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Retailers want in on Apple's iPod touch point-of-sale system

post #1 of 58
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Businesses of all sizes have reached out to Apple with interest in its iPod touch-based point-of-sale system, which recently debuted at the Mac maker's stores.

Gary Allen of ifoAppleStore has reported that Apple has been "deluged" with inquiries about the system, which utilizes a custom-built shell that encases the iPod touch and adds a barcode scanner and magnetic stripe reader to it. The hardware attachment is partnered with custom-built software that allows Apple retail employees to check out customers quickly and easily from any point in the store.

"Since the debut of the iPod POS, inquires have been coming from all directions, including from end-user small businesses, larger chains and system integrators. Until now, Apples response has been that the iPod POS is a proprietary product, unavailable for sale," Allen said. "But now, tipsters say, Apple retail executives have asked the retail store business specialists to collect contact information from anyone who inquires about the iPod touch system, apparently to create a database of potential customers if Apple decides to commercialize the product."

In November, ifoAppleStore and AppleInsider gave an exclusive look at Apple's new iPod touch-based EasyPay checkout system. The system, now being used in some retail locations, replaced the previous Windows CE-based portable computers, which employees complained were sluggish and crashed often.

The EasyPay Touch system handles credit, debit and cash transactions, as well as certain product returns. For credit card purchases, customers will write their signature on the iPod touch using a stylus.



AppleInsider has also heard of other potential new task-specific iPod touch applications said to arrive at stores in the U.S. and Europe in the near future. At least three exclusive, separate applications (including the "Easy Touch") are said to allow employees to accomplish a number of tasks more simply and efficiently.

One alleged application would allow workers to swap iPhones and iPods for replacements on the store floor -- something that previously could only be done at the store's Genius Bar. The other was said to assist employees who work in a store's stock room.

The introduction of the iPhone's 3.0 software allows applications on the device to utilize external hardware plugged in to an iPhone or iPod touch. That change paved the way for Apple to create its own point-of-sale system.
post #2 of 58
Looks like someone's been nibbling on that pen.
post #3 of 58
I'm befuddled by a couple things.

1) Why there werent others soon after the March v3.0 SDK release announcing a similar products in the works. Whether its Moto or a start up this attachment seems obvious and likely to make some real money for some savvy people.

2) A bit of topic: I expected to see a lot more 3rd-party attachments by now. We had at least 2 demoed D-pad attachments before the v3.0 SDK was announced.


Quote:
Originally Posted by monstrosity View Post

Looks like someone's been nibbling on that pen.

HAHA It does look that way.
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post #4 of 58
No doubt other retailers would want in since the WinMo version is klunky. Good for Apple! I hope they can make it available to all comers.
post #5 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTel View Post

No doubt other retailers would want in since the WinMo version is klunky. Good for Apple! I hope they can make it available to all comers.

Wouldnt you think Moto would have thought to go the TomTom route and make there own external HW and write (or have written) SW for it? I know I thought of this immediately and I am sure I am not he only one.

If you cant beat them, join them. If Moto didnt understand the potential of iPhone OS back then they surely understand it now and Id wager that they are now working on their own device to compete.

PS: Id also like to see one for the iPhone. Nextel offered a phone with a CC reader on it a decade ago so this type of PoS device isnt out of the question.
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post #6 of 58
This would be a great product for Apple to sell to small businesses that want to use Mac products.
post #7 of 58
I have purchased several items from the Apple store in Los Gatos CA that uses this system and have never been asked to sign the iPod.
post #8 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by OriginalMacRat View Post

This would be a great product for  to sell to small businesses that want to use Mac products.

yes but with a twist
 should lease it for free to stores that that buy macs
and no one can hope to catch up to a free ground breaking product that moves goods out of a store fast .
apple can kill off the competition before their born

the commission crazed best buy workers will really like this >>>
and very large retail <<walmart/food stores> chains can equip a top floor managers to roam around and find elderly or moms with 8kids who can;t do long lines and move them out quick .
stuff like that .
macrat good idea dude

i hate lines
go 


peace 9
whats in a name ? 
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whats in a name ? 
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post #9 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by bspears View Post

I have purchased several items from the Apple store in Los Gatos CA that uses this system and have never been asked to sign the iPod.

So did you not sing anything at all (do you ever sign with that card) or did you sign a paper print out?
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post #10 of 58
iPod POS doesn't seem like a great name, though.
post #11 of 58
This worries me a little, in the UK in order to process a card payment a customer has to enter their pin... I know I don't feel comfortable putting my pin in on an iPod Touch... especially if it's not in an apple store... Maybe it's just me and my false sense of security.
post #12 of 58
Gotta tell you, the new POS's are very nice from a customer standpoint. They seem to be much quicker than the old Symbols they had previously. When I use my debit card they take the last four digits of the card, and when I charge on a credit card it asked for the signature.

