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Doesn't get more convenient than this

Campus computer group brings Apple store-like service to Ann’s Choice

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March 15th, 2018
Apple computer group member Carol Knitter, who teaches an iPad photography class, prepares to take a photo of group cochair Phil Alley. They both live at Ann’s Choice.

Apple computer group member Carol Knitter, who teaches an iPad photography class, prepares to take a photo of group cochair Phil Alley. They both live at Ann’s Choice.

 

The past few months have been busy ones for members of the Apple/Mac computer group at Ann’s Choice, Erickson Living’s retirement community in Bucks County, Pa.

As community members shifted from desktops to laptops to mobile Apple devices, the group’s focus has shifted too. These days that means iPads and iPhones.

After scores of residents received iPads from their children as holiday gifts last year, many of them flocked to the Apple group’s postholiday “iPad Class for Beginners Only.”

New iPad owners always want to learn how to search and shop the Web, use email, and make and receive FaceTime video calls.

Secondhand, not second rate

While some of the devices were new, in many cases, says group cochair Phil Alley, they’re hand-me-downs from children who’ve purchased updated models for themselves.

The hand-me-downs don’t come with instructions and usually require knowing the previous owner’s password to even unlock and attempt to use them.

“That’s when our one-on-one help sessions are the best approach,” says Phil. Member volunteers answer more involved questions and solve individual problems.

The group’s monthly meetings provide general information and keep members updated about new functions and new products.

People on the Ann’s Choice priority list are welcome to attend both meetings and help sessions.

“People come for help, we solve their problem, and they’re happy,” says Phil. “The best compliment is that they don’t come back.”

Talented group

Ann’s Choice’s original computer club focused only on PCs. “There was nothing for us Mac people,” says group member Carol Knitter. “So a group of women Mac users started their own group.” It’s now coed.

“Because [Mac users] are such a diverse population, we have talents in all kinds of things,” Phil says.

They also have a depth of experience with Apple products. Phil and Carol, for example, have owned Macs since the computers first came out.

“If the Mac group wasn’t here,” says Carol, “people with a question or problem would have to make an appointment and go to an Apple store or workshop. We’re right on campus; you can walk to our meetings and help sessions.”

The group is entirely resident run. Carol recently presented an iPad photography class, and Phil uses his computer to produce the group’s monthly meeting notices.

Phil’s home is rich in Apple products. His wife Marie owns an iMac desktop, iPhone, and two iPads.

Phil, who is legally blind due to glaucoma, has a computer and iPhone. He spends several hours a day on his desktop computer. Via Apple’s Accessibilities features, Phil receives his email audibly. He also has a large screen reader.

Although he’s heavily involved in activities on and off the Ann’s Choice campus, “Computers open the wider world to me,” Phil says.

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