Mark Bridge writes:
Even the most cynical observer needs to admit that the Apple iPad is changing business. Cynics can argue that the world of work may not be changed permanently - and it may not be changed for good - but the way we work is definitely changing.
iPad sales started just over a year ago, hitting the US in April 2010 and the UK at the end of May. Soon, companies with nothing to say were squeezing “iPad” or “tablet” into their press releases. Gone were dubious surveys that demonstrated a product’s merits; instead we now had dubious tablet apps. Kitteh want iPad. Awww.
But alongside the novelty there’s been practicality. Recently US mobile payment service Square launched an updated app that’ll turn an iPad into a cash register. Plug in the tiny Square card reader and your iPad is a Point of Sale terminal. No need for a till, no need for a separate credit card machine. Square Register lets you sell products, takes payment, sends receipts by email and will even analyse your sales.
And now Alaska Airlines is replacing flight manuals with iPads in a move that’s been approved by the Federal Aviation Administration. Although equipping crews with iPads has a cost implication, this is expected to be offset by cost savings from paper, printing and distribution costs, along with reduced fuel consumption and a lower risk of injury from the lighter weight. Alaska Airlines says pilots will be able to find information faster and easier (although, as the iPad is an electronic device, it needs to be stowed during takeoff and landing!)
Yes, the iPad is still favoured as a media consumption device - and we’re a long way from the Star Trek world where engineers carried tablet computers everywhere - but we’re definitely getting closer.