Stores To Use iPhones for Check-Out

April 10, 2009

The Apple stores will toss out their handheld, Windows CE-based point-of-sale (POS) computers by July and convert to iPhone-based software to process customer purchases, according to the AppleInsider Web site. The handheld devices, made by Symbol Technologies Inc., were introduced on Black Friday 2005 to streamline purchases, and eventually led to the removal of dedicated check-out counters at most stores. The devices use Wi-Fi to communicate with various POS and credit card systems to complete the transaction, and allow employees to send the customer an e-mail receipt. According to AppleInsider, the iPhone 3.0 software update expected this summer will allow greater support for external devices, including a credit card magnetic stripe reader. That advance will allow the Apple stores to begin using iPhones to process credit card purchase transactions.

This handheld computer will reportedly be replaced in Apple stores with iPhones by this July. The stores use a credit card magnetic stripe reader attached to the bottom of this device, adding about one inch to the length.

This handheld computer will reportedly be replaced in Apple stores with iPhones by this July. The stores use a credit card magnetic stripe reader attached to the bottom of this device, adding about one inch to the length.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Austin April 10, 2009 at 1504

Alright! A year ago, a suggested that Apple Stores ditch the clunky handhelds in favor of iPhones running custom checkout applications. I am so glad Apple is doing just that. Plus, seeing employees using an iPhone to process retail transactions really impresses customers.

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Kim April 10, 2009 at 1554

I worked at a store when we started with those things. They were HORRIBLE! They crashed all the time, froze in the middle of transactions, took forever to type info into… just terrible. At that time each store only had a few and we used to try to “stick” the other employees with one so we didn’t have to carry them around! This will be such a relief to the employees and much easier on customers.

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Payman April 11, 2009 at 0730

Easy pay at the moment doesn’t use WiFi, they have WiFi logo on the screen but they are BLUETOOTH based machines. you can see the bluetooth logo behind the device and that device which is from FUJITSO doesn’t have any kinda WiFi chip at all!

the new Easypays are going to be iPhone (the new one whenever it comes out) but it make more scene to use iPod Touch, bcoz the iPhone is going to get refreshed earlier than iPod Touch so iPhone will be adopted and we are looking about 8000 devices at least to cover world wide apple store’s easy pays… but I recon after a while the device will be iPod Touch third gen with card reader attached!

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Ockham April 13, 2009 at 1500

Uh. Payman is wrong. They use Wi-Fi in the U.S. models, other countries use different hardware but I find it hard to believe they would use Bluetooth since the range is so limited. Don’t believe me? Use stumbler at a store one day. Each store has a locked network, usually on channel 1, that doesn’t broadcast an SSID. The easypay devices are tied to it by password and MAC address.

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Randy April 13, 2009 at 1842

“The Apple stores will toss out their handheld, Windows CE-based point-of-sale (POS) computers by July…” What? That is NOT what AppleInsider said. They said now that there are ways in 3.0 software to access hardware they expect a creditcard reader for the iPhone will exist eventually and hopefully someone would make software LIKE the Symbol register software/hardware combo, but that Apple would never undertake the project for itself as the cost of development of a completely custom system for just the 255 stores would be outrageous.

-Randy

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Gary Allen April 13, 2009 at 2227

Randy — Oops! I think I said too much…!

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Johnny Mozzarella April 20, 2009 at 1106

I’ve heard that those EZ-Pay units cost upwards of $2000 a piece.
I don’t think it would be that daunting of a task to replicate the functionality of the EZ-Pay with a custom Apple Retail app.

Replacing $2000 EZ-Pays with $200 iPod Touchs sounds like a good start. They would also be able to update it and improve it faster than somebody else’s solution. Let’s not forget the benefit of happy employees.

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bdufeau April 21, 2009 at 2219

most of you have some things right. my own beliefs…

1) easy pays were very convenient, but froze a lot

2) easy pays are absolutely wifi devices.

3) easy pays only ran around $1200 retail in their release, sometime before 2005. the cost was more than offset by the publicity they brought to the stores, in addition to the rapidity in which the stores could handle transactions.

4) (if you knew how much each floor tile in an apple store cost, the handheld devices are icing on the cake for apple)

5) using ipods is already what the concierge team does as a part of their daily job, and it would seem like a natural progression for apple to adapt a version of its POS software for the ipod/iphone, and allow it to work with a card swiper.

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Kerri April 29, 2009 at 1313

Yeah, we will be switching to the iPhones as our handheld check-out device here in the Apple Store in Miami Beach. Can’t wait anymore for that to happen, I hate those damn things! They crash all the time, especially during a transaction process. LOL, its just aggravating when your trying to ring someone up, just like Austin and Kim said. It will really impress customers to see transaction of a retail store like Apple being done on the same device they just purchased ?

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