Remember Jitterbug Phones For Seniors? Here’s The iPad Equivalent

Remember Jitterbug, the big-buttoned phones for seniors that made using those confusing, new-fangled cellphone thingies so much easier to handle? Well it looks like someone has gone out and built the equivalent for the iPad. Which literally made me laugh out loud when I read the news, because the iPad is the first computer I’ve ever seen seniors adopt in droves. But hello anyway, Family Ribbon.

Everything about this app is funny. From the touted “health benefits” (apparently, a May 2012 Mayo Clinic study confirmed that a combination of exercising and using a computer may protect seniors against mild cognitive impairment!!!) to the stock photos of granny on iPad in the “how it works” section of the website.

I’ll spare you the gory details. Here’s the pitch in a nutshell: the app, which is “officially” launching on May 30th but is live now in the iTunes App Store, is “an easy-to-use app for the iPad which features an easy-to-use interface that helps seniors and kids stay connected to their families online.”

In case you missed that, it’s “easy to use.”

Because really, the iPad is so hard. And this UI is clearly better:

I’m sure the iPad’s complexity is why my 2-year has completely stolen mine, knows how to slide to unlock, flip through screens, launch and close apps, navigate within apps, and I’m pretty sure she’s already better than me at Angry Birds.

Let’s get real here, kids are not the issue with adopting new technology. Seniors, however, often struggle. And while I do understand the need to offer them assistance, I’m not sure that, of all things, it’s the iPad that’s so confusing. Computers, yes. Windows, yes. Mac OS X, yes. But iPad? No.

Sure, grandma and gramps might need a demo at the Apple Store or from you before they get it. But I’m not convinced they need something like this.

I will give the app one shout out as its saving grace – it offers a remote administration feature which could come in handy. The confused user can push the “call back request” app for assistance which sends a text, email and phone call (wait…omg, it’s this, WUPHF lives!) and can then tap a button to share their screen. It’s a screenshot-snapping feature, to be clear, not true remote administration.

Oh, and there’s an “easy Facebook” mode too:

I’m sorry, I just fell out of my chair.

Honestly, this may be the best thing I’ve seen on the Internet all day.

The app was co-created by two ex-McKinsey consultants, CEO Ivan Osadchiy and Mykola Komarvsky. I was just going to decline to cover (Osadchiy wanted to talk about the “many health benefits” that this application will bring), but I found I couldn’t help but share this news. Back to your regularly scheduled Facebook IPO-salivating now.