iPad not quite ready for retail use

iPad not quite ready for retail use

Despite some initial enthusiasm, retailers aren't unconvinced the iPad will add much value for their use

Early attempts to find a place for the iPad in the retail environment has been met with mixed reviews.

As previously reported in CIO, the Rydges Hotel in North Sydney rolled out 10 iPads to offer an interactive food ordering system, enabling patrons to place orders directly to the kitchen.

Retail Express managing director, Aaron Blackman, said the iPad did have potential within the retail point-of-sale (POS) experience, but the Windows Mobile platform was still dominant.

Retail Express offers its POS software solutions through the cloud. It is the process of building its product offering into an application.

Blackman said iPad or iPhone support was something it would consider down the track. iPad users would be able to access content through the Safari browser, which comes standard with the device.

However, other POS players are less enthusiastic about the iPad’s place in the retail industry.

“It just depends on what value can be added for mobile sales staff,” Blackman said.

Retail Directions managing director, Andrew Gorecki, said aside from some queue busting applications, or its potential use as a stock taking solution, the iPad was too limited for retail.

“Retail solutions need to be able to multitask, which the iPad cannot do as yet,” Gorecki said. “That will be fixed in the future with new operating system updates, but there are other issues - for instance, PCI compliance using an iPad solution would be challenging.

“What makes it nice is the large screen, but you can’t change the battery, which is an issue for retailers who will want to use these all day,” he said.

Third or forth generations of iPads could potentially address some of these issues and would become more attractive for the retail market, he said.

POS People managing director, Tanuj Rastogi, was similarly unimpressed with the iPad’s potential.

“It lacks quite a few features. It could possible work as a remote desktop environment, but I don’t see it getting too much traction,” he said.

The education sector is also trialling the iPad, with mixed results. Education reseller, Computelec, claimed it was too limited for the sector, although a number of Catholic schools have reported positive early trials.

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