it out of the box, Dad was typing away on the legal pad within two minutes. He’s a quick study. By the time I left a couple of hours later, he had typed several half-page memos and journal entries. He especially likes that he can type on the yellow pad and then e-mail his thoughts with just a couple of touches. Because Dad is at heart an editor, he wants to correct his typos, so the new keyboard makes that much easier as well.
Printing is next, but my parents’ wireless printing is not working just now. And also in the near future is a word processing app.
Another especially cool iPad keyboard feature is its dock. The iPad sits at the back of the keyboard, connected to the charging port — no additional wires are necessary. Moreover, when the iPad is docked on the keyboard, it sits upright — good because Dad doesn’t always want it in his lap. Getting the iPad into the dock securely takes some practice, and if it is not secure the keyboard may work, but the iPad can fall backwards at the slightest touch.
Dad asked about the difference between YouTube and Safari, explaining that he has trouble finding some YouTube videos with a browser. I explained that this is just a fact of life, encouraging him to start with YouTube if he is looking for a video.
We practiced searching YouTube for academic presentations — philosophy lectures, lectures on John Locke, lectures on Lord Byron and other philosophers and poets. Dad uses the keyboard for longer searches such as these. We found multiple lectures on each topic, delivered by college and university faculty members from all over the world. We joked that he might get some tuition bills in his e-mail.
Last night he wrote some iPad thoughts on the legal pad using his new keyboard and e-mailed them to me. I’ll post them in the next iPad for Dad series.