10 Disadvantages of iPAD® POS systems

As a small business owner you have probably come across a myriad of ads and blog posts about how iPAD® POS systems are revolutionizing the industry. Sounds great, right? But is it??

No. In fact, a closer look reveals that they just fail to live up to the hype. The new iPAD® vendors relentlessly push their product online via websites, blogs, and social media, while traditional POS companies stick to their dealer network. This makes for a one sides conversation, which obscures distinct disadvantages that you need to recognize. Moreover, there are far fewer people interested in them than you would expect. Just look up Google Trends™ in comparison to the exact term “POS system”. Here’s why…

  • Security - The Federal Reserve has published a report that asserts that security concerns present the main reason why consumers remain hesitant, when considering mobile POS. Therefore, when it comes to credit cards, consumers still prefer traditional, stationary POS systems over mobile POS alternatives.
  • Liability - iPAD®s break easily in busy environments. You’ll have to spend additional money to insure them or buy cases. An iPAD® s also represents a desirable item and therefore runs the risk of theft, which substantially elevates the risk of losing confidential company data, not to mention sensitive customer information. Mobile devices are far easier to misplace than a stationary POS system, increasing the risk of theft even further. Imagine sales staff misplacing them in a large department store. While it may be easy to replace these, one should not underestimate compromising customer information, which can have costly consequences for businesses. Aside from brand damage to a business, there are cost estimates ranging from $150 to $250 per stolen credit card!
  • Service - You no longer have someone, who can come and fix it, when it breaks on a Friday night. Most likely the cost of fixing an iPAD® will be the equivalent of just buying a new one. Many traditional POS systems have modules that the technician can easily exchange.
  • Update delays & App Store® - Software is an ongoing project. New hardware, new standards, new technologies or worse – bugs, all require software updates. iPAD® POS apps have to get approved by Apple™ before they become available to users. Do you want to wait, because your POS app is not compatible with iOS™ XX?? Worst of all, if your app provider fails to adhere to Apple™’s policies, you can find your POS app banned, leaving you stranded. The 2015 nationwide blackout of the Starbucks™ POS during an update remains the penultimate example of this drawback and serves as a staunch reminder of caution.
  • Notion of low cost is a myth - With addition of a WiFi infrastructure, monthly charges, license fees, data plans, and investment on compatible peripheral devices plus stands, there is little chance you’ll come out ahead of traditional POS systems. You can expect another $500 per terminal. In addition, consumers should be aware that Apple™ only supports the current and previous product generation. That means your tablet will struggle to run the latest iOS™ update, if you bought it 2-3 years ago. It is called planned obsolescence. With the iPad® 4 Apple™ has replaced the previous model in six months!

    Worse yet, apps may force you to upgrade your iOS™ to take advantage of new features and bug fixes. This may force you to replace your iPAD® , which many App vendors conveniently forget to mention.

    Lastly, you may have noticed the price tag. These aren’t cheap tablets by any stretch of the imagination. Apple™ is known for their so called “Apple Tax”. This price can also be found on their iPads® as well.
  • Deficiency in compatible devices - Aggravating matters, the selection of tablet compatible POS hardware is meager at best. Simple economies of scale dictate that these compatible devices will cost you more. Tablets also do not support common serial or parallel connections. Most do not even support USB! Further, purchasing a tablet POS system with its fancy looking app means you’ll lock yourself into one credit card merchant. The one that happens to support your app and charges you whatever they want.
  • WiFi requirement & associated system vulnerability - Aside from elevating the start-up cost, all peripherals connected to the iPAD® POS via LAN also create a weak spot for your business. If your WiFi access point or switch goes offline, none of your POS stations will be able to print or even open your cash drawer. Every iPAD® will instantly disconnect from each other and their peripherals until you can get your network back online. The Bluetooth alternatives will only help you with nearby printers.
  • Closed system - Many of the iPad®'s competitors offer expansion features such as SD card memory slots and standard USB ports to connect with other devices. In addition, some have an HDMI socket that lets you show the screen's content on an external high-definition television. The iPad® has only two connectors: a headphone jack and a "Lightning" port; Apple offers no way to augment or upgrade the tablet's memory.
  • Numerous dubious iPAD® apps - They will quickly pollute the market with flunky solutions and therefore give the product niche a bad name as well as obscure the companies that actually do a decent job.
  • Poor customer retention – many business end up returning the iPAD® s and investing in traditional POS systems again. Just ask your favorite VAR magazine.

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