Don't Retire Without Your iPad

Apple’s iPad has been perpetually in the news as millions of people each month add it to their electronic devices collection. The advertisements on TV and the internet show a sleek, easy-to-use, feature-rich and just plain cool device, smoothly demonstrated for our benefit. Apple as usual does it right and kudos to them for yet another evolutionary product introduction. Might this ingenious creation fit into senior life?

So here I am at 52, right in the middle of the boomers, comfortable with my desktop and laptop, not afraid of the internet and even getting caught up in the whole social media movement, not a technophile but definitely not a technophobe. Despite the glitzy ads and general frenzy, why would I want an iPad? Is there anything new it could add to the quality of my retired life? Well, it turns out there definitely is. Let me tell you about a few things to put a smile on our senior faces…

1. Your best travel friend ever – travel is a significant part of retired life whether we are talking about plane trips across the globe or mobile home journeys across the state. Senior citizens love travel, trips, being a tourist, and visiting unique destinations. An iPad can make the journey that much more enjoyable:

  • A library in your lap – have you ever set aside a book specifically for a pending trip, struggling daily to stay disciplined enough to not start reading it before you get on that eight hour flight? Unfortunately, quickly into the novel you realize that you just do not like it. And you are stuck in a plane far from any bookstore. An iPad allows you to carry a library with you, made up of free books as well as those you purchase. Before you jump on that plane, you can stock your library and have at your finger tips multiple books to dig into. Even better for our aging eyes, with a pinch of your fingers on the screen, you can zoom into the text for easier reading. If you don’t understand a word, tap it and a dictionary pops up to help you out.
  • Mind-boggling Maps – while traveling, you can enter an address and up pops a map but not just any map. With your finger, you can move the map to adjust and view the surrounding area. You can zoom in on your destination to more closely plot your route – just pinch your fingers together. You can change views from map to satellite, tap the location and even see the view from street level! The iPad “knows” where you are and by tapping where you want to go, quickly generated directions for you, including walking and public transportation options. And the nine inch screen makes seeing where you are going much easier than trying to decipher on your tiny phone or GPS. Short of having a personal guide, you are in very good hands.

2. Music and videos – your iPad allows you to store a LOT of music. You can download from iTunes and create your library of songs. Also available are movies that you can easily rent or buy. And the screen size is big enough to enjoy what you are watching or you can again zoom in! While on the road, you are not limited to what is playing on the hotel TV – sometimes in a foreign language – nor do you have to pay for movies – your theater is in your lap!

3. Photos to Go – the incredible resolution of the iPad is perfect to show off your favorite pictures. Your entire collection is easy to browse through or group into appropriate folders. To view a picture, just scroll through your collection and tap your choice. From there you can pinch and zoom in or tap the screen to see the next picture. Some shots were intended to be viewed in landscape mode – no problem. Just turn the iPad sideways and there you have it! If you want to be creative, you can even pick a slide show and quickly match it with a song from your personal library and away you go.

4. Stay connected, or Not – should you have a desire to stay connected during your wanderings, you have email and internet access via your iPad by either utilizing Wi-Fi or including 3G capabilities in your original purchase. 3G allows you to have connectivity basically wherever your phone would work. And the good thing is you can pay for 3G on a monthly basis as you need it – no annual contract. So, if you are heading to Europe for a month, you can pay the $15/mo fee for that month only – very convenient and it makes sense to pay only when you use the service. And again, the ability to zoom in to increase text size is a definitely senior friendly feature.

All in all a companion well worth including in our retirement travels and senior adventures. I find the ability to zoom in on text universally helpful when browsing websites or reading a book or article online. Make the words as big as you need to read comfortably.

The iPad is not cheap, starting at $495 with 16GB of storage (which is a LOT of storage unless you are downloading movies or streaming video). You pay a little more for the 3G capability at $629 and then monthly as you use the service. But no long term contracts are required and having connectivity no matter where you are can be helpful when you are traveling.

Do senior citizens absolutely NEED an iPod? Probably not. Would all of the friendly and diverse capabilities be NICE to have and make a travel experience that much better? I think so. Christmas is just around the corner so it is never too early to start dropping hints.

Don’t forget to pick up a free copy of my Navigating the Retirement Jungle, available upon request by mailing to

13 thoughts on “Don't Retire Without Your iPad

  1. I have never seen the value of an iPad until I read this post. Now, I want one.

    I have read that the battery can’t be replaced by the customer; that it must be sent back to the factory when It no longer holds a charge. True?

    Thanks, Dave. An Android phone and and iPad are in my future.

    • Bob I absolutely felt the same way some months ago and then started researching and playing with the beast. I just got one for my birthday and it is amazing. Plus there are all kinds of apps that you can download for additional features – I am just starting to get into those options. Not sure about your battery question but I will definitely research it.

  2. You’ve condensed the attributes of the iPad very well! I would love to get one of these and hope to do so soon.

    I joined the iPod crowd a year or two ago and don’t know how I ever lived without it. Ditto with text messaging.

    My husband used to kid me that I’d be happier living in the horse and buggy days but in most ways now, I wouldn’t want to be without my modern conveniences.

  3. I am waiting for an Android tablet. They are supposed to be coming along. I love my Android phone but it is just too small to be very useful. I have my back up on Apple since I was forced to use one at work many years ago. It is probably irrational but I’m a stubborn old cuss who will never buy a Toyota either.

    • Thanks Ralph. Definitely let us know your thoughts on the Android tablet. I hear there are various competitors coming out with their versions and the main difference is a 7 inch screen versus Apple’s 9 inch. The one thing I am not overly impressed with is the idea of using your tablet in conjunction with your phone so you can view a bigger screen. So now you have to carry two devices to view your phone information? We will see…

  4. I find myself wishing I had an iPad. I think my laptop with its giant hard drive and real keyboard is essential for the things I do with it, edit photos, digital art, blogging and writing. My iPod Touch is just to convenient to be replaced. I mean taking an iPad for a walk just to hear some music wouldn’t work well.

    But between those tow devices I can imagine all kinds of uses for the iPad. More portable than a laptop and easier to use for many uses than an iPod Touch or smart phone. Definitely one of those inventions you didn’t know you needed until they invented it.

    • Exactly – it is amazing just how much the iPad can do. The pop-up keyboard is darn easy to use, the speakers are decent enough that we are not playing tunes directly from it like our iPod and speaker set up, I even “retired” my laptop to the office since I now use the iPad to surf the web, read and comment on blogs, and keep up with the world around me.

  5. So can you do all these features on a laptop too or are some unique to IPADs?

    Is it just a thin laptop? Does it’s size make it easier to take around with you?

    I heard it boots up quicker vs a laptop as well.

    • I believe the “pinching” that allows you to increase font size as well as zoom into maps and pictures is iPad only. It is very small and light so much easier to transport – we plan on using ours for our on-the-road laptop to keep up on emails and such while traveling. And it boots very quickly as well.

  6. I have been counting the days until verizon begins selling the thing and offering their service (my at and t wireless service here stinks to high heaven. Once they are in place I suspect I will look at getting one. I have played with them and I road trip a great deal so I can see them being of value. I agree though, its not a substitute for my laptop (which is in fact a substitue for a desktop). I love technology-I dont understand most of it but I do love it.

    • Thanks for your input – I think the best thing about the iPad is how easy it is to get familiar with. There is no manual or directions. The video clips for each function really lay out the capabilities. Then you just dive in! Nothing better than technology we can use right away.

Comments are closed.