Yes. That's a closing tag for sarcasm. You're kidding yourself if you think smartphones and tablets aren't for business. If the landslide of BYOD'ers bringing the devices to work isn't enough proof, check out an Apple store. Okay, okay. That's a bit biased, they have to use them. But still, the iPhone (and/or iPod touch) sleeves with a credit card ready illustrate the opportunity for vertical solutions that exist for these "consumer, content consumption only devices." I was at Sears last week and saw a scaled up version of the Apple store sleeve, this time on iPads. It was accompanied by a sticker on the old POS terminals that read something to the effect of "Why aren't you using an iPad?" - implying a push to move all sales transactions to the iPad.
But what really brought me to the computer tonight was a series of announcements this week, two in particular, where iPads are making obvious inroads to the enterprise.
The first, and was hard to miss if you follow tech, was the announcement of Square's new dock that turns an iPad into a cash register. I recommend reading the full post from The Verge, but here's the gist:
Square today unveiled a new piece of hardware designed to replace traditional cash registers in the businesses that use the company to accept payments. Square Stand, which can be pre-ordered for $299 starting today, features an integrated card reader for processing payments.
This is probably the first time a POS terminal could be accused of being sexy. The post goes on to say it's targeted at big brick-and-mortar stores. I'm not sure about that, but I can imagine it being a hit with small and medium businesses. When I get around to building my dream bike/coffee shop, I'll be sure to kit it out with a few of these.
The second announcement was from ShoreTel, which has announced ShorTel Dock, which turns an iPhone or iPad into a desk phone and unified communications device. Anyone who has fought with a Lucent, Polycom, or Cisco desk phone can probably immediately see a benefit to having an iPhone or especially iPad as a corporate landline replacement.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, an IT manager who thinks tablets are consumer-only, content consumption devices probably won't be in his/her job for very long.