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iPhone 3G sales hampered by Windows Mobile - Page 2

post #41 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

You are joking aren't you? AS if buying an 3G iPhone is an easy thing to begin with?
Who else is complaining about the devices? I've checked out of Apple for 2 years plus on these with my purchases and have never had a problem. These device are made for quick , easy check outs. The real problem is that Apple has a f*#ked up buying procedure for the iPhone- plain and simple.
And where was the thread that should have been posted here for over two years plus on the irony that Windows devices are used in the first place in Apple stores? Only now when there is a problem with iPhone check outs???

Who's complaining? THE CLERKS THAT ACTUALLY USE THE DEVICES. They state the devices have never been ideal, but thanks to the iPhone launch craziness, the devices can't keep up and their quirks are amplified by the high demand. Of course there's almost no question Apple's likely developing a solution that would leverage their own iPhone/iPod touch mobile WiFi platform and SDK, but that doesn't excuse the poor quality of these portable point-of-service devices. These EasyPay handhelds are used by more than just Apple, yet the company that makes the hardware and/or software obviously doesn't care about ease of use or performance (especially under pressure).
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post #42 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Idle View Post

Have you ever checked this out for yourself? I can't say whether Windows is being used, but it's true that the main servers are not OS X-based.

Apple's use of WinMobile-based POS devices is an exception because there are very few devices like them and Apple has not yet developed their own portable alternative; they already have custom Mac software for stationary checkouts using their own MacBook Pros and iMacs.

With servers, on the other hand, if Apple isn't using their own - I don't exactly understand what "main" servers you're talking about - they're likely using Linux/Unix based servers because there are many options in the server area, with good alternatives to Microsoft's servers and software.
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post #43 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by sapporobaby View Post

But is this really news?

No. It's whipping up a story for a slow news day. They have to keep up those advertiser-supported click-throughs!

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #44 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post

And I haven't even mentioned this carrier-locking nonsense.

The world has just gotten used to buying mobile phones on credit since the credit rates are conveniently hidden inside the monthly fees.
post #45 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by wobegon View Post

I don't exactly understand what "main" servers you're talking about - they're likely using Linux/Unix based servers because there are many options in the server area, with good alternatives to Microsoft's servers and software.

"Main" servers as in the servers in each store that handle the heavy operations. As opposed to, say, file servers.
post #46 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Idle View Post

"Main" servers as in the servers in each store that handle the heavy operations. As opposed to, say, file servers.

Ah, thanks.
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post #47 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by columbus View Post

I'm sure Apple will eventually replace them, but right now with so much work to do on iPhone that will benefit so many customers, I guess writing a custom bit of software for the retail stores isn't high on the list of priorities.

it is better for the M$ handhelds to look bad rather than the iPhone with the current app running on the Macs. So you're right. Get the iPhone done and done, then port the app over.
post #48 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sevenfeet View Post

This is a classic example of a large customer like Apple needing a sophisticated POS system but having limited choices, all of them lousy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Walter Slocombe View Post

But, Don't we always hear how Apple IS/SHOULD or NEEDS to be moving into the business sector.

Agreed. I don't have extensive experience working in business-related information systems software and hardware (AKA "ERP", "MIS", "EIS", ) but the little bit I've been exposed to has certainly been frightening. It doesn't matter if you are talking about POS systems, Inventory control/Stock management, Supply-chain management, Resource management, Procurement, Order fulfillment, Distribution, Transport/shipping, etc. The plethora of software solutions and plaforms all have significant problems and inefficiencies. They are not the only one to blame, as they just control the OS platform, but Microsoft has indeed had a significant hand in creating this mess.

Although Apple is certainly struggling to keep up with all their activity, the opportunity that lies before them if they can catch up is almost unfathomable. I understand that there are immense challenges inherit in expanding a company like Apple, and the fact that adding more developers and engineers to their existing treams and creating new ones is not a straightforward process or an easy solution, But they have got to hire more people with the mountains of cash they are sitting on. If Steve and co. can keep the ship held together, they could readily expand into other areas that drastically need the type of integrated and easy-to-use software platform that Apple is known for.

