Many museums and galleries use touch-screen displays to add an interactive element to an exhibit. Most often they use PCs running Director movies, though the PC is usually hidden inside the kiosk itself. As an antidote to these grey displays TSL (Touchscreen Systems Limited) has produced a touchscreen version of the iMac – which cries out not to be hidden away..
The touchscreen consists of a 2mm-thick sheet in between the normal screen and the front of the iMac. If you look behind the door that has the USB connections, you will see that one of the two sockets is taken up by the screen connection. This means that connecting any extra peripherals beyond the keyboard and mouse requires a USB hub.
Not that the normal use of the kiosk would require any extra peripherals – in fact it is more likely to be used without a keyboard or mouse.
Although the name suggests that the iKiosk is suitable only for interactive presentations, there may be other uses too. Children, especially, like the touch screen, as it is easier than ‘mousing’. In fact, the touch screen was popular with everyone in the Macworld offices.
One thing I really expected to find was a problem with finger prints. You would think that hoards of grubby children or Macworld employees for that matter would make a mess of the screen. In fact the screen was remarkably resilient to all the greasy paws that touched it. After a hard days work in a museum, a quick once over with a cloth would bring the screen back to its original sheen.
Using the screen is not reliant on anything other than driver software. You can move around the screen and double-click, or at least double-tap just like when using a mouse.
The price for all this added functionality is £1,325 (obviously, including the iMac). This is £546 more than your plain old iMac; around the same as you might pay for a PC kiosk set-up. However, you would also need to pay for a box to hide the ugly PC, while the iKiosk stands proud. It will also serve as a public endorsement of Apple when displayed, which is always a good thing.