The stylus is that Pogo stylus that mimics the conductivity of skin - it has a kind of spongy tip to it. A little weird to write with a first as it drags more than a regular stylus or pen and is correspondingly bigger as well. The Apple employees I've talked to while ringing out seemed VERY happy with the devices.

Also they seem to have more functions on it - like printing out gift receipts and other activity.
post #13 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTel View Post

No doubt other retailers would want in since the WinMo version is klunky. Good for Apple! I hope they can make it available to all comers.

they might, in a year or so, release the cradle part to the public. but it is my understanding that their POS system was made for them from day one and no way would they release that to anyone and risk it being reverse engineered and tampered with.

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post #14 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I'm befuddled by a couple things.

1) Why there werent others soon after the March v3.0 SDK release announcing a similar products in the works. Whether its Moto or a start up this attachment seems obvious and likely to make some real money for some savvy people.

2) A bit of topic: I expected to see a lot more 3rd-party attachments by now. We had at least 2 demoed D-pad attachments before the v3.0 SDK was announced.


Yes I am also. But this is certainly good news. Why Apple didn't think of this sooner is also a question. But it looks like they may have turned that around.

Where are the real companies making real life applications with 3rd party attachments? We, or at least I thought with the 3.0 software demo, seeing the iphone have the ability test and record blood levels, that this would be huge.

I certainly hope Apple gets this together, so when I walk into BestBuy next year I can buy something while the employee whips out a Touch to take my order. I bet Apple could make lots of money with this kind of service.
post #15 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwilli View Post

This worries me a little, in the UK in order to process a card payment a customer has to enter their pin... I know I don't feel comfortable putting my pin in on an iPod Touch... especially if it's not in an apple store... Maybe it's just me.

I can understand your PoV here but it's a social psychological issue, not a technical one, that needs to be addressed and overcome. There s no data that is saved internally. Using a Moto Symbol device or using any terminal where you input your PIN or sign your name can lead to the same theviery.

At least we have a banking system that will protect our accounts if something does happen. Personally, I'd trust an in-store employer of a major company, like Apple, before I'd trust the CCard system at a gas station, inside or at the pump.
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post #16 of 58
Originally Posted by Solipsism:

HAHA It does look that way.



While the working end tip does look a little chomped on , it looks like that is the actual texture of the 'soft tip' material, as the manufacturer calls it.

Click on the 'Features' tab to see a close-up:

http://tenonedesign.com/sketch.php

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post #17 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by bspears View Post

I have purchased several items from the Apple store in Los Gatos CA that uses this system and have never been asked to sign the iPod.

but where you spending more than $50. many banks and stores have a threshold (and $50 seems to be the amount) that you don't have to sign or even PIN for a purchase. I've noticed it in a lot of places that don't have digital sig pads especially.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gwilli View Post

This worries me a little, in the UK in order to process a card payment a customer has to enter their pin... I know I don't feel comfortable putting my pin in on an iPod Touch... especially if it's not in an apple store... Maybe it's just me and my false sense of security.


asking staff at a store that knows me very well (cause i work in another shop in the same mall) I found out two things

1. the POS software is written to only work on one wifi network which is password secured (apparently the old klunkers were the same)
2. you don't put your pin in the touch. you go to a freestanding standard pin pad which processes the number and sends an approval code to the touch.

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post #18 of 58
I believe it would be foolish for Apple to pass on the chance to market this item to businesses. This could be the serious business device that Apple has been lacking all these years. No way this would be considered a toy. If it's better than running a Windows CE device, then that will give Microsoft another kick to the groin. Please, may Apple market this device to the thousands of small retailers in the U.S. at least. I'm not sure how big it would go over at department stores where cash needs to be handled. I'm sure there is still a place for normal cash registers.
post #19 of 58
Apple should start a new division to commercialize this. It could be bigger than Macbook. Can you imagine walking into Home Depot or Staples or JCPenney, and don't have to wait in that ridiculous line?

This is a bigger market than iPod Touch. It can potentially get rid of clunky debit/credit card machines you see in retail stores. It will be a great asset to restaurants, so no one takes your bank card to the back-room any more.

And the exposure it will create for Apple. Sell it to the world, Steve. Sell it NOW!
post #20 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

but where you spending more than $50. many banks and stores have a threshold (and $50 seems to be the amount) that you don't have to sign or even PIN for a purchase. I've noticed it in a lot of places that don't have digital sig pads especially.




asking staff at a store that knows me very well (cause i work in another shop in the same mall) I found out two things

1. the POS software is written to only work on one wifi network which is password secured (apparently the old klunkers were the same)
2. you don't put your pin in the touch. you go to a freestanding standard pin pad which processes the number and sends an approval code to the touch.

