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Apple, IBM To Bring iPads To 5 Million Elderly Japanese 67

itwbennett writes: An initiative between Apple, IBM and Japan Post Holdings could put iPads in the hands of up to 5 million members of Japan's elderly population. The iPads, which will run custom apps from IBM, will supplement Japan Post's Watch Over service where, for a monthly fee, postal employees check on elderly residents and relay information on their well-being to family members.
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Apple, IBM To Bring iPads To 5 Million Elderly Japanese

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  • Oh Dear... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    This sounds just like the LA school district iPad program.

    • Yep. Single vendor solution. What could possibly go wrong?
      • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Thursday April 30, 2015 @01:05PM (#49587829) Homepage

        LOL, but it's two vendors ... IBM and Apple, right there in the headline ... so it's twice as good!

        • You are right. Two vendors. They have a single vendor for hardware (Apple) and a single vendor for software (IBM). So they are vendor locked-in twice.
      • Yep. Single vendor solution. What could possibly go wrong?

        Multiple vendors does what exactly? Increased internal support costs. Spread it around to more of your "friends" perhaps?

        • I develop electronics. We try to avoid components where there is no second source as much as possible. There is nothing wrong with using a single vendor, as long as you can easily switch to another one. That's the main problem with iPads. The cost to switch to another tablet manufacturer is too high. We call that vendor lock-in. If they used any other tablet, they could easily switch from one hardware manufacturer to another while keeping the same software. Therefore they would be in a much better position.
    • It depends. If they roll out the damned thing without a viable test program, it will properly be a disaster. If they actually got some good, meaningful feedback and incorporated that into the program, then it could very well work. The LA school district failed for a lot of different reasons, but it wasn't necessarily a failing of the technology itself.

      iPads are a much better fit for light consumer-level computing tasks than just about anything else out there. They're very easy to pick up and use, and a

    • Not to mention the fact that this news is REALLY going to piss off my grandfather in heaven.

  • Nice to see (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    NIce to see Apple and IBM profit further from the nanny state.

    • NIce to see Apple and IBM profit further from the nanny state.

      The geek seems to moving to the farthest right of the political spectrum. He is, after all, the creator of the "SJW" social justice warrior meme which the right has found so useful.

      The postman, the doctor, the lineman, the visiting nurse. the preacher and the fireman, share a special place in American folklore and legend.

      Loneliness and isolation, the need for human contact and support, is something a rural community, the elderly, the ill and the homebound come to understand profoundly.

      "...the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; those who are in the shadows of life; the sick, the needy and the handicapped. " ~ Last Speech of Hubert H. Humphrey

      • the "SJW" social justice warrior meme

        So that's what SJW stands for? Huh. The only context I've ever seen the term used has been on Slashdot, often on Apple stories, so I assumed it stood for Steve Jobs Worshipper. But now you mention it... :)

  • by peter303 ( 12292 ) on Thursday April 30, 2015 @12:55PM (#49587747)
    While teens may humor their parents in claiming to be more tech savy, the big drop-off in new tech adoption is over age 70 according to a PEW study. I dont know whether it is cost, learning difficulty, or conservativism. I've noted this pattern among people I know.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      From what I've seen, learning difficulty is the issue. At that age, rote education was how you learned. You absolutely cannot learn anything worthwhile to do with tech through rote education. To see if this is your parents/grandparent's issue, ask them to save a file in a standard editor. Show them how if they do not know.

      Then, ask them to do the exact same thing, except with an editor that has a different name (no, not just renamed, but something that looks at least slightly different, but uses the exa

    • I dont know whether it is cost, learning difficulty, or conservativism.

      In my experience it's mostly disinterest and/or fear. They haven't needed it most of their lives, they are quite set in their ways and they aren't terribly interested in learning something new. They will loudly proclaim how they "just don't get this stuff" but usually that's an excuse for not wanting to learn because their brains work fine. If it's really easy the might give it a whirl but if learning requires real effort they usually cannot be bothered.

      The guys who own my company are about 70. They are

    • You don't need to be very 'tech savvy' to use an iPad. When they first came out, I gave one to my now 84 year old mother. She's still using the iPad 1, still doing email (it's for old people after all), her calendar, Flickr and a couple of simple apps and games.

      It's pretty much perfect for her.

      If IBM doesn't screw up the software (doubtful) this could well be useful. And, of course, IBM could easily port the software to Android or even Windows Phone - we're just talking about a fairly simple hardware pla

    • My grandpa was the most flexible-minded elder I ever encountered but even he didn't want to change the way he did things once he learned how to do something. He made the transitions from Windows 3.11 to 98se to XP well enough because I minimized the impact by using "classic view" setups and carrying forward as much of his software as possible.

      He wasn't afraid to explore new things. Just that, once he learned them, he wanted it to be static and unchanging. Why would you change something that works? One w

      • One weekend, I came home and he showed me the radio-fax kit he'd bought. Say what??? It was a receiver that plugged into the headphone jack of a shortwave radio on one side and the serial port of the computer on the other side. The software would record and decode faxes of weather maps that were broadcast over shortwave then print them on the DeskJet 500c. But, when this kind of thing became widely available on the internet, he wouldn't switch until either they stopped broadcasting or the software didn't survive an OS upgrade. I forget which.

        The geek needs to take a closer look at analog systems and HF radio.

