iPad

Apple iPad UI is tested by a two-year-old

BNET contributor Todd Lappin posted a video of his daughter's first encounter with the Apple iPad. He says the experience can teach the tech industry a few things about how to make and market great products.

BNET contributor Todd Lappin posted a video of his adorable 2.5 year-old daughter's first encounter with his Apple iPad.

Here's what he writes about his daughter's experience with the device:

As you can see, my kid took right to it. She uses my iPhone a lot, so she was already familiar with the basic elements of the interface. But she also mastered the new aspects of the iPad instantly -- including figuring out how to 2x enlarge some of her favorite iPhone-legacy apps to display full-size on the iPad screen. If you're good at understanding kid-speak, you'll also notice that she immediately saw its potential as a video-display device. And echoing an often-heard gripe about the iPad, it took her exactly 20 seconds to lament the lack of a camera. She also wondered about its potential for playing games.

But the experience wasn't perfect: My daughter had the same frustration as many adults, where touching the screen-edge with your thumb while holding the iPad blocks input to all home screen icons. Notice also that she was confused by the splash page for FirstWords Animals, her favorite spelling game: Because the start button looked like a graphic, rather than a conventional button, she couldn't figure out how to start the game.

Since posting the video, he says that his daughter has become an Internet sensation. Read Lappin's BNET post to find out what he thinks his daughter's Apple iPad test can teach the tech industry about how to make and market great products.

Marvel app on the iPad

TechRepublic purchased two iPads (one of which was recently cracked open), and we'll post our reviews in the coming weeks. (Some of us might already, jokingly, refer to one of the iPads as "My Precious.") [Update on 4/28/10: Read Jason Hiner's business review of the Apple iPad.] My initial reaction when I saw the iPad is what many folks said when it was announced: It looks like a big iPhone. It's been fun playing around with the iPad at the office; then again, I didn't shell out $500 of my own money for the device.

If you bought or have played around with the Apple iPad, how long did it take you to get familiar with the UI? What are your major frustrations with the device? What do you like most about it? Do you already have a favorite app? Share your thoughts and experiences in the discussion.

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About

Mary Weilage is a Senior Editor for CBS Interactive. She has worked for TechRepublic since 1999.

39 comments
dcolbert
dcolbert

One of the bigger marketing ploys of Mac Classic OS was that Koko the Gorilla used a Mac to communicate using sign language. What exactly is so impressive of a computer that is so simple that even a 2 year old or a Gorilla can use it? I personally don't think I need electronic gadgets that have been dumbed-down to the "pre-preschool" or "proto-human" level, and can only imagine that a device that works well for those categories is going to have frustrating limitations from the perspective of my adult mind. I'm not trying trying to belittle that it is cute that this guy's daughter is enjoying her experience with the iPad and that the device is working out well for her... It is cool that the iPad works well for the Fisher-Price crowd. I'm just not sure how that relates to if I will enjoy the product or not, or that it is the best strategy to imply that I will.

Gis Bun
Gis Bun

I guess Apple can hire Lappin's daughter. "If a 2.5 year old can work with it... Anyone can." or "You don't have to be THAT smart to use an iPad." :-) Actually I wonder if this was staged. The kid seemed to jump right into it. Know where to "scroll".

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

as you say...She uses my iPhone a lot, so she was already familiar with the basic elements of the interface.

charles.homsy
charles.homsy

The ipad so dumb a two year old can use it! Great tag line if you're in kindergarten, as an adult it should scar everyone over the age of eight to run the other way.

sysop-dr
sysop-dr

This exactly illustrates what makes the iPod and it's derivitives the great set of simple to use devices and why I will never own one. Yes a kid can use it, but because it is so easy to use it is also so limited in what it can do. I use Windows Mobile devices because they have the cpu power and attributes that make them great portable computing devices. For instance, I have 4 wndows mobiule devices. Why 4? Because I keep buying new ones and using wifi and mpi I now have a wearable super computer. Yes, extremely hard to use, very geeky and when I need to run the custom applications we use for working I don't have to drive back to the lab to run my computations. And I can stilllisten to music, use the gps, call home with results and still work. You can't do that with the iPad or iPhone.

yobtaf
yobtaf

That made my day.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"It's been fun playing around with the iPad at the office; then again, I didn't shell out $500 of my own money for the device." Nuff said. And the video finally clears up the question of the target market for this device: pre-schoolers. The iPad isn't competing with Windows laptops or tablets; it's competing with Mattel's 'See and Say' and the Fisher-Price 'Buzy Box' :-)

