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

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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.