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iPads for Events: Rent vs. Buy

iPads for Events: Rent vs. Buy

There’s no doubt that iPads are great tools for meeting planners who want to add interactivity to their events. They are an ideal solution for running conference apps, having  paperless meetings, or running  point-of-sale solutions.

While renting iPads for a conference certainly costs much less than buying new units, what about renting larger quantities or for longer periods of time? In these situations, would it be better for you to purchase the units? What really goes into owning large numbers of iPads and re-using them at multiple events?

Buying iPads may be best for you if…

  • You plan to use them for multiple years
  • You want  brand new devices , fresh out of the box
  • You want to  mix & match specific colors
  • Your team has time to handle the logististics (customization, shipping & security)
  • You want to  give away the iPads as prizes  after the event

Renting iPads may be best for you if…

  • You want to  save money  compared to the cost of buying them
  • You don’t have time or space to manage  shipping & logistics
  • You want  professional customization  on large numbers of iPads
  • You want easy options for  onsite setup & support
  • You need  4G data , and don’t want to deal with managing those data plans
  • You want  24/7 tech support  &  contingency plans  (plus damage and theft insurance options)

How Meeting Tomorrow prepares iPads:

We inspect and charge each unit before every event to make sure they are in pristine working order, have the latest iOS, and are wiped clean of all previous documents and user information.

rent vs buy ipads
Pushing out a custom iPad image using Apple Configurator 2.
rent ipads vs buy
iPad storage bins hold 32 iPads and weigh close to 50 lbs.
packing ipads rent vs buy
Checking & scanning out iPads before packing & shipping.
rent vs buy ipads for events
A finished batch of iPads with a custom background & extra apps.


Equipment Needed:

1. Working space (10′ x 20′ for 100-300 iPads)
2. Heavy duty power strips and dedicated power outlets
3. Storage bins to carry/hold iPads
4. iPad protective cases to prevent screen damage
5. Apple iMacs or Macbooks for imaging stations
6. Apple Configurator 2 software
7. iPad sync / charge stations
8. Shipping bins, label printers & bubble wrap

Preparation Steps:

1. Charge iPads (~4 hrs to fully charge an iPad Air)
2. Erase contents & update iOS (~45 min per batch of 32 iPads)
3. Create custom image (backgrounds, apps & settings)
4. Push out custom image to all iPads (~30 min per batch)
5. Check customization on all iPads & power them down
6. Pack iPads in shipping bins & arrange shipping pickups
7. Track all shipments & monitor returns
8. Unpack, verify numbers & start again!