It is not everyday that you read a press release from Apple proclaiming that it is working with IBM. Even less common to read that the partnership is to target older consumers (in Japan).
The objective of the partnership is to improve the quality of life of Japanese 'senior citizens' by delivering iPads with IBM-developed apps and analytics to connect seniors with services, healthcare, community and their families.
Of course it is terrific to see two mega tech companies deciding to focus on older people. But why I have mixed emotions is that it appears that both companies are putting older people in the pigeonhole marked 'to be helped'. Put it another way, it appears (and I might be totally wrong) that this venture emanates from the company's CSR department rather than Marketing.
This announcement doesn't shout to me that either companies really understands the message about the impact of population ageing and how it will impact all of their operations. Rather, they see it as a venture that is separate from the main activity.
Apple and IBM should be adapting all of their products, services and channels to respond to the effects of ageing. Sure this might mean they have special products for those older people with significant issues with using the technology.
Kim Walker and I have evaluated the customer journey related to the iPad and Apple scores very well. I think this is because of the company's obsession to detail and design rather than trying to deliver a lifetime customer experience.
So well done to both companies but I hope this is only the start and not the end of their age friendly activities. Dick Stroud