iPad POS system: The New Way to Accept Payments

It's no surprise businesses opt for iPads when searching for new point of sale systems. After all, the sleek devices give an upmarket air when compared to PC systems or cash registers. They also allow employees to interact more closely with customers. In fact, smaller businesses with limited space use the devices to show high-resolution pictures of products they can provide on special order, allowing for sales even when customers don't have a chance to purchase in-store.

iPad becoming 'cash register of choice'

The allure of the iPad appears to be based on more than looks, however. A growing number of third-party POS system providers are offering compatibility with iPads. Some business analysts see the iPad as finding its true niche as a POS system component (1). 

Lardy Dignan, an analyst for ZDNet, said iPads are becoming the go-to cash registers and card readers of choice for businesses of all sizes.

Other experts agree, saying the payments and retail space is undergoing a transformation that will be felt throughout various industries. Bulky, back-counter computers may soon be a thing of the past, while increased consumer engagement will be the new norm.

Erosion of Apple dominance

Will every shopper be checking out on an iPad soon? Not so fast.

While Apple products retain dominance among mobile apps and platforms, they actually lost market share to Android and Windows in the second quarter of 2015, according to data from Good Technology (2). Looking at tablets bought online for business purposes in that quarter yields further bad news for Apple: The percentage of new activations that were iPads fell from 81 percent to 64 percent, the same data found.

Meanwhile, initial use of tablets from Android and Windows soared. Good Technology stated that just two quarters previously, Windows made up only 1 percent of tablets, making such growth even more impressive.

Drilling down to the performance of the iPad itself, the picture is mixed. iPad sales are in free-fall in the consumer market, trending downward for six straight quarters. However, on the business or enterprise side of the market, iPads are establishing themselves. The Wall Street Journal reported Apple plans a major effort to expand the iPad's adoption for business uses (3). In a sign of its seriousness, Apple partnered with old foe International Business Machines Corp. to create custom iPad apps for businesses.

So while iPads appear to be finding their footing as POS machines, those shopping for POS systems might want to consider non-iPad tablets as well.

The advice of payment processing firms, which have years of experience with multiple POS systems, can also be invaluable. While iPads may certainly be a fine choice for many businesses, others may not be the right fit for using them as POS tools.