Besides just Apple's "enterprise team" boosting OSX and OSX server usage in business and enterprise markets, just think of the awesome platform that their mobile OSX could make for embedded applications where Windows CE/XP embedded is being used now. They already have the kernel and lower-level system running well and optimized for low-memory/low power environments using the ubiquitous ARM architecture. The mature system libraries pulled from desktop OSX would make it relatively easy to extend for adding barcode readers, magnetic strip readers, imaging systems, etc or connecting control systems.

Potential applications would be pretty much anywhere Windows CE, Windows XP embedded, and various Linux distributions and proprietary embedded operating systems are used. I'm not sure if deterministic/real-time systems would be included or not, although I believe certain versions of Windows CE are real-time. POS, ATMs, automated purchasing kiosks, advertising displays, billboards, consumer electronics devices, television set-top boxes, video game consoles, dvd players, printers, microwaves, washing machines, dishwashers, HVAC, home automation, scientific systems, data acquisition, avionics, automobile systems, medical equipment, remote sensing, etc etc etc.


Quote:
Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post

What if Apple's "4th Leg" becomes them being some sort of network provider? Not DSL, Not WiFi, but say 3.5G or 4G or 5G? With an MVNO the global rollout will be difficult initially but it might very well guarantee a much smoother Apple Mobile Products launches.

Not sure about the MVNO route. Is has been a terrible failure in America, and mostly relegated to low-end, pre-paid accounts for teenagers, people with bad credit, drug dealers LOL, etc. Perhaps the environment is different overseas.
post #49 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

No. It's whipping up a story for a slow news day. They have to keep up those advertiser-supported click-throughs!

But it did have the word: "iPhone" in it so that must be news.
post #50 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Yes because it has the word "iPhone" in it.
This article is a joke- blame the Windows device and not yourself on your own incompetent retail check out procedure?

Could not have said it better myself.
post #51 of 74
My experience in Apple stores has been poor frankly. Getting my iPhone setup was ok...in and out in under 15 minutes. The other times I go there it's usually a mad house of people shopping around waiting for their appointments or classes or whatever. There's little to no organization. The first time I went there I stood there wondering where the hell I had to pay for the merchandise I just picked up. Finally after getting one of the employees attention I found out about the corner of the genius bar that serves as the cash register.

Also, at one point I had to return an item and got a hold of one of the employees with the EasyPay devices who said she could return the item for me. After 10 minutes of messing with the damn thing I was told the only way I could get my money back was by putting it on an Apple gift card. After insisting I would not accept the Gift Card solution she went to the regular check out counter and promptly finished the return...easily done and got the money credited to my debit card with no problems.

Honestly it surprises me they haven't figured out a way to get the same functionality out of the iPhone that the EasyPay system has.

Not that it would fix the lame unorganized fashion of the typical Apple store at primetime hours...but whatever...
post #52 of 74
apple's waiting til its new 5" touchpad is released.
post #53 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Sources within Apple's retail stores report that sales of the iPhone 3G are being slowed down by handhelds running Microsoft Windows Mobile/WinCE. That's because the stores have been selling new iPhones to customers using the old EasyPay, a problematic Pocket PC handheld computer that's causing employees lots of grief....


Interestingly, I went by the Apple store in Baton Rouge to upgrade my wife's phone to an iPhone. The kid that was helping me was obviously having "issues" with the setup because I have 3 phones on the master account. It took about 30 minutes with him running over to his supervisor asking questions, and then telling me I was not upgrade eligible, then that there was something past due, etc. Finally, after about six trips into the back of the store for something, we went over to the genius bar to connect to a laptop to actually activate the phone. As he unplugged the phone, it rang and he handed it to me. Thinking it was someone calling my wife, I answered and discovered one of my clients who obviously would not have my wife's phone number. Hmmm... seems the salesman put my number into my wife's phone and killed mine, which I quickly advised him of.

