Why My Mom Returned Her Kindle For An iPad

Why My Mom Returned Her Kindle For An iPad

Joelle Alcaidinho
May 31, 2011

We talk a lot about how easy we think some devices are to use but it is a different matter altogether when our parents test those opinions. We know not all parents are equal in their tech skills, but for the sake of the clarity of this post we want to make it clear that the Mom in question feels that she is not tech savvy in the slightest (although really she knows her way around her computer, which she'll never admit). This post is about one of our moms who surprised us all when she announced her decision to exchange the shiny new device her family bought for her for another *gasp* piece of tech.

My mom loves to read. Loves it. She almost always has her nose in a book whether it is outside in the yard or on the couch. She is also a big puzzle nut, Sudoku, crossword, you name it, she loves it. Based on these things we, her family, thought that despite her anti-tech protestations we would buy her eReader, and that she would love it. We chose the Kindle based on my own experience with the device and it fulfilling every item we thought she could want or need (and her love of buying books from Amazon). A big factor in our decision was eInk as we knew that the sell to a digital device would be a tough one and we wanted to keep the experience as familiar as possible as well as give her high readability outdoors.

While we were not terribly surprised when she did not greet the Kindle with open arms we were a bit shocked when she asked why in the world we would opt for this over an iPad. When asked why she did not like the Kindle she responded with several reasons, many of which we did not think were going to be an issue.

Surprisingly one of the reasons why she did not like the dedicated eReader is its size. She felt that it was too small and uncomfortable to hold. She was also not pleased with the smaller screen size since it meant when she would enlarge the font should would have to scroll more often than she likes. This was the first time we had ever heard someone complain about a device being too thin and lightweight and we were surprised that she preferred the comparable heft of the iPad.

The not so surprising reason she favored the iPad over the Kindle was ease of use. While I have not had any trouble navigating using my Kindle, my mother definitely did. We had Mom use my brother's Nook to see if this was easier for her and she declared it just as difficult to use. The iPad was a win for ease of use for her since she did not need any lessons in how to navigate, she just intuitively knew.

Mom also loves all of the other things she can do on her iPad. Although the Nook Color does offer apps my mother found that the ones she was most interested in were not available and she prefers iTunes App Store for located and downloading apps. She loves transitioning from reading a book to jotting down an email to browsing family photos. She also enjoys shopping for the best price for eBooks and choosing where to buy from since she has the major eBookstore apps loaded onto her iPad.

Our big concern over readability outside has been dismissed by Mom. She said that she will take the screen of the iPad with "everything else it can do" alongside the "not as easy to read outside" any day. She has also stated that I exaggerate how difficult the screen is to read outside and declares it is really no bother as long as you are in shade. Like any good Floridian she cannot fathom why in the world one would read outside if not under the shade which means using the iPad outside is a snap.

Mom surprised us with her tech decision and has showed us kids that sometimes we do not know best when it comes to what pieces of tech are best for her. Has your parent ever surprised you (in a good or bad way) with their tech decision? Is Mom a trendsetter in abandoning a dedicated eReading device for a tablet?

(Images: Melissa Alcaidinho)

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