A few hotels have already begun offering gadgets like the Kindle and the Sony Reader, in-room to guests. And even more are starting to place in-room computers and to offer laptops to borrow during your stay. So will hotels get on the iPad bandwagon as well?
You don't need to be a genius to know what we think they should do but the reality is hotels will probably be slow to incorporate this new technology into their in-room offerings.
For one, there could be the finicky issue of how to charge guests. Who will pay for usage--the guest or the hotel? Well, it could work just like regular computer in-room WiFi where the hotel charges it back to the guest's room. Then there is the question of privacy. You can't really personalize the hotel's iPad with your own apps or movies.
However, an in-room iPad can operate just like the computers used in a business center where browsing privacy is erased after each guest use and personal uploads/downloads are not allowed. But still, these are issues will have to think carefully about.
Yet the iPad is actually the perfect amenity for hotels. It's not as bulky as an in-room desktop computer or even laptops. You could just leave this thing on the desks for guests to use. (With extensive, "If you break it or steal this from the room, we will charge it to your hotel room bill" policies.)
And especially since newspapers and magazines will be creating special applications for the iPad, hotels won't have to go around placing newspapers in front of guest doors anymore. Also with iBooks, guests can download books recommended by the hotel or hotel staffers. And no more bibles in the nightstand necessary!
Of course, this is all a ways off. Apple is still finessing the iPad and you know how Apple does with their first generation products. Also, pricing will drop as iPad inevitably rolls out new generation. We're currently awaiting the initial price of the iPad. Hurry it up, Steve!!
UPDATE: The iPad will initially cost $499. AT&T Data plans will come in two options: 250MB for $15 a month. Unlimited data for $29.99. No contract, can cancel anytime and free use of AT&T WiFi hotspots. But um, it's AT&T. We're wondering if hotels can absorb this cost or if there is an Apple hotspot account that you can sign onto from the iPad. iPad models with 3G will be $629.
UPDATE 2: iPads could work on the hotel's existing WiFi network.
Either way, we say YES hotels should start doing this. And they should be competing with each other to offer it first. The first iPads will go on the market in 60 days. 3G models hit the market in 90 days.