Amongst other things, we’ve done some testing with Silver Surfers. It is clear that the 50+ and even more so 60+ generations is maybe not the first adopter target audience, but a close second. In fact, in some ways the iPad by itself could be considered an even better fit with this target, than say, young professionals.
Undoubtedly younger targets (with the necessary disposable income) will be the first to buy, but given the online behaviors of silver surfers, the iPad completely covers the tasks and functionality silver surfers use regularly, such as e-mail, browsing, photos albums, online banking, e-commerce, etc. For this target it is more likely to actually replace other computers.
As forecasted, the lean-back nature and non-work environment context in which this device excels immediately makes it a nice fit for even 65+ pensioners.
Initial doubts stemming from the technical nature of the device are quickly dispelled after seeing how much more intuitive and cheaper the device is than their existing PC or laptops. Except for some participants who also heavy computing users, the device was short listed immediately, especially when they were about to replace their old computer with a new one. Also, a preexisting internet affinity is key to adoption. Participants with no or little internet affinity obviously had a hard time understanding the purpose of the device. However, with the intuitive nature of the device, it is likely that adoption of the internet per se could also be accelerated through the iPad in this age group.
Interestingly, initial difficulties consist of “unlearning” the sometimes arduously acquired mouse computing skills as well as dispelling the fear of actually touching the technology. Once overcome, the apparent real life metaphors present in the applications (turning pages, etc) are intuitively understood and recalled again without having to be reminded. The fact that no complicated folder structures are present - common to normal operating systems - makes it even easier to adopt.
Typing, however, usually poses an issue for some, as unlearning previous keyboard behavior of unconsciously resting your hands on part of the keyboard turns out a bit more difficult and sometimes leads to a more timid touching behavior, as if unsure what unplanned action the device “will do next” when unintentionally triggering keys on the virtual keyboard.
Apart from using the device for things previously done on their PCs, the device also scores high on doing a few new things that had previously remained within the realm of analog behaviors. Quite different than expected, this group had no qualms about reading newspapers or magazines this way and applaud the fact that “we can save all the trees” or “don’t have so much paper lying around”. Also, the picture quality and sharpness was deemed as “even better than on paper” in many cases. What scores high as well in this area is to actually be able to receive the publications of international press which they cannot even get in analog form where they live.
Books, however, are bit too holy to be sacrificed on the digital altar. They could only imagine reading eBooks when going on a trip without having to bring all the heavy books with them.
Another area that tested well is card and board games as long as they are solitary games such as, you guessed it “Solitaire”. In the case of multiplayer card games the experience of being social and looking people in the eye vs looking at the device was rated as important.
Overall, the biggest joy point seems to be to be able to all of the things they did before in the comfort of a couch or sofa without having the feeling of “working” for a price they feel is more affordable than their previous computing solution. Within this context, the device is being used more in a information consumption than actually inputting information or sharing information.