In October, a McDonald’s in Virginia Beach announced that they installed complimentary iPads for its customers to use while they dine. It used to be that when you sat down in a doctors office, or in a restaurant, you picked up a magazine off the table or snagged a left behind newspaper to read as you wait. However, in the age of the iPads and E-readers, this trend will soon be put in a time capsule as it becomes an action of the past.
As revolutionary as this sounded, it is not the only public place that is offering such service. Take a look around the next time you are in an airport, or hotel, you might find the same thing. LaGuardia Airport allows you to surf the web, play games etc. on iPads while you wait for you flight. These iPads, 2500 of them, are installed by the gates. You can even order food right to your location!
At The Lowes in Miami you can sit in a poolside cabana with your complimentary iPad that has a hotel Netflix account. And it is not just iPads. The Trump Soho, a hotel in NYC, offers Kindle Touches that are preloaded with material like best-selling novels and popular magazines.
The examples mentioned are high end hotels, a large fast-food chains, and a huge international airport. But is this just the beginning of the integration of the newest tech innovations into public places?
Apple sold 22.9 million iPads in 2012. According to EWeek- E-reader sales which include the Kindle, the Nook and Sony Reader are expected to hit 30 million units in 2013. If the trend of offering complimentary mobile devices in public venues follows the same trajectory of the sales pattern of these devices, we may soon be seeing them in not only large facilities, but doctor waiting rooms, and the local diner. It may change our living rooms forever. Who knows, we may replace coffee table books with iPads. Forget bringing one as a housewarming gift, you might want to bring an iTunes giftcard instead.
The magazine table is a feature of the past. Bring on the mobile device decks.