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iPad As Kiosk? That’s Not As Elegant An Idea As It Sounds

Written by Frank Hayes
July 11th, 2012

Maybe Apple can’t dominate every in-store device niche after all. A blog discussion at KioskMarketplace this week has kiosk developers debating whether the iPad’s lack of wireless-only connections, relative screen fragility and regular need to be reset makes it a poor choice for kiosk conversion. (The original July 2 post is headlined “iPad kiosks: The cheap, unreliable kiosk solution.”)

As commenters to the post point out, there are workarounds to some of the technical problems (though not to the persistent problem of Apple’s lack of enterprise support). But with a burgeoning crowd of iPad-to-kiosk vendors and given the fact that lots of chains are looking hard at such as approach, it’s worth asking how much of the vaunted Apple experience customers will get from an iPad buried in a kiosk. Customers won’t get to handle it or switch between apps—from their point of view, it’s just another touchscreen running a single kiosk application. Which may make iPad conversions just not worth the trouble for retail chains. But who knows? Maybe Apple has finally found a retail use for the Macintosh: as an oversized iPad emulator.


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3 Comments | Read iPad As Kiosk? That’s Not As Elegant An Idea As It Sounds

  1. Mike James Says:

    It really makes more sense to use an HP or Samsung Windows tablet. They have readily-available USB ports and can run existing peripheral device drivers, both of which the iPad can’t do. Agreed, since the home button is covered up, it doesn’t matter to the user what the hardware is. The good news is that our industry now has millions of new kiosk users that aren’t afraid to approach touchscreens, especially ones that look like their iPads.

  2. ed Says:

    I do not see how slapping a $600 iPad within a kiosk is “affordable” and believe this is just wishful thinking.

    The touch screen of an iPad is not commercial grade and made out of glass. Commercial touch screen applications uses a film-based that has longer wear for day-in/day-out use.

    Second, a mini-PC attached to a touch-enabled LCD monitor could connect more devices such as the Kinnect or Ardunio controller and still be as cost-effective as slapping an iPad to a kiosk enclosure.

  3. Mike James Says:

    Ed – I thought the exact same thing, especially with a (less than) 10-inch screen size. They are a bad idea!

    Now we’re selling these by the hundreds – to repeat customers.

    The tablet’s low-cost means you can deploy in three times as many locations as standard kiosks and still save money.

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