I bought the $69 magic mouse at the UWS NYC Apple Store and also wasn't asked to sign the device. It's a pretty cool device though, in operation. Much faster than the Microsoft gadgets they used to use.
post #21 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I can understand your PoV here but it's a social psychological issue, not a technical one, that needs to be addressed and overcome. There s no data that is saved internally. Using a Moto Symbol device or using any terminal where you input your PIN or sign your name can lead to the same theviery.

At least we have a banking system that will protect our accounts if something does happen. Personally, I'd trust an in-store employer of a major company, like Apple, before I'd trust the CCard system at a gas station, inside or at the pump.

My worry was that the current POS systems are quite hard to come by, I can see people making/buying fake enclosures and the software to boot walking into large stores (other than apple) posing as staff and cloning people's cards and walking out. If you live in London you'll know what I mean. Unfortunately most people aren't as vigilante a we'd hope.
post #22 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by bspears View Post

I have purchased several items from the Apple store in Los Gatos CA that uses this system and have never been asked to sign the iPod.

You actually will not be asked unless you spend over a certain amount - something like $75 or more. Also you sign with your finger.
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post #23 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by brucep View Post

yes but with a twist
 should lease it for free to stores that that buy macs
and no one can hope to catch up to a free ground breaking product that moves goods out of a store fast .
apple can kill off the competition before their born

the commission crazed best buy workers will really like this >>>
and very large retail <<walmart/food stores> chains can equip a top floor managers to roam around and find elderly or moms with 8kids who can;t do long lines and move them out quick .
stuff like that .
macrat good idea dude

i hate lines
go 


peace 9

But only if the store using the devise for free agrees to sell their products for free - as that would be a ground breaking business! Peace out!
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post #24 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwilli View Post

My worry was that the current POS systems are quite hard to come by, I can see people making/buying fake enclosures and the software to boot walking into large stores (other than apple) posing as staff and cloning people's cards and walking out. If you live in London you'll know what I mean. Unfortunately most people aren't as vigilante a we'd hope.

Ive thought of that but that is a very limited risk, IMO, and you are still protected by your financial institution (and likely Apple will give stuff if you agree to not disclose it happening ). There is also a chance that one could switch the Touch in the device, if its an inside job, to one that some additional software running that will intercept your info and transparently send it to another location. Both of these could happen with the Moto Symbol devices.

PS: The craziest thing ive heard about are russians installing fake ATM consoles over real ones so they can snag your card and PIN.
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post #25 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Wouldnt you think Moto would have thought to go the TomTom route and make there own external HW and write (or have written) SW for it? I know I thought of this immediately and I am sure I am not he only one.

If you cant beat them, join them. If Moto didnt understand the potential of iPhone OS back then they surely understand it now and Id wager that they are now working on their own device to compete.

PS: Id also like to see one for the iPhone. Nextel offered a phone with a CC reader on it a decade ago so this type of PoS device isnt out of the question.

I would think adapting to iPhone would be piece of cake. I know doing so would open huge possibilities for people doing outdoor events, they could utilize a VPN connection over the cell data network.


I think the reason you haven't seen anyone else step up to this plate is the same reason all current PoS devices currently on the market are clunky, in fact I think Apple probably assumed someone would but finally ended up developing their own for lack of players. The companies making them have a niche market & they've gotten used to not having much competition. They've never cared much about sleekness or stability, just so long as it's secure that's about all they care about. Why go to the effort to develop for a new platform if you feel the current one does all you need it to do.

People are jumping at the Apple iPod solution because they realize how much the clunkiness of the WinMobile devices effect the way the customer feels about the quality of their overall shopping experience. Every time I go into a store still running the old monochrome IBM registers I cringe!
post #26 of 58
Originally Posted by bspears
I have purchased several items from the Apple store in Los Gatos CA that uses this system and have never been asked to sign the iPod.

Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

So did you not sing anything at all (do you ever sign with that card) or did you sign a paper print out?

Did you punch in a 4 digit PIN?
post #27 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by masternav View Post

Gotta tell you, the new POS's are very nice from a customer standpoint. They seem to be much quicker than the old Symbols they had previously. When I use my debit card they take the last four digits of the card, and when I charge on a credit card it asked for the signature.

The stylus is that Pogo stylus that mimics the conductivity of skin - it has a kind of spongy tip to it. A little weird to write with a first as it drags more than a regular stylus or pen and is correspondingly bigger as well. The Apple employees I've talked to while ringing out seemed VERY happy with the devices.

Also they seem to have more functions on it - like printing out gift receipts and other activity.

I got one of the antiglare films for my iPhone & it makes the friction much less, wonder if that would help with the stylus. Protecting to screen would be an added plus.
post #28 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by masstrkiller View Post

Yes I am also. But this is certainly good news. Why Apple didn't think of this sooner is also a question. But it looks like they may have turned that around.