He had a confused look on his face then went into the back of the store for about the 8th time for whatever. After about 5 minutes he came back and asked me if I was in a hurry ! (no.. I am an attorney, it is the middle of the day, why would I possibly be in a hurry )

Several more "consults" took place and then he proceeded to remove the SIM tool from the box and tell me that we could simply put my SIM in the new phone, put a new SIM in my phone and then when I get home call AT&T and they could fix the problem. (yes, this really happened!)

At this point I asked him if he realized that my contacts etc were in the old phone and whether he knew that the SIM is matched to the ESN of a cellphone. He had a blank look and I asked him if he had any idea what I just asked him. Another blank look. At this point I told him to stop doing anything to the phones, put my SIM back in my phone and put the new phone back in its box.

I left the Apple store and went to the AT&T store where it took about 5 minutes and two new SIM cards to fix the whole mess.

Considering I am an Apple user since the days of the first Macintosh (complete with a 5MB Bernoulli box!!) this was a major FUBAR. If I had been a first time user of Apple products, this would have terminated any possibility of ever dealing with Apple again.

If anyone from Apple watches this, go find my survey that I was emailed and read the comments.... those handheld terminals are absolutely the dumbest thing to use for setting up a telephone account I have ever seen. Considering the AT&T stores all use normal computer screens and keyboards, it would seem that since Apple stores are flush with computers that a simple web-based application would solve a lot of grief for the customers.

Doug


P.S. Generally, I am pretty laid back about dress codes since I hate wearing ties and suits, but the employees in the Baton Rouge store pretty much looked sloppy and unprofessional when I went in. iPhone T-shirts either in or out of the pants, sometimes a little of both, odd combinations of jeans, dress pants, tennis shoes etc. If you want staff preceived as professional, you need to tighten up a little bit over here.
post #54 of 74
This may be the most ignorant AppleInsider article to date. These Symbol devices are in use for point of sale applications everywhere. Windows CE is used for embedded and other applications like this everywhere. If there's something wrong with this EasyPay software, find out who makes that and write an article on that (wasn't it Apple themselves who was hyping EasyPay?). As to the Symbol PPT8800 being "ugly", wake me when Apple produces a ruggedized, mobile point of sale device ... and I'll buy one. Between now and then, I'd suggest a journalism class for this article's author.

Oh, and AppleInsider lost my first attempt to post this, by making me log in multiple times. For your next article, I'd suggest "Posting hampered by AppleInsider Forums".
post #55 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmjoe View Post

This may be the most ignorant AppleInsider article to date. These Symbol devices are in use for point of sale applications everywhere. Windows CE is used for embedded and other applications like this everywhere. If there's something wrong with this EasyPay software, find out who makes that and write an article on that (wasn't it Apple themselves who was hyping EasyPay?). As to the Symbol PPT8800 being "ugly", wake me when Apple produces a ruggedized, mobile point of sale device ... and I'll buy one. Between now and then, I'd suggest a journalism class for this article's author.

The fact that these point of service devices are used broadly isn't a counterpoint, it only helps make this story more relevant. The iPhone 3G's launch was anything but smooth with Apple's activation servers failing on one end and these WinMobile-based devices, with their low performance, quirks, and EasyPay's finicky software unable to keep up with high demand on the other. These devices don't care what company's using them, so Apple employees are not alone in experiencing their shortcomings. Furthermore, this isn't Jobs or his colleagues complaining, just the retail employees.

As for Apple producing their own solution, obviously they're not going to waste time and money developing a wholly new POS device when they have a far more useable alternative: the iPhone and/or iPod touch. While they use Symbol's systems for some purchasing, MacBook Pros around the store are also used, which feature custom Apple checkout software that was noted in the article as working much better and faster. The iPhone's camera is likely capable of serving as a barcode scanner, so a credit card swipe-reader is all they really need. Once they have one that uses the iPhone's dock connector, the desktop checkout software can be ported using the iPhone SDK and presto, a far more useable POS device. They don't have to then waste time and money trying to compete in the POS market; this will be a custom system only available in Apple retail stores, at least in the short-term.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pmjoe View Post

Oh, and AppleInsider lost my first attempt to post this, by making me log in multiple times. For your next article, I'd suggest "Posting hampered by AppleInsider Forums".

