If you’ve been to the Apple Store, you’ve probably seen them, those cool iPad-based interactive displays that recently replaced all paper placards next to products on display. This concept isn’t new, and the “kiosk” or “demo” mode for computers has been around for a while. Now, with the new Kiosk Pro app for iPad, anyone can set up a full-featured professional kiosk to present their products and web sites full screen, with no navigation or status bars. The $2.99 Kiosk Pro app, which has a free Lite version and the advanced $29 Kiosk Pro Plus, was developed by the same folks that have spent decades custom making kiosk applications for the likes of Amtrak, Boeing, CocaCola and IBM. The interactive displays in the Smithsonian were also made by them, and now the very best in kiosk development is distilled into this remarkable and inexpensive app.
Kiosk Pro app comes with more settings than most people might need, but the initial setup is fairly simple. You set a homepage and the Allowed Domains list to limit the sites your visitors can navigate to, or leave it empty for unrestricted web browsing. Turn on the Digital Sign mode to completely disable the iPad’s touch screen and turn it into a non-interactive digital signboard. For kiosks located in high traffic areas (like an expo hall at a big convention) there’s a helpful time-out feature – after a set number of minutes of use, Kiosk Pro automatically navigates to a “Goodbye” page and then cycles back to its preset homepage, giving more visitors a turn at your kiosk. Another awesome feature is the option to display all web pages and media from local files stored on iPad directly – a godsend for any location with spotty or slow WiFi or cell service.
For multiple kiosks deployment, even if they are in different locations, the External Settings File feature allows you to globally change any of the settings in seconds. Assign a unique ID for each iPad to change individual kiosk’s settings remotely by changing the corresponding values in an XML file and uploading it to your server. Monitor your kiosks remotely by setting Kiosk Pro to email you if your kiosk loses power. Speaking of power, the Kiosk Pro Plus version lets your kiosk take a nap with the overnight Dim Mode, setting it to automatically go to sleep and wake up at the times you want.
Overall this is one of the best apps for the job we’ve seen in a while, and it offers many clever and innovative features. For serious applications you’ll probably want to purchase once of the hardware kiosk pieces from the developer’s website, to secure the iPad itself and restrict use of the Home Button. But even without the hardware component, the app doesn’t skimp on features and offers a complete solution to turn you iPad into a professional kiosk device on a small budget.