Apple iPhones Pushing Aside Rugged Handheld Devices?
Is it possible to be sexy, rugged and reliable? In the case of Apple’s iPhone, the answer apparently is “yes.” A case in point: The Long Island Rail Road (LIRR), one of the U.S.’s largest commuter railroads, is testing a mobile handheld system for passenger ticket sales. Instead of opting for a rugged, vertical-market device, the LIRR is using an Apple iPhone with a special credit card swiper and printer.
The LIRR system, known as TIM (Ticket Issuance Machine), will involve 37 Apple iPhones, each costing about $1,200 to acquire and customize, according to Newsday, a Long Island newspaper that covered the LIRR project in today’s edition.
At 37 units, the LIRR isn’t exactly a huge iPhone deployment. But it could be a sign of the times for rugged mobile device makers and mobile VARs. Ever since Apple Stores in 2009 replaced rugged Windows Mobile devices from Motorola/Symbol with iPod Touches running EasyPay, the broader world has been wondering how quickly iPhones would catch on as mainstream mobile POS devices.
By early 2010, David Courbanou covered the Mophie ad-on device, which is similar to Apple’s own POS approach. And our site has long speculated that Apple could enter the POS market. By late 2010, Apple had lined up its first POS customer — Gap Inc.’s Old Navy subsidiary.
Fast forward to the present, and the Long Island Rail Road is on track to deploy iPhone POS devices. It’s time for VARs in the POS, retail and transportation markets to take note: It sure seems like consumer devices are pushing hard into the rugged mobile space… thanks to Apple.