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And You Thought iPads Were Just for Humans


Among many factors, ease of use is what makes the iPad a fabulously successful product. At one point, the iPad registered as the fasted adopted consumer gadget in history. Sixty-seven million of them have been sold as of the end of March 2012. Human beings really love the iPad. But apparently other life forms here on Earth favor the iPad too.

The local CBS affiliate in Tampa, Florida recently highlighted that the orangutans at the zoo favor the iPad as well. In fact they love it. Interestingly enough, the younger orangutans pick up and intuitively know how to use the iPad, while the older ones aren’t that interested. Sound familiar? Looks like ease of use extends beyond just humans.

“Our young ones pick up on it. They understand it. It’s like, ‘Oh I get this,’” Linda Jacobs, a zoo worker who oversees the program, told the Associated Press. “Our two older ones, they just are not interested. I think they just figure, ‘I’ve gotten along just fine in this world without this communication-skill here and the iPad, and I don’t need a computer.”

Turns out this is pretty common, with similar programs at zoos in Atlanta, Salt Lake City, Toronto, and Houston. Zookeepers are studying the apes behavior and using iPads as a way to communicate. Apparently humans have used sign language to communicate with orangutans in the past. The iPads are allowing this communication between ape and human to expand.

This is proving so popular there is even a “Apps For Apes” program, started by Richard Zimmerman, executive director of Orangutan Outreach. The goal is to get people to donate used iPads which can be put to use by zoos all across the country.

Makes you wonder if legendary Apple CEO Steve Jobs envisioned this all along. Apple would certainly like to sell an iPad to every human on earth. But maybe they have even grander plans.



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