        Rafiofax is over ninety years old and still very much alive. NOAA RADIOFAX [noaa.gov] If you think terrestrial satellite data services are expensive and limited try pricing off-shore marine.

        WR-G33EM Marine Receiver [winradio.com]

    • by antdude ( 79039 )

      Do you have the URL to that PEW study? I am curious about over 30, 40, 50, 60, etc.

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Thursday April 30, 2015 @01:04PM (#49587817)

    What do you think society is going to be like when so many of the people not having kids get older? It's going to look like this, where you hire services to check in on you regularly and make sure you are not dead or needing help...

    Even as the population gets more dispersed, there's a need for things like this so family who lives far away can still make sure parents are OK.

    • by tagous ( 1066492 )
      I hope not. I get the fact that some people live far away from there parents. I myself do, but it does make me a little sad that 1) There is enough demand for the service to be IBM/Apple profitable 2) The old folks don't have enough friends to keep local watch 3) Their society felt ok about using the mailman OTOH: If I can spend less time 'fixing their computer' due to a dirt simple app I'm all for it.
    • What do you think society is going to be like when so many of the people not having kids get older?

      It's going to look a lot like Florida, where the local sheriff's office makes checking-up phone calls to its elderly population every single morning as part of their primary duty. It's a great way to make sure the Sheriff gets re-elected that way.

      It's going to look like this, where you hire services to check in on you regularly and make sure you are not dead or needing help... Even as the population gets more dispersed, there's a need for things like this so family who lives far away can still make sure parents are OK.

      On a side-note, it seems like the Japanese have found a replacement business model for their postal service. We could try doing something similar in the US.

      Technology can only get us so far. There always needs to be a certain amount of (live non-remote) human conta

    • there's a need for things like this so family who lives far away can still make sure parents are OK.

      Actually, in Asia, elderly parents usually live with their kids. That something like this is needed is more a sign of the rising number of dual income households [stats-japan.com] where the elderly parents are left home alone during the day.

      California (which has a high Asian immigrant population who didn't budget for nursing home expenses) tried to tackle this with Adult Day Health Care [ca.gov] - basically day care for the elderl

    • I'm concerned about that in my own future. No kids, and given our family histories, I have a better than even chance of outliving my GF.

  • Seems if they all had 4G iPads and Apple Watches you could help track their general health and possibly even respond in case of emergencies.
  • by flargleblarg ( 685368 ) on Thursday April 30, 2015 @01:38PM (#49588131)

    iPad Continues to Lead Declining Tablet Market in First Quarter
    http://www.macrumors.com/2015/... [macrumors.com]

    The point is not that Apple is leading, but that the market is shriking. This might be a way for Apple to ship more iPads.

    • The shrinkage might be just because iPads lasts very long. "Older" models are handed down to family and friends, at least in my experience. My mother is still extremely happy with her iPad 2 (!). Also, I guess some people are waiting for the iPad "Pro" (or however it's going to be called) to be announced in October 2015. So I think the shrinkage is just temporary and sales will pick up later this year.
      • by Wovel ( 964431 )

        My iPad 2 is still in use now too. I bought it on release day and use it myself until the iPad Air 2 came out. I used my iPad 2 longer than I have used any laptop I have ever owned and it is still being used in my house. Apple kept good software support on the two and after 4 years the battery still lasts all day long. What more could you want.

  • by lazarus ( 2879 ) on Thursday April 30, 2015 @01:38PM (#49588137) Homepage Journal

    This is right in line with my desire for a watch that asks me a reasonably simple math problem every day and then kills me if I get it wrong three times. Sadly this isn't one of the features Apple has included in its latest wearable attempt...

  • I can't even get my USPS driver to deliver packages to my door for the last few weeks.

    "The road's in poor shape." "We've improved the road twice since I bought my house. It's better now than it was when I moved in and it was good enough to deliver packages before we did anything at all." "We switched to LLVs and they don't get around as well as the personal vehicles did." "The only vehicles that have ever delivered mail on my route since I moved here have been LLVs." "I'll look into it."

  • Apple and IBM will have brought million elderly japanese each a shiny new glass and plastic cutting board.
  • So they're implementing a Solid State Society?

  • Hell, I've been working in tech for 30 years, and I have to get my daughter to show me how to do stuff on my iPhone half the time, because nothing is discoverable, if you don't know how to get to a feature there's no way in hell to figure it out, and 70-year-old minds with failing short-term memory will have a heck of a time remembering what you have to swipe over and in which direction to get to the pics of their grandkids. And a tablet's tiny screen is hardly friendly to aging eyes.

    Hopefully I'm wrong,
    • by koan ( 80826 )

      Nope, I'm not as old as you and I've been in IT for decades, the UI is getting weird from my point of view.
      Take Google+ and Youtube... worst UI ever.
      I don't want to say I am not adapting, I want to say this generation has it's own version of logic and UI design.

      It's probably a bit of both, I admit I am no longer enchanted with gadgets and tech, living on a farm with no tech around sounds good in that romanticized way we look at things when we dream.

    • by tomhath ( 637240 )
      Agreed. Kids spend all day in school showing each other how to use the device. Seniors sitting alone at home? No chance.
  • by koan ( 80826 )

    Look at how the LA schools iPad program turned out.
    Also note that there is an article stating the sensors on the watch may not with dark skin... LOL... Really Apple?
    http://fusion.net/story/60771/... [fusion.net]

Alexander Graham Bell is alive and well in New York, and still waiting for a dial tone.