I know that commenting on another bloggers comments about another post is one level too many, but this one caught my attention.

Over on SplatF, Dan Frommer talks about putting iPads where PCs weren’t before: in an airport lounge area, in this particular example.

This is where some sort of iOS “guest mode” would be neat, to be able to sign into your iTunes account for a few minutes, download your favorite app or two, maybe a TV show from your iCloud library, access your email, and then sign out when you’re done and wipe your data off the device. This would also be useful when you’re visiting friends or relatives and want to access your stuff from their iPad.

In general, iOS doesn’t seem to be set up very well for sharing, and if the iPad is going to become a public-use device, it would be nice if Apple improved that experience. But for now, it’s better than nothing, I suppose.

Then, Ben Brooks said:

This is high up on my wish list too, but in a slightly different vein. I just would like to be able to let someone else use my iPad without them being able to access my email and other stored data. A guest mode: yes — just perhaps one that allowed someone to use just Safari and apps that I designate, where everything else remains walled off. That’d be pretty useful.

I have to agree that a guest mode would be handy for sharing my iPad with others, but I don’t see this being an area on which Apple will spend any developer time. As Dan says in the original post:

As far as Apple is concerned, the questions are:

  • Is this a real, sustainable, long-term market, or just a fad? Will future MasterCard lounges or car service drivers use iPads for these purposes, or would they ever use Google Chromebooks, or something like that?
  • Can Apple dominate this market — the iPad-as-public-device-and-sign-type-thing — or will it drift toward cheaper tablets, like the Nook Tablet, Kindle Fire, or no-name Android things?

I see this trend very much as a fad. Ultimately, focusing on making iPads share-able isn’t the kind of thing Apple would do. Their goal is to have everyone at an airport gate browsing on their own iPad, not using one provided for the duration of their wait. Apple’s goal isn’t to sell movie theaters and busses; they’re in the business of selling television sets and personal cars. They want to sell devices to everyone, not shared devices to be used communally.