At an event in New York City, Apple CEO Tim Cook, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, and Japan Post CEO Taizo announced all three companies will come together to launch a new initiative that will give 5 million iPads to Japanese seniors over the next five years, reports TechCrunch.
The iPads will be pre-loaded with software that is geared towards the elderly. Among the included apps are ones that will remind and alert the elderly about medications, exercise, and diet, as well as other apps that help access community events, grocery shopping, and job matching. Japan Post, a company that handles postal, banking, and insurance services in the country, will be in charge of distributing the iPads through its Watch Over service.
The company hopes to reach 4 to 5 million customers by 2020.
The main driver behind this initiative is Japan’s rapidly increasing aging population. Currently, 25 percent of Japan’s population, or 33 million people, are senior citizens. The percentage is expected to rise to 40 percent in the next 40 years. With the new iPad initiative, Cook said, senior citizens’ quality of life should see an increase.
“We will dramatically improve the lives of millions of people,” said Cook during the event. “Sooner or later, almost every country on the face of the Earth will encounter this same issue.”
Even though the pilot program will start in Japan in the second half of 2015, Cook said the possibility for it to extend into other countries, such as the United States does exist. In order for that to happen, however, Apple and IBM will need to bring together a collection of regional companies.
The initiative itself is a promising and optimistic one, but it’s no surprise that Apple and IBM are the ones to spearhead it. The two companies entered a business agreement last July that will help Apple enter the enterprise sector, while also optimizing 100 iOS apps for business use and offering enhanced cloud computing services. With Apple recently reporting a drop in iPad sales, this initiative is also sure to help the company’s bottom line.
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