You'd think that after 2.5 years of large-scale iPad rollouts, that it wouldn't be newsworthy anymore.
Yet, the media keeps reporting on new iPad deployments that only keep on getting bigger and more innovative.
Here's a review of the latest ones that I've spotted. If you want to skip straight to my comprehensive list of almost 600 large-scale iPad rollouts, click here. Or scroll to the bottom of this blog to see my updated Top 50 List.
Terminal Boredom Begone
Waiting in the airport has never been longer, due to delayed flights and post 9/11 security restrictions. Airport restaurant operator OTG wants to alleviate the tedium. It's installing 7,000 iPads over the next 18 months in 3 airports - New York's LaGuardia, Minneapolis-St. Paul and Toronto Pearson International Airport. The iPads will be located at OTG restaurants - think Dunkin Donuts, Cheeburger Cheeburger, Baskin Robbins and many lesser-known airport-only stores - to allow travelers to buy meals, play games, update their Facebook or Twitter accounts, e-mail, and more.
There will also be iPads attached by cables and located near gates and outlets and USB ports for charging other mobile devices. To protect users' privacy, touching the iPad's home button removes any personal information. Depending on how much business the iPads drum up, OTG could deploy "tens of thousands" of ipads at the 10 airports where OTG runs restaurants.
iPads Put Planes On A Diet
With jet fuel costs having risen 36% in the last two years, airlines care a lot about weight. It turns out that an aircraft entertainment system built into the plane weighs about two tons. Shedding that in favor of rentable iPads will cut the weight of a jet by 7%, according to startup Singapore airline, Scoot Pte, as well as provide passengers with more and better entertainment options. Business class passengers will get iPads free, while economy class will have to pay about $17.
Other airlines, by the way, like Etihad Airways, are using iPads to to train aircraft engineers.
Don't Buy, Rent
That's what East Alton Elementary School (Illinois) is doing with 650 iPads for its 1:1 iPad:student program. The school will pay Apple $129,000 per year for 4 years, after which it will be able to buy the iPads for $1. Granted, banged-up tablets that are 2 years past their lifecycle aren't worth a ton, but $1 is still not bad.
As Cult of Mac's Ryan Faas notes, leasing is about $16,000 more expensive for the district than buying them for $500,000. But it also let the administrators avoid a whole heap of political stickiness from having to commit half a million dollars upfront during these lean budgetary times.
Besides the Purchase Option Lease used by East Alton, there is a Fair Market Value Lease that works like a car lease, says Faas, as well as a 10% Purchase Option Lease that blends features of the two.
If you want to learn more about how leasing iPads works, read my blog, Four Reasons Why Your Enterprise Should Lease, not Buy, an iPad.
Surf's Up, Dude
Almost two-thirds of the large iPad deployments in my list are by schools or universities. That's evenly split between K-12 schools and higher education institutions. Some of these school districts are massive - the New York City public school system, where my brother used to work in tech policy, has 1.2 million enrolled students.
Of course, with tight budgets, none of them have done anything close to a comprehensive 1:1 tablet program.
San Diego Unified School District has come the closest. Ranked the 19th largest school district in the country with about 127,000 students, San Diego Unified is spending $15 million to deploy 26,000 iPads to 340 classrooms this fall.
The district hasn't cemented plans on what apps and other tools it will use with the iPads, which will go to 5th-grade, 8th-grade and some high school classes this fall.
But its administrators no doubt hopes to replicate the experience of the Katy Independent School District (Texas), which credits a 20% rise in math test scores to the classroom use of Android smartphones.
Call of Tablet
The Department of Veterans Affairs is studying whether giving iPads to veterans' caregivers can improve healthcare. This would be via VA-developed apps that allow caregivers to send data about patients to doctors, who can diagnose and advise patients without a time-consuming office visit. More than 1,000 iPads are being given out to caregivers' families. All data will be exchanged securely, as per strict HIPAA rules.