Stephen Borchert
Stephen Borchert

Adorable, indeed. I liked the little "thank you" after Daddy pointed out the button. More UI testing by non-geeks would make many devices easier to use.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Thanks for the link, Mary. It's good to see the iPad is helping somebody, but no matter how much I scrub my brain, I still don't see a need for it in my life or work.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Or look at more than just the pictures. The first two sentences of the contributor's comments are: [i]As you can see, my kid took right to it. She uses my iPhone a lot, so she was already familiar with the basic elements of the interface. [/i]

nwallette
nwallette

Stop thinking of the iPad as a laptop that doesn't fold shut. Think of it as a prototype for a next-gen user interface that just happens to have a lot of really cool and useful demonstration apps.

bckerr
bckerr

Too funny! I loved your analogy with "see and say", and the executive "etch a sketch" laptop. Loved it!

williams
williams

I found a 64 GB Wifi model for sale in the UK (or Treasure Island, as some companies call it) for ?759 or approx $1170......

chuvard
chuvard

I can think of dozens of busy executives who, when traveling, can get substantial work done on this device. Presentations, spreadsheets, letters, emails, all as easy as touching a screen. Many of these guys are borderline computer-illiterate. This is the perfect market for the iPad.

Economix
Economix

How long have these devices like handhelds (Blackberry, Palms, Netbooks) and iPhones/iPads been available? In the scheme of computing, not very long at all. Sure, Apple at the moment isn't making it the best enterprise tool (though I've read iPhone 4G will be much closer to enterprise). BUT, from a conceptual and development standpoint, this is the future! It's VERY easy to use, ultra portable, and dynamic in it's ability. The code isn't the easiest to write for now (HTML5 will help a TON though to make everything under the sun available to the Apple series). However, no code was ever easy to write at first! I think these units regardless of current capabilities show a great deal of promise. Development and licensing is a matter of time. Windows wasn't great, or acceptable until XP (IMHO). There's no exacting formula and no current manufacturer supplies a portable unit we ALL agree on. For now, shun the iPad and iPhone, but they're becoming the standard and as more people realize the capability and Apple begins to let their guard down (ie. adopting Adobe would be nice, Google Voice, Office utilities, etc) these things will be sweeter than honey. We're not far from it, not as fast as technology moves. I use the WebEx presentation tools all the time, nice for on the go meetings and tough to beat on any other device. JD Edwards tools too - though in reality JD Edwards sucks ass. Feel free to call it a toy, but it's not far from being something spectacular. soon enough it will have remote wipe-outs too, that's just around the corner. The more we ask for the more we seem to get answers on these devices. It's really in it's infancy, maybe growth period. Cheers

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

another breakable with a larger target area. I've been supporting the Fujitsu Ipad for two years now. The most common problem? Broken touch screen.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

We adopt changes all the time. Few of them involve consumer-grade devices; fewer are adopted in the first month of their release; fewer still in a brand new product category when competing models are in the pipeline. Little changes like virtualization, VPN, WiFi, and a bunch of other technologies that were adopted in the corporate world before they trickled down to consumers in improved, affordable versions. Failure to adopt a device on Day One isn't shunning change. Adopting a device before you've identified a use for it is foolish. "Think of it as a prototype..." I don't get paid to test Apple's prototypes (or Microsoft's 'gamma releases' either). Call me in six month when Apple doubles the RAM and cuts the price by 30%, like they've done with every other iDevice. What's the rush?

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

since Apple announced two days ago they won't be rolling out iPads outside the US until late May. I would question this offer.

hauskins
hauskins

more and more people to use computers without being programmers or engineers. A computer should allow people to do the things they want- email, document creation, image exchange, number crunching without having a degree in computer science or engineering. Keep in mind it is the Apps that drive the iPhone and iPad. The Apps allow you to be as simple or complex as you wish. I saw a piece on PBS the other night of a doctor that has already adapted his iPad into his surgery... pretty nifty for a supposed a toy.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Like I said, two-year-olds :D I keep an Etch-A-Sketch on my bench for people to doodle with if their repairs won't take much time. We refer to it as 'the executive laptop'.

Economix
Economix

Since no one replied to my post, I will. "Wow, that makes a ton of sense, and a metric ton for that matter! That guy's really got his shit straight. We should elect him Pope of agricultural awesomeness, a title befitting such genius." I agree, thank you response version of me.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

It's the nasty evil little gremlin that lives in the hardware that's at fault. beating the crap out of the gremlin doesn't make the unit work any better as the gremlin gets peeved off and plays up all the more but it sure makes you feel better. :D Col

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

When I would get frustrated with some piece of hardware, I'd get out the dead one and beat on it. I've since outgrown the notion that the hardware is somehow actively at fault.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

the one kind of broken often leads to the other kind of broken: "Aw, c'mon!" [poke][poke][poke] "Why won't this thing respond?" [poke][poke][poke][poke][poke][poke] "D@mmit!" Crack...

