It’s like the biggest iPhone (or iPad) ever. But it’s not the latest gizmo from Apple’s Steve Jobs. It’s one of the new vending machines unveiled at the recent National Automatic Merchandising Show in Chicago that was undoubtedly inspired by the folks from Apple.
The new vending machines from Kraft and Coca-Cola do indeed resemble giant iPhonesâ€”and it’s no coincidence. They’re clearly meant to appeal to the iGeneration.
Instead of an array of plastic-wrapped foods behind a clear plastic window, Kraft’s Diji-Touch machine presents images of those snacks on a 46-inch LCD screen. Tap the image and it enlarges, like on an iPhone. Brush the screen, the item swivels (like on an iPhone), enabling you to peruse the ingredients or nutritional data. A Kraft marketing manager noted that this is about the first new thing that’s happened to vending machines in decades.
If these new machines become the standard, the days of hoping and praying that your bag of cheese puffs will be released and successfully drop to the bottom and within your grasp may soon be over.
Coke also has a fancy new fountain dispenser that’s being tested in fast food restaurants in Georgia and California, called the Coca-Cola Freestyle. This thing can spit out 104 different flavors of soda or non-carbonated beverages, and it lets you customize your drink. If you want Vanilla Coke, just touch the right flavors on the screen and push the button. Want some peach flavor in your Sprite? There’s an
app button for that.
A young friend of mine used to call a mixture of orange and grape soda, Coke and root beer a â€˜suicide.â€™ Not sure Coke wants to use that terminology, but it appears they’ve bought into the thought behind it. Now anyone can become a soda mixologist.
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