Dish, Southwest putting iPad 2 to good use for in-flight fun

While it remains on the market, the iPad 2 might have found a sweet spot in the travel and hospitality industries.


When Apple confirmed last week that the iPad 2 would remain on the market as one of the entry-level options for the iOS tablet series, consumers and analysts alike were confused.

First introduced in 2011, the 9.7-inch tablet is a bit of a clunker compared to the one-pound-light iPad Air and even the older version of the iPad mini. Perhaps Apple just had a ton of these bad boys lying around in a factory somewhere?

Regardless, a cheaper iPad could prove to be a valuable deal in the travel and hospitality industries.

Since the very first iPad debuted in 2010, it was immediately jumped upon businesses from bakery counter-tops to wine bars to serve as menus, point-of-sale machines, and more.

Airlines were no exception, with many picking up Apple's tablet to serve as in-flight entertainment sources as well as replace heavy paper manuals for pilots and cabin crews .

One could possibly even make the argument that it was travel and dining that encouraged the use of the iPad in business settings to begin with.

The latest innovation of the trend comes courtesy of a deal between DISH Network and Southwest Airlines.

Much like how Google tested its Chromebooks on Virgin America, Southwest flyers will be able to check out an iPad 2 at their departing points, enabling them to be able to watch DISH's "Watch TV on the Fly" lending libraries of live and on-demand video content while in transit.

Launching in time for the busy holiday travel season, the program will be free and first offered on Wi-Fi-enabled flights between Denver, Oakland, and Chicago-Midway.

Even just on paper, that looks like a much more pleasing (not to mention better performing) in-flight entertainment experience offered by most domestic carriers.

With the iPad 2 selling for $399 at a storefront level, buying these older but still very viable machines in bulk does actually appear to be a better deal when you look at it from a business use case perspective.