People who still do not own a tablet after the 2012 holiday season may get access to one in 2013. They could use it any time they want and not have to buy it. That is because soon developers want kiosks operated by MediaSurfer to offer iPads for rent.
"So a customer comes into a hotel and wants to borrow an iPad, rent an iPad, so we have this kiosk that allows anybody to walk up with a credit card, swipe their card, borrow an iPad, do whatever they'd normally do with an iPad--online shopping, download books, anything you'd normally do," Bill Payne of MediaSurfer said.
Developers say through their research, they believe the rental cost will likely be around $3.50 per half-hour, if the kiosk is in a place like a hotel or airport.
MediaSurfer executives say they are actually hoping to primarily have the kiosks installed in libraries, where users could borrow an iPad for free with a library card, just as they would a book.
Some people may be concerned about entering credit card information or email addresses into a publicly used tablet, but developers insist the information is wiped from the iPad as soon as it is returned.
"We're wiping it out completely and then resetting it back to its initial state and that's vital, that's important," Payne said. "In addition, we're recharging, doing diagnostics to make sure the machine's in sound and good condition as well."
The case for the rental iPad is a bit bulky on purpose. It not only helps protect the iPad, but also helps it conform to the size of the kiosks' slots. Since new iPads come out each year, all developers have to do is make sure the newest model fits inside the case, so that the entire kiosk is not rendered obsolete after every new release.