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Forget the Two Front Teeth: Children Want iPads This Christmas

“Mommy? Daddy? All I want this year is for Santa Claus to bring me a Tablet PC with a 9.7-inch LED-backlit screen that has multi-touch functionality and downloadable apps so can have my very own portable interface for all my web-based needs. Pweeeeeze?”

That’s what all the kids seem to be saying this year. Well, something like that. Apple’s iPad—an inflated version of the iPhone, sans the actual phone—has become its new flagship piece of technology this holiday season and has made its way to the number-one spot on every child’s electronics wish list, according to the latest Nielsen survey. Their findings show that when choosing from among the most popular consumer electronics available this year, kids in the U.S. between the ages of 6 and 12 would prefer to have an iPad nestled safely under their tree on Christmas morn’.

The product’s overall popularity comes as little or no surprise when you think about the marketing power behind each of Apple’s high-tech top-sellers, but the fact that the age group holding it in such high demand is so unexpectedly young definitely prompts a raised eyebrow. Then again, maybe not. Console video game systems are typically successful holiday sellers, and with mobile devices now offering increasingly user-friendly interfaces along with an array of media and gaming applications, it may have only been a matter of time before kids started latching on to the trend.

Apple’s wunderkind device is generating a definite spark of interest these days among children and young adults, and this is due in no small part to the overwhelming number of apps now available for it. From classic single-player games like Pac Man and board games like Scrabble to an array of basic, educational offerings, the iPad caters to kids of all ages. In fact, even children as young 2 ½ years old can partake in many of its downloadable programs—just skim through this video and watch for yourself.

A large selection of interactive book applications allow young readers to engage with their favorite stories.

A large selection of interactive book applications allow young readers to engage with their favorite stories.

There’s even a large selection of interactive book applications that allows young readers to actively engage with their favorite stories. Alice for the iPad—an animated and abridged version of Lewis Carrol’s Alice in Wonderland—is one such interactive title. It features page after page of colorful illustrations that sometimes respond to the reader’s touch as well as to the physical movement of the tablet itself. It’s a charming new frontier in terms of marketable reading material and it’s just one of many educational titles available.

The iPad is proving to be quite a versatile platform, so it’s really no wonder that kids seem to want one so badly. It lends itself seamlessly to the further development of educational content and to such content’s accessibility by all age groups. They may not be able to take advantage of (or even comprehend) its extensive web-browsing and networking capabilities, but at least kids can gain something truly beneficial from it. I guess the iPad is at least slightly more than just this year’s “must-have” toy.

It seems as though there’s a strong possibility that the device will retain its usefulness to younger markets in terms of both educational potential and entertainment value. What do you think? Is it something kids really need?

Heading image is from Rude Cactus



Joseph Giorgi

Joseph is the head of the Media Team at Quality Logo Products. He's a video specialist, blogger, perfectionist, and all-around likeable guy. When he's not busy focusing on the nitty-gritty details of his written and visual work, he's normally listening to bad 80s music and scouring the internet for useless information on useless subjects. You can also connect with Joe on Google+.

Comments

  1. QLP Jill

    This post makes me feel super old. I’m an adult and I don’t even own an iPad, so I can’t imagine seeing 6-12 aged kids walking around with them! [Insert “when I was a kid, we didn’t have fancy tablet computers and we had to play with sticks” phrase here]

    But seriously, I can definitely see the appeal of an iPad for young children…but I couldn’t justify spending that much on a device for a grade-schooler to use. How much are iPads now? I’d assume they still cost around $500, and that’s WAY too much to spend on a computer that a kid could potentially break or lose. I’m amazed when I see young kids with nicer iPhones than me, and I’m even more amazed when parents continue to buy new iPhones for young kids when they don’t take care of them and break them. What happens when your youngster drops his/her iPad while taking it out of a backpack? There goes a hella expensive Christmas gift…

    Wonderfully-written post, Joe! Although it makes me sad to know that 2 year olds are playing with devices they don’t even know how to use, it does provide a glimpse into what the future will be like. At this rate, kids will soon be given iPads at birth!

    • JJ "Suite G"

      There’s about as many apps (between games and educational titles) for kids as there are for adults on the iPad. It’s nuts!

      And I agree that it wouldn’t make much sense to buy an iPad specifically for a young child. However, to buy it for oneself with the intention of just letting your child use it from time to time is a far more sensible approach.

    • Apple Fanatic

      You’re getting old Jill – JK!

      If you were a dude you’d have OLD BALLS – JK! :)

      I have to admit; I am jealous when I see my super wealthy brother-in-laws walking around with a shiny new iPhone 4 while I’m still touting a 3G myself (it sure beats Edge though!)!

      They toss it around like it’s just another toy.

      It’s insane.

      I about CRIED when I dropped my iPhone a few months back and my screen cracked. Thank God it was under warranty.

