The iPad replaces, but what?
The iPad is more and more penetrating into our lives. Even though many people, me included, first saw it primarily as a scaled up iPod Touch, we can’t ignore the impact it’s making.
While many Android-tablet customers return their tablets, after just using it for one day, expecting it would replace their laptop, the tablet is capable of replacing a lot of other things.
iPad for the customers
NYC restaurant De Santos completely integrated the iPad into their workflow. Instead of a classic menucard, customers get an iPad on which they order. Orders automatically arrive in the kitchen, bills are calculated, and they check out using Square on the same iPad. Sebastion Gonella, one of the owners and co-founders of De Santos, explains:
Nowadays in New York City, the menus don’t list the entire specifications of each dish. With this software, you can show them exactly the dish itself and all the specifications for each dish, so people are really buying what they’re seeing and there’s no more confusion. It’s pretty important.
Not only is it damn trendy, customers get excited about the use of the tech, but the restaurant owners also claim it saves money.
Compared to traditional POS systems like Aloha, which will typically cost a restaurant at least $30,000 to install, De Santos’s tailor-made POS system for the iPad took a fraction of the price to produce. Between contracting Igel to build the customized app and buying the 8 iPads and credit card swipers, the whole shebang cost about $18,000.
This technology frees up servers to see more tables, take more orders, serve more drinks, and chat with customers.
Win-win-win-win. And ofcourse being the first restaurant in New York to completely run on iPads creates a lot of free promotion.
iPad as cash register
De Santos wasn’t the first to jump to iPad payments. Many retailers are jumping to mobile payments on iPads. All Things D reports:
Lowe’s announced last week that it was rolling out 42,000 handheld devices at stores in the U.S. and Canada. That closely follows announcements by Home Depot, Nordstrom and Urban Outfitters.
While they may use the iPads for payments, they will also be used to help customers by looking up answers or product availability.
iPads in airtraffic
Another example of iPads replacing stuff is in the recent announcement by United Airlines to deploy ‘11,000 iPads to all United and Continental pilots’:
Each iPad, which weighs less than 1.5 pounds, will replace approximately 38 pounds of paper operating manuals, navigation charts, reference handbooks, flight checklists, logbooks and weather information in a pilot’s flight bag. A conventional flight bag full of paper materials contains an average of 12,000 sheets of paper per pilot. The green benefits of moving to EFBs are two-fold—it significantly reduces paper use and printing, and, in turn, reduces fuel consumption. The airline projects EFBs will save nearly 16 million sheets of paper a year which is equivalent to more than 1,900 trees not cut down. Saving 326,000 gallons of jet fuel a year reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 3,208 metric tons.
A 12,000 sheet manual. I hope they build in a quick search function.
iPad was the future
We currently live in the future. Samsung’s lawyers use Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey to proof this wasn’t Apple’s idea. Kubrick was only 9 years off. Arthur C. Clarke even described it quite deeply in the book 2001:
When he tired of official reports and memoranda and minutes, he would plug in his foolscap-size newspad into the ship’s information circuit and scan the latest reports from Earth. One by one he would conjure up the world’s major electronic papers…Switching to the display unit’s short-term memory, he would hold the front page while he quickly searched the headlines and noted the items that interested him. Each had its own two-digit reference; when he punched that, the postage-stamp-size rectangle would expand until it neatly filled the screen and he could read it with comfort.
Screenshot from 2001’s use of iPads, ehm, I mean.. tablets.
So no, it won’t replace a laptop just yet. But it replaces a lot of paper, magazines, payment systems, a lot of weight, the need for extra fuel to carry manuals, and opens up a whole new way of interactivity and connectivity between the different task we do on it.