It is possible to hire an iPad and just the same as with hiring any other tool or object, you have to balance the cost of buying the item against the temporary requirement for needing the use of that tool. It would seem sensible that you would hire an iPad through an iPad rental company for instance if you were running an event which lasted just a couple of days and you needed to make sure that all attendees to that event would have the use of an iPad. It would be possible to build into the price of the event attendance, the cost of the iPad and you would know for sure that everybody would be singing from the same hymn sheet. It doesn’t necessarily have to be an event which is revolving around the iPad in terms of content, because the iPad is so versatile could be used for any other sorts of usage. At the same time though, it would be good in situations such as a conferenc that was teaching teachers how to use iPads in the classroom. It could be that a forward thinking company could have all of the materials for a conference put into an iPad application that attendees would be expected to interact with. I say interact with, rather than read from, because as we have seen with the iBooks application and the electronic books that are available, users do tend to interact with the applications on the device instead of just reading.
Companies that provide this service of iPad rental will also have accessories that can be used, such as iPad locks and iPad desk stands or floor stands. A particularly good use of iPads within an event situation would be to have iPads used as kiosks to show off information and there are companies that make available the kiosk hardware. With the iPad securely inside a kiosk stand, then it would also make it less likely to be stolen, especially if the location is a more public event.
The iPad pros and cons
Rather than attendees sitting all in rows in a hall watching somebody present on a stage with a PowerPoint or Keynote presentation, the interactivity and novelty of using iPads acquired through iPad rental, will really change the dynamic of an event. Attendees could be prompted to use the iPad and the applications contained within. Feedback and messages could relayed back to central place, through using either open social networks such as Twitter or could be asked to respond to questions through a specific software application for messaging. There are many uses for the iPad. Of course something like this would require the good setup of Wi-Fi for the connection of the iPads to a network, but that is not something that would be too difficult to set up. I would expect that a company involved in iPad rental would have the latest versions of the hardware and you would not have to compare iPad and iPad 2 in order to choose which version of the hardware to use.
With regards the iPad pros and cons for use in this way, then the pros would have to include that the more personalised contents made available that could be possible along with the interactivity. I would expect that the use of the iPad in such a way would increase the retention of the knowledge being imparted to the attendees of a conference in a way that it would be cost-effective to make sure that everybody was using the same hardware and software. Even if somebody was to bring their own iPad, they could still use the hardware and software provided or the organisers could make it possible for the conference attendee to download and install the necessary application. On the side of the cons with regard using an iPad from an iPad rental company, you would have to say that cost will be one consideration and have to be balanced against the effectiveness of using new methods and new media.
Renting or buying can be influenced by iPod rumours
A benefit of using iPad rental would be also that you would know that everybody was using the latest version of the hardware. This could be important if you needed to run an application that needed the iPad version 2 for example. When you rent these items, then you also don’t have to worry about what’s going to happen with the hardware once the exhibition or conference has finished. Mind you, having said that it is always fairly easy to sell second-hand iPads and for the price to still be pretty good when selling. The iPad does tend to keep its value much better than other computer hardware equipment. The latest iPad rumours concerning when the iPad 3 will be available could also have an effect upon whether it is better to buy iPads for your exhibition or whether to rent them instead.
The software or the content for the iPad to be used by attendees could be made available via Dropbox which is, to a certain extent the de facto iPad file browser. The files could be uploaded to a dropbox account and the files shared out to be downloaded as needed. I know that it would be a much more interesting conference or exhibition, learning or teaching event, if iPads are being used, especially if the whole thing is being organised properly. For a longer event, then it would be necessary also to make sure that charging facilities were made available, even though in the latest round of iPad rumours for iPad 3 it has been stated that larger batteries would be included to allow the iPad to be operated for longer. Goof to have more time that you can be using the iPad.