Thursday, 10 September 2015

iPad Pro for Kids and Families

Image: Apple
Surely the iPad Pro is for kids and families? A really big tablet that little kids can read picture books on, big kids can draw on, teens can mix music on and the whole family can play board games on. A tablet that can be permanently on display with quick access to the family calendar and photos.

OK, I can see some business use cases too. But the iPad Pro is just what families are looking for. Kids are touch-native, they want interactive big colour reference books and maps, multi-player board games, a big drawing surface and the ability to get their homework done without switching to a laptop.

I've written previously about big tablets for families. That was a couple of years ago and tablet specs and screen resolutions weren't anywhere near as good as the iPad Pro. We have a 13" Android tablet and while it has been useful it doesn't have the spec that we need to really make the most of it. We're a mixed Android/Kindle Fire and iOS house - we'll go where the cool tech and the content is, and that's not the same for every usage scenario. I can certainly see a role for an iPad Pro in a modern family home.

Cost


I know the price point is high and that's why the iPad Pro has been targeted at businesses initially, but I think that it's going to be a popular choice with families that can afford it. When you're looking at a device that can be used by the whole family that definitely makes a difference at to what's worth investing in.

Weight and Size


The iPad Pro has a 12.9" screen and weighs 713 grams. It's actually surprisingly light for its size, my old iPad 3 weighs 652 grams and my kids were fine with that before they got their own (newer!) iPads. It's much lighter than our big Android tablet which they manage to use. An iPad Pro would be unmanageable for  little kids, but big kids will be just fine with it (my kids are 7 and nearly 9.)

Durability


The durability of the iPad Pro will be a big issue for family use. But I expect that protective covers will be available as they are for the regular tablets. I think there's also a lot of potential for tabletop use for art and game play which is safer. 

Usage Scenarios


So, what will families want to do with an iPad Pro?

  1. Big Books


    When my kids were little we spent a lot of time together sharing picture books. I think this is a common way for parents and little kids to use tablets. Picture books are so much better on a bigger screen. In this situation it will be the parent holding the tablet. 

    Now my kids are a bit older they read lots of reference books and magazines about science, nature, history, and their other interests. Although eBooks and apps are increasingly available they haven't been very effective for these big format reference books. and magazines A 13" screen is just what we need. (We love physical books but I'd love not to have store quite so many of them!)

    When they become teenagers (gulp) it will be text books with detailed diagrams that require a big tablet. 

  2. Multi-Player Games


    Now my kids are bigger they pretty much always use their iPads at the same time. It's very much a social activity. At the moment they play networked games such as Terraria and Minecraft. I think the iPad Pro will encourage the development of more games where two people use the same screen together. 

    We like to play board games as a family, but they take up so much storage space. I'd love to be able to play on a tablet instead but smaller tablets just aren't practical to gather around. A 13" screen gives much more scope for detailed board games that 4 people can sit around. 

  3. Drawing and Writing


    Kids love to draw. Mine spend hours drawing. But other than quick sketches on the Boogie Board their drawing hasn't gone digital. I think this is in large part due to not having a large high resolution device. 

    The Apple Pencil for iPad Pro is aimed at graphic designers, but I think kids and teens who love to draw will really get a lot from it. 

    When my kids were learning to write we really wanted an accurate pencil-type digital device that they could use and apps to go with it. Schools still think handwriting is very important (I won't claim to understand why!) and learning apps using the digital pencil would be fantastic. 

  4. Coding


    We're seeing more and more coding apps for tablets (yay!) and to be really effective it's useful to be able to see both code and output, and often tutorial material at the same time. A big screen is much better for this. 

    My kids will always choose to use a tablet over a laptop if at all possible. 

  5. App Toys


    We're seeing a lot more app toys that work with a tablet. My kids play Skylanders Trap Team together on a tablet and a bigger tablet would be much more effective. 

    Wouldn't it be good to give Ozobot a bit more space? 

  6. Homework


    Kids these days are touch-native. They want to do everything on a tablet. A big screen plus the ability to have two apps side by side will be very natural to kids. Kids will love being able to do research and write a document side-by-side. 

  7. Video Chat

    Lots of families use video calls to communicate with families. A bigger screen works far better for young children or multiple family members. A tablet is portable and means that kids can chat to Grandma or Dad from the playroom or the sofa. 

  8. Shared Calendar and Notice Board

    We've been looking for a good digital solution to replace the old-fashioned wall calendar and notice board approach. We need a big tablet with good media capability. The iPad Pro could be just the device.
  9. And More!

    What else would your family use an iPad Pro for? Let us know in the comments.



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