Where are the real companies making real life applications with 3rd party attachments? We, or at least I thought with the 3.0 software demo, seeing the iphone have the ability test and record blood levels, that this would be huge.

I certainly hope Apple gets this together, so when I walk into BestBuy next year I can buy something while the employee whips out a Touch to take my order. I bet Apple could make lots of money with this kind of service.

I just realized something, if there was a category on Apple Store that was only Apps that attach to a device I would be browsing that thing like crazy. As it is I don't even know what is available because you can't distinguish them from any other app.

I believe there has actually been several developed for medical, but they likely don't care much about being visible on the app store since they have reps that actually go & visit the doctors.
post #29 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwilli View Post

My worry was that the current POS systems are quite hard to come by, I can see people making/buying fake enclosures and the software to boot walking into large stores (other than apple) posing as staff and cloning people's cards and walking out. If you live in London you'll know what I mean. Unfortunately most people aren't as vigilante a we'd hope.

Sorry but the store has a responsibility to keep an eye out for such things & have a plan in place for how the customer can know you are a legit employee. I wouldn't shop at any store that hasn't thought these things through as it would be telling of how secure all their systems are.

Legit employees steal customer card numbers & stuff too, if you're not willing to be diligent & aware of who you are entrusting your money with then you're asking to get burned.
post #30 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by monstrosity View Post

Looks like someone's been nibbling on that pen.

Looks like a foam "eraser" to me.
post #31 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by fizzmaster View Post

Looks like a foam "eraser" to me.

Uh no, It looks like someones been "nibbling" on the end. Where do you see any point for an eraser on a stylus?
post #32 of 58
I emailed Gary last night as a matter of fact about if it is available to the public (in commendable fashion he got back to me quickly). I've looked high an low for barcode scanner hardware for the ipod touch to no avail. I'm organizing a photo festival (www.telluridephotofestival.com), and it would be really handy to have something like this to tied to an app to where people weren't tethered to a computer at a table to check people in. I'm going to stop in an Apple store that has business specialists and get on the list.

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post #33 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

PS: The craziest thing ive heard about are russians installing fake ATM consoles over real ones so they can snag your card and PIN.

Yes... this happens daily here in Germany, as well as Albanian and Romanian installed pen-cam's etc.

A bit off topic... but does anyone else think that the whole CC and Debit/Bank card industry is like 10 or 15 years behind in developing something a bit more secure? Something on the order of cards with the actual picture of the holder, as well as real "digital" signatures.. like with the first digit of your right hand. As for online purchases, why not password i.e. PIN number authorization?

I'm constantly amazed at the lack of security measures whenever I go shopping... and in actuality, German banks have recently updated their TOS to make people more responsible for negligent safety of their CC's and other cards. Considering that the thieves tend to be tech advanced and always a step ahead in the game, you would think that it would be the bank's part of the job to make it harder... rather than pointing to the customer as the weakest link.

Just IMHO.
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post #34 of 58
… .. ...
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post #35 of 58
Am I the only one who reads POS as a swear word every single time it is mentioned ?
post #36 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

PS: The craziest thing ive heard about are russians installing fake ATM consoles over real ones so they can snag your card and PIN.

This has been happening in the UK for some time, and occurs regularly in my area; usually at busy stores where the ATM is a little out of the way so they are less likely to be seen. I usually take a look at the card slot before using an ATM to spot signs of tampering, but it's very easy to forget.
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post #37 of 58
It's a shame the external hardware doesn't support chip and pin. It rather limits its use in Europe.
post #38 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThePixelDoc View Post

A bit off topic... but does anyone else think that the whole CC and Debit/Bank card industry is like 10 or 15 years behind in developing something a bit more secure? Something on the order of cards with the actual picture of the holder, as well as real "digital" signatures.. like with the first digit of your right hand. As for online purchases, why not password i.e. PIN number authorization?

I have seen a bank which does print a photo of the card holder on it for extra security. I think it was a friend with a student HSBC account in the UK, but I can't remember exactly.

The problem with this is that more and more transactions are done without anyone actually seeing the card. With chip and pin, I keep hold of my card as much as possible. There's also more transactions online. This makes it a bit pointless having such a system.
post #39 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by t_k View Post

Am I the only one who reads POS as a swear word every single time it is mentioned ?

Not for anyone who has worked retail.
post #40 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by hdasmith View Post

I have seen a bank which does print a photo of the card holder on it for extra security. I think it was a friend with a student HSBC account in the UK, but I can't remember exactly.

The problem with this is that more and more transactions are done without anyone actually seeing the card. With chip and pin, I keep hold of my card as much as possible. There's also more transactions online. This makes it a bit pointless having such a system.

We have had photos printed on our credit cards in NZ for many a year, with entering a pin no one bothers looking at them anymore.
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