jfuller05
jfuller05

yeah, that's a little different........ :)

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

I was thinking this kind of broken. edit: to to too

jfuller05
jfuller05

I've had friends tell me they locked their iPhone, but the phone would make calls on it's own, like when the iPhone would be in their pocket (supossed to be locked). AT T tells them that it's a problem they have with iPhones and there isn't much you can do about it. Nice.

nwallette
nwallette

Don't put it on your enterprise network then. (That was another blog post, BTW.) I just feel sorry for a device that gets poo-poo'd by the IT community at large because (pick one or more): - It's built by a company that realizes hardware is only half the equation of a successful product (especially a relatively new and/or niche one). - It's built by a company that is successful at creating consumer-friendly products that don't cater quite as much to tweakers and hackers. But they WORK, and they're stupid-simple to use. - It's built by a company that refuses to put in features that are half-baked or don't work very well until they are polished or the hardware catches up to the level of performance necessary to make them feel effortless. [See: Multitasking.] - It's new and people don't get it, or its potential, yet. Just wait. In a few months or a year, you'll see lots of competing products that run OSes that aren't quite as snazzy as Apple's, but they'll let you do whatever you want. They won't be nearly as successful I'm sure, and maybe that's just because of clever marketing. But your freedom comes at a price. Like the fact that at least on a walled-garden like the App Store, you aren't going to catch a virus or install a product that borks your OS. In the meantime, Apple (again) shows the world what COULD and CAN be. It's not perfect. Not bug free. Not everything to everyone, but it exists, NOW, and inspires the less "visionary" companies to quit resting on their laurels. Consider this: Give Apple touch technology, they create a series of very useful, usable products. Give Microsoft touch technology, they make a table. Now, before anyone starts screaming FANBOI!, let it be known: "I'm a PC." I just have respect for Apple and see a great deal of potential in the technology straight out of science fiction that they bring down to us ordinary people. Side note: Does anyone remember the AT&T commercials from years back, where they had some dude on a beach with a tablet, making calls and checking emails on a touchscreen? "And the company that will bring it to you... AT&T." Well, they were kind of right. They brought the 3G. ;-)

jfuller05
jfuller05

Or iTwitter? I know I don't know everyone that has an iPhone, but I've asked the people I do know with an iPhone, and most, if not all, only use the Facebook app. They text, use Facebook, and if they're desperate, they might actually use the iPhone to call someone, even if it is grueling for them. :D

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

These aren't the droids you're looking for. Move along.

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

to install the thing in the first place these days...or so the averege user would say.

TexasJetter
TexasJetter

There was a strip where Dilbert had to remind the Executive how to "reboot" his laptop (an Etch-A-Sketch) by shaking it...classic

Economix
Economix

I dunno Palmetto, I've seen some of these threads catch like wildfire. and there are plenty of fanboys and haters to make this a good topic, guess they all missed it though - it's Friday for freaks sake, we're people actually working?! How long can apple stay closed to the demands of consumers? They're already at war with Google on the Android OS and their smartphone offerings being too similar to the iPhone (and maybe even coded the same in some areas, leave that for courts to rule on). Eventually the iPad will have a direct contender (HP has one in the works, don't recall the name, then again it's an HP) and supposedly it will offer all that the iPad does, or close to it...except be more business applicable. HOWEVER, it will be a Windows version, which brings us back to the "it's a tablet PC or Netbook, just in notepad" category. I guess, to your point - "I agree, call me when they achieve it" - it's all there for the taking and domination if Apple wants to allow it to happen. If it doesn't generate a direct stream of revenue for them though, then it's off their list - Flash. You're right, they're not going to let their guard down until someone makes something better - scratch Wackberry out and anything Windows for the time being. Maybe Google soon though. HTML5 may hold the keys to these issues though, and Apple can't stop that - hooray webapps! Until then, I will continue to Jailbreak my Apple devices and make them as powerful and bad ass as I want to. I guess we'll see how this all unfolds, we don't have any other choice. Er, except to get on with our lives and all. Here's to weekends, cheers!

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

you may be on the wrong site. "How long have these devices like ... iPhones/iPads been available?" According to Apple, the iPad is a brand new class of device, so ones like it have been available for about two weeks. "...from a conceptual and development standpoint, this is the future!" So was the Lisa. So was the Newton. So was Microsoft Bob. So was OS2. So was MS Tablet. So was the CueCat. So is RFID. So was satellite radio. So was Betamax and 12" laser disks. "I think these units regardless of current capabilities show a great deal of promise." I agree. Call me when they achieve it. "...and Apple begins to let their guard down..." They've shown no signs of that in the past. What indicators lead you to think they're going to change their business model? Their war with Adobe over Flash may not be to the death, but it someone's walking out of it with mess of bruises.

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