Guest Post: How iPads Became Truly Universal Devices

It is hard to imagine these days that there was a time when many people had no internet access. These days most of us have internet access in our pocket 24/7, and even our mothers and grandmothers know how to send e-mails and text messages.

But not that long ago, this was not the case. Until recently, technology was far less accessible and was something that only a select few were able to use. Once, if you were to boot up a computer you would be greeted with a text interface asking you to type a 'command' – and even after that, interaction was still fiddly and complicated. Just imagine learning to use a mouse for the first time!

This was something though that Apple – and specifically Steve Jobs – always sought to change. With the original Apple 2 computer, Jobs attempted to show that the world was ready for commercial computing, and when he returned to prominence with the iPhone and the iPad, he gave us all something even better – the power of a PC in a device that you could hold with one hand. Add in a whole new – and much more intuitive – form of interaction, and you finally have a device that can be used by anyone. Finally, the technophobes, the elderly, the disabled and everyone else would have access to the full power of computers.

This was when technology truly became universal for the first time, and in many ways it was a pivotal turning point for the tech industry and society at large. But what makes the iPad and the iPhone so universal and so easy to pick up and use? Let's take a look at how Apple, Jobs and iPad helped put technology literally in our hands.

The Display

The first thing that makes the iPad such a universally accepted device was the intuitive input. Steve Jobs long argued that the most natural form of human interface would always be one that used the human hand. Not a mouse – a hand.

Ever since early childhood, we learn to interact with the world with our hands – reach out and touch something and you will get a response. The iPad plays on this, and makes it easier than ever before to use a computer as a result.

Something else about the display worth mentioning of course is just how big and bright it is. This is a display that is easy to see; no one will needs to squint (and you can enlarge text by pinching or changing the settings if text is even remotely difficult to read). The contrasting colours used in the device only help this to be even more the case, and then if you still struggle you can always hold it closer!

The Interface

At the same time, the interface is also built perfectly in terms of design. The icons you use to find your way around are large and colourful meaning that even those with poor vision won't have a hard time locating them – often they literally call out to be pressed. They are often based on familiar images making them very intuitive and easy to find. Looking for the phone function? Then just click the icon that looks like an old fashioned phone. Looking for the calendar? That's the one that looks like a calendar.

The Build

The build of the iPad also helps in this. Not only is the iPad incredibly light meaning that someone who isn't physically very confident can easily hold it in one hand, but it's also incredibly ergonomic in terms of the weight and the grip. This is something that feels pleasant to hold, that has no buttons in the way, and that you aren't going to accidentally drop very easily.

The Uses

On top of all that, the iPad is also a device that's easy for anyone to get. You don't have to be a genius to work out what to do with it, and it's not the kind of thing that will only apply to a niche audience. Everyone can use an iPad for something and no matter what your demographic, you will find a good reason to learn. And once you have the incentive, technology often isn't that hard to decipher.

Author Bio:

Nancy Baker, the author of this article, is a freelance blogger, currently writing for Procept Consulting; a company that offers project management governance. She is a tech enthusiast and enjoys playing tennis and squash. You can contact her on Twitter @Nancy Baker.


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