      I’ve always wondered why when I drop something it ALWAYS breaks but when my wife drops something, for example – a phone on a concrete from 10 ft. up in the air; her phone doesn’t break.

      Great post Joe!

      • QLP Jill

        Hey, I don’t even have an iPhone with 3G…I’m still rockin’ the Edge! :)

        And I feel the same way about people who “toss them around like another toy”… it makes me so angry. I work hard for the material things I have so I’m always appreciative and careful with everything. I think that’s what separates us from the people who have everything handed to them on silver platters from the day they exit the womb!

    • Juliette

      I’m with you on that, Jill. Heck, I still own a PS2 and only managed to nab that a year ago. (Didn’t own a cell phone until I was 21 and even that was on my parent’s plan.)

      Did old-fashioned books just fall by the wayside? I mean, I can understand the fun of an “interactive story” but I thought that’s what imaginations were for….

      • QLP Jill

        I know, right? In theory, an “interactive story” sounds amazing. However, although it’s pretty cool, I wouldn’t want that in place of a traditional book and my own imagination! This is what scared me about e-readers in the first place… I guess this generation of kids will never need imaginary friends because they’ll always have their multiple-hundred dollar devices to keep them company! When I was a kid, I was content with a book and my favorite blankie…sigh.

        I’m just now starting to warm up to the idea of owning a Kindle, but there will ALWAYS be a part of me that feels traitorous for doing so. Collecting e-books doesn’t come close to collecting real books! ::pushes glasses up:: ;)

  2. GBDUDE

    I don’t think kids NEED this product. However, I think that it can have some educational value to kids! It’s nice to see that an item that’s number one on a lot of X-mas wish lists could have some educational value.

    I actually want one myself!!

  3. Cybernetic SAM

    Trying to be an optimist given the season, but SERIOUSLY!?!?!?! As Jill said I get so pissed because I never even owned anything technological until I was in my twenties! And everything I own is refurbished but old. This kind of stuff is cool, but new tech stuff has never been a priority. I guess I still think that you can’t miss what you’ve never had.

    Heck I still use a pay-as-you-go $15 phone (soon to change) and there is rumor I may get what I have heard it called “a droid” – unfortunately it has nothing to do with Star Wars (which in my opinion would have been way cooler). But when I tell people, their reaction is *raised eyebrow* “Really? YOU with a droid?” or “OMG that is so cool” and honestly I have no idea what it even looks like. So when I see kids with really nice phones and computers, and then literally within a span of a decade they have learned to walk, ride a bike, and talk and yet they own a Mac Book Air with Disney princess stickers all over it, I just shake my head and feel a whole new level of sadness.

    • QLP Jill

      It makes me sad, too…think of all the teasing that less-fortunate kids will have to endure because Santa didn’t bring them a shiny iPad this Christmas! On another note, the 2 year olds who are playing with devices like this are going to grow up NEVER being without technology – that’s a scary thought. We didn’t get our first computer until I was almost in high school…and it wasn’t even a new model.

      If this post doesn’t make Bob Dylan’s “The Times They are A-Changin'” run through your head, then nothing will! ;)

  4. Apple Fanatic

    Great post Joe!

    I have to say… I’m amazed that the Apple iPad beats the Microsoft Kinect and PlayStation Move by a ratio of 2 to 1 amongst this demographic of young adults (according to Nielson).

    The iPad is cool and all, but I think I’d rather have an iPhone 4 and either the PlayStation Move or Microsoft Kinect for Christmas.

    To bad I don’t believe in Santa – JK!

    As far as that video of the 2 1/2 year old using the iPad… That’s insane. I want to say it looks almost STAGED. This little girl was definitely coached by her parents on how to use the device BEFORE making this video.

    As far as the “Educational” value of apps; since when is learning supposed to be fun? I think this OVER exposure to media and interactivity will actually have a negative impact on society and America’s youth as a whole as they will come to expect this from everything and anything in life; and if there is one thing I’ve learned these past 28 years of living, life is BORING and you need to learn to cope with it. The solution to all your problems is not going to be easy as A, B, A, B, Up, Down, Left, Right, SELECT + START! :)

  5. JJ "Suite G"

    Technology definitely gives individuals (of all ages) an upper hand when it comes to education and entertainment. People who become too heavily reliant on tech tend become imaginatively stunted and somewhat lazy.

    Calculators are a good example. We exercise our mental math skills throughout grade-school and high school, but as soon it’s no longer required of us, we rely on calculators for the rest of our lives. We gradually forget how to use mental math or how to even multiply and divide longhand with pencil and paper. Now that I think about it, it’s been years since I’ve even tried–that’s what calculators are for. But it’s still sad to think that I’ve lost that skill.

    Advancing technology might end up inhibiting future generations from performing basic tasks on their own–including being able to form truly creative or innovative patterns of thinking. Maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but then again, maybe not.

    • Stantz

      If we don’t have calculators/iPads/iPhones, etc. at our immediate disposal — we’re dead!

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