Tuesday, May 4, 2010

IPad appears to be clicking with seniors

"Rita Schena, a 78-year-old retired teacher, is not the kind of person who waits in line for the release of a new tech gadget.

But there she was April 3, the day the iPad went on sale, queuing up at a Palo Alto Apple store. She had spent a short time playing with her son's iPad that morning and was instantly smitten.

"I said, 'Oh my God, I have to have one of these,' " said Schena, who lives in Menlo Park.

Virginia Campbell, a 99-year-old Lake Oswego, Ore., resident, earned a modicum of fame when she appeared in a YouTube video with her iPad. Campbell, who has lived with glaucoma for more than 20 years, had never owned a computer. The iPad's touch screen allows her to get up close and make out letters, something she can't do on a printed page or even an Amazon Kindle. And with its ability to input text, the iPad has revived Campbell's dormant interest in poetry. She's written dozens of poems, as well as a note to Steve Jobs thanking him for the iPad.

"With glaucoma, it's like reading in a fog. But with the iPad, I can see because of the strong contrast between the printed words and the lighted background," Campbell said. "I can't emphasize how important this is for people with limited vision."

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