Apple and IBM to give iPads to five million Japanese seniors

30 Apr 2015

If you are one of the 33 million senior citizens living in Japan there’s about a one-in-seven chance that you’re going to land a shiny new iPad, with Apple and IBM teaming up to deliver the devices in a new project.

The iPads will have IBM’s specifically-tailored apps aligned with Japan Post’s existing services, with a view to helping seniors – who currently make up a quarter of Japan’s population – access things like medical services.

Japan Post’s role is a big one. It’s the largest postal service in the country and also provides care-giving for seniors.

The iPads will look to help with apps including FaceTime, Messages, Mail, Photos and iCloud Photo Sharing.

“This initiative has potential for global impact, as many countries face the challenge of supporting an ageing population, and we are honored to be involved in supporting Japan’s senior citizens and helping enrich their lives,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO.

“iPad is incredibly intuitive, easy-to-use and has accessibility features built in, making it a perfect device for any generation to be connected and engaged.”

Considering the dawn of ResearchKit and HealthKit, this offers good potential for Apple, although Cook has denied this is the reason his company is involved, arguing he’s all about helping the elderly.

“What this is about is improving the quality of life, and there’s arguably nothing more important than that,” Cook said. “We will dramatically improve the lives of millions of people, and that at the end of the day is what this is about.”

I guess it is one way of shifting iPads, sales of which are pretty much drying up around the world.

Ipad image, via Oldwoodchuck on Flickr

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic