Apps for Apes - Now How Big is the Tablet Market?

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Apps for Apes - Now How Big is the Tablet Market?

The multibillion dollar smartphone and tablet market may be bigger orangutan-apps-for-apes.jpgthan analysts previously realized if you factor in the amount of apes and orangutans that will be using them. Before you check to see if this piece is an April fool’s Joke, it isn’t, I promise. You see In September of 2011 Tracey Schelmetic wrote on TMCnet about Orangutan Outreach, a program designed in-part to bring technology to apes and enable them to use the touch interface and Skype with other apes. No, seriously… This is NOT a joke. I swear.

This picture is basically here to show you I am not kidding. Seriously... I am not.

The irony is, according to Tracey’s piece – the story which is true (again, not kidding) actually began as an idea which spread as an April fool’s Joke. It goes to show you – be careful what you joke about. Hey, I just won Powerball – April fool's! smiley-tongue-out


TMCnet ran a more recent story about two-weeks ago which delved into providing these animals with technology and here is a salient excerpt:

"Orangutans are quite interested in looking at stuff, figuring things out, taking things apart," she said in her Toronto office. "If we show photos of food to the young ones, they try to eat it because they think it's real." Besides an opportunity for research, MacDonald sees Apps for Apes as an important chance for scholars and conservationists alike to draw attention to the "unbelievable species." "Our goals are the same in that we want enrichment, we want something for the animals to do that keeps them active," she said, "We want people to know that orangutans are amazing animals, they have brains that are incredibly complex and we should not have them go extinct." The possible extinction of the species remains at the forefront of everything the organization does and the expense of taking care of a rescued orangutan in Indonesia, about $3,000 a year, takes priority over buying new iPads.

Today Lance Whitney wrote once again about this fascinating topic – this time on CNet. In it he reports the orangutans have 10 apps to choose from and animals for over 12 zoos have been able to use this technology.


I wonder however, where is the much heralded Apple marketing machine on this topic. What about TV ads showing the orangutans using the iPad and closing with something like: “iPad: So easy, even an ape can use it?”

For obvious reasons, this is the only "Apple" the animals are allowed to hold themselves

The question now is how much further will this trend go? We used to write about one laptop per child but prices for laptops dropped so quickly that specialized efforts to provide these devices to kids were eclipsed by cheaper solutions available on the open market. Is the next step, one tablet per orangutan? Per ape? Per simian? Per pet? I know you are already wondering when Spot will be able to chase virtual cats and utilize doggie-GPS to relieve himself outside on his own.

It seems silly now but we are embedding all sorts of mobile technology on ourselves and many pets already have tracking devices – having a tablet for your pet, especially as prices for these gadgets plummet could be a future trend. And after seeing what sorts of things people share on social networks, nothing surprises me anymore. In closing, it may be time for analysts to reconsider how big the market is for mobile devices.


Update - the photo below is Photoshopped - you need permission to use it. Permission came after my post along with this e-mail which s worth reading - thanks. I love the smiley face at the end BTW.



Thanks for contacting us about our Apps for Apes program.  Sorry for the delay. The story went viral yesterday and we were inundates with email....  I see that you already put up your post-- looks good! 

You can add the image if you want, but please make sure to tell your readers it's photoshopped. 

Please credit it to Orangutan Outreach / Scott Engel

Please make sure your viewers/visitors always have a way of getting back to the Orangutan Outreach website to learn more and make a contribution. 

Can you please add our conservation message to your piece? 

Orangutans are critically endangered in the wild because of rapid deforestation and the expansion of palm oil plantations into their rainforest home. If nothing is done to protect them, they will be extinct in just a few years. 

We are now beginning to scale up the Apps for Apes project. As we receive more donated iPads, more orangutans will be able to join! We are not purchasing them with our conservation funds, so we are depending 100% on donations. If you can help put the call out to your readers, it would be a huge help. Obsolete first generation iPads are perfect for the orangutans to practice with! 

And I can't believe you missed the Colbert connection!    

Thanks for covering our story! 

Best wishes, Rich  {:(|}

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