Saturday, February 13, 2010

If I were Buying an iPad, I would want it to do this...

I am am Macintosh and Apple die-hard. I have done everything I can to eliminate Windows machines from my life. I have almost succeeded but there are still a few things I need a Windows machine for (more on that later).

The point here is to say that I was sold on the notion of an iPad before it was announced. I was ready to buy one well before I knew what the iPad could do. Now that I have seen it I can say I am going to wait just like I waited to buy an iPod (I did not jump in until the third generation version of that gadget). While the first generation iPad might be something I would consider buying for my mom, it kind of isn't for me.

But, you know what would get me buying an iPad right now, today (or, in March when they are available) is an iPad based Point Of Sale system. In my publishing business I travel to shows and conventions quite a bit and do a lot of selling. I will routinely drag between one and three computers to a show, depending on the event size, to ring up sales, process credit cards and keep track of what was sold as well as process the odd return and put together a mailing list. Currently we use a web-based POS system called Imonggo, which is a stripped-down yet slick and easy to use POS system. It is not a huge, feature-rich POS that I would want to run my entire business in, but for the purposes of having a mobile POS that ties into a single database it is not just adequate to the task, it is a stellar performer and I would higly recommend it to all of my peers in the smaller end of the publishing or retail business who might like to use a POS at conventions. Best of all, Imonggo's base system is free, although we started with a paid version so we could use the import function to set up our stores initial inventory. Credit Card processing can be done in Imonggo if you have an Authorize.net account, which for me is a minus on Imonggo since I do not use Authorize.net.

So, why not just use Imonggo on an iPad using the browser? Well, a couple of things. First, no camera on the iPad, so no way to scan a bar code. Secondly, apparently the iPad will not print documents, so no way to give people a receipt. Lstly, the iPad will not multi-task to any other app, say maybe taking a product picture so I could add a product to the POS database on the fly, I need to close my POS. Maybe it's just a second or two, but a couple of seconds can seem like an eternity in a busy trade or consumer show environment.

The frustrating thing is that Apple has developed an iPod Touch based POS system for use in Apple Stores that they are calling Easypay. That system consists of an enclosure that you slide the Touch into that has a camera opening to scan barcodes and a swipe for you to swipe a credit card through. Signatures for credit cards are done with a stylus and you can print or email a receipt. So, Apple as a company sees the practical application for it's equipment, then missed a bet on two fronts.

One, not developing this software as something that a business can buy for themselves. The Apple POS is pretty slick and having seen it in action a couple of things leap to mind. 1) the Touch Pos System must tie into a central database somewhere as inventory is part of the system. 2) The iPod Touch POS prints receipts from within the application. It PRINTS, meaning that network printing from an app in the iPhone OS is possible without having to switch out of the application.

So, if Apple would like me to jump on the iPad bandwagon it could make the device POS software friendly so that I could use my current web based POS on it. Either that or they could develop an affordable version of their own POS system for use on either the Touch or the iPad. 

4 comments:

lahosken said...

Do you have an iPhone? Because if so, you might be interested in http://squareup.com/ . They figured out how to hook up a small credit card reader to an iPhone. There's an intro video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSzsFAJAKHI It seems like this could work well for conventions and such. Check it out.

Dan Vado said...

I am aware of Square, and it is a neat payment processor, however it is not really a POS system (no back end database) and there is no way to print a receipt.

Allan Macatingrao said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Allan Macatingrao said...

NuecaPOS is an iPod, iPhone, iPad based imonggo mobile POS it is design to meet your POS needs. You can use your existing imonggo account to sign in in that app. Its free by the way. But you need a premium(temporarily) account from imonggo to use this app. For now its premium, and imonggo is planning to distribute it free.



web:
http://www.nueca.net/nuecapos/

itunes:
https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/nuecapos-rs/id583837382?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D2