Choosing to use a consumer-grade device, like an Apple iPad or smartphone, in the warehouse will depend on what you plan to do with it. Imagine going hiking in freezing arctic temperatures. You can choose a standard winter boot but you’re going to be much better off with purpose-built hiking boots rated for extreme temperatures.
Generally, consumer-grade devices are not designed for a rugged environment meaning they won’t handle the abuse devices are exposed to in the warehouse. No matter how careful a worker is, devices get dropped and knocked and consumer-grade devices get damaged very easily.
Warehouse devices need to make it through a work shift and when operations run around the clock, batteries need to be replaceable between shifts. Most consumer-grade devices don’t have replaceable batteries with battery sled options.
Third, warehouse management systems can display large amounts of information on the screen of the mobile device. Consumer-grade devices typically feature a touchscreen keyboard. This keyboard takes up screen real estate leaving less room to consume information.
Fourth, the screens are “capacitive” rather than “resistive”. This makes them more prone to accidental inputs and require a capacitive stylus for accurate “taps” (as compared to a normal pen or anything else that can put pressure on a resistive screen), and cannot be used with standard work gloves.
Finally, using a mobile device all day long can become a strain and so ergonomics play an important role. Consumer-grade devices are not ergonomic like a purpose-built mobile warehouse device – for example, a mobile computer with a pistol grip.