After months of speculation, Apple has finally revealed the newest gadget in its lineup: the iPad Mini! It’s slimmer, lighter, and more portable than its predecessors. Best of all, it’s the most affordable iPad, starting at $329.

 iPad Mini

Our question is: what kind of future does it hold for restaurant and retail settings? Here are some ideas:

Placing & Paying For To-Go Orders - Small restaurants might keep an iPad Mini at the counter, especially if they’re short-staffed. That way, customers on busy nights can pay without tying up the person at the register.

Busting Wait-list Boredom - Upscale restaurants might replace their clunky pagers with iPads. Customers waiting in line could browse the menu (or the restaurant’s social media pages) before they get seated. The iPad would give the time left until seating, and notify the customer when their table is ready.

Server-to-Kitchen Order Displays - We’re already seeing some servers using their smartphones as scratch paper to remember customer orders - instead, why not arm every server with an iPad Mini? If servers’ iPad Minis are paired with another iPad in the kitchen, kitchen staff could be notified of new orders from afar.

Tableside Checkouts - Instead of handing you the check and walking away, servers could hand you an iPad Mini to pay with. Of course, to speed things up they'd probably stand around and wait for you to pay. Because nothing speeds up payment like having someone expectantly peering over your shoulder.

We’re excited to see where the iPad Mini will go in the retail world. Its smaller size makes it a good bet for space-challenged businesses - and its relative affordability makes it a better bet for businesses that aren’t wallowing in swimming pools of money. (Yet.)

And if all else fails, the iPad Mini will always make a great gift for middle-schoolers wanting to play Angry Birds in math class.



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