Let's see, would that be newsworthy?
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post #56 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by wobegon View Post

The fact that these point of service devices are used broadly isn't a counterpoint, it only helps make this story more relevant. The iPhone 3G's launch was anything but smooth with Apple's activation servers failing on one end and these WinMobile-based devices, with their low performance, quirks, and EasyPay's finicky software unable to keep up with high demand on the other. These devices don't care what company's using them, so Apple employees are not alone in experiencing their shortcomings. Furthermore, this isn't Jobs or his colleagues complaining, just the retail employees.

Windows CE worked perfectly fine the last time I was at the gas station. These Symbol devices worked fine the last time I was going into a stadium/arena for a game (tens of thousands of people in a very short time) and at the DMV. Search for EasyPay on Google and you'll find dozens of articles where Apple is touting how EasyPay is the next great thing in sales. Sounds like Apple's problem to me, not some "ugly" device or Windows Mobile as this article implies.
Quote:
As for Apple producing their own solution, obviously they're not going to waste time and money developing a wholly new POS device when they have a far more useable alternative: the iPhone and/or iPod touch. [...] The iPhone's camera is likely capable of serving as a barcode scanner, so a credit card swipe-reader is all they really need. Once they have one that uses the iPhone's dock connector, the desktop checkout software can be ported using the iPhone SDK and presto, a far more useable POS device.

???? First you say they aren't going to do it, then you imply they will?!?! Like I said, wake me when they do. Probably far more likely that they'll drop the mobile sale thing entirely.
post #57 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmjoe View Post

Windows CE worked perfectly fine the last time I was at the gas station. These Symbol devices worked fine the last time I was going into a stadium/arena for a game (tens of thousands of people in a very short time) and at the DMV. Search for EasyPay on Google and you'll find dozens of articles where Apple is touting how EasyPay is the next great thing in sales. Sounds like Apple's problem to me, not some "ugly" device or Windows Mobile as this article implies.

I guess I should have bolded this:

Quote:
Furthermore, this isn't Jobs or his colleagues complaining, just the retail employees.

I never suggested that the powers that be at Apple were badmouthing these devices, and neither is the article. They're obviously better than nothing and functional enough that their use is fairly widespread. That doesn't excuse their problems, which were detailed in the article, quoted from Apple retail employees that use them on a daily basis. Slow start-up time, with dialogs that, if missed, cause the device to boot into WinMobile, at which point the process has to be entirely restarted. The EasyPay software is slow and can time-out, turning a five minute sale into a 15 minute ordeal. Other companies using these things have no real room to criticize them as most businesses don't have the resources to develop a near complete alternative, like Apple with its iPhone and SDK.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pmjoe View Post

???? First you say they aren't going to do it, then you imply they will?!?! Like I said, wake me when they do. Probably far more likely that they'll drop the mobile sale thing entirely.

No, I said they would not create a "wholly new POS device," as you were suggesting, but instead leverage their own more than capable iPhone/iPod touch mobile WiFi platform and SDK, with the only new hardware being a card reader that connects via the docking interface. Standalone, portable card swipers may already exist, so even that might not be an issue.
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post #58 of 74
You know, I always thought it would be much cooler and appropriate for apple to write software for the iphone to handle sales, maybe have a barcode scanner attachment? not probable, but i would be impressed to see apple store employees using their iphones instead of those big ugly pocketPC things.
post #59 of 74
Wow... I guess if we can't blame the Republicans we need to blame Microsoft. This was a clever if not ambitious stretch. Has anyone contacted George Lucas? Spielberg? Can't wait for the movie.

Ps... I wonder why Apple didn't just use the almighty iPhone as its mobile POS platform? Maybe by version 2.99.99 of the firmware.
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post #60 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by blogorant View Post

Ps... I wonder why Apple didn't just use the almighty iPhone as its mobile POS platform? Maybe by version 2.99.99 of the firmware.

1) If they did, they would use the iPod Touch as there is no need for a cellphone on a PoS system.

2) There is no PoS software for the mobile OS X right now. Apple could have thrown something together by now, but #3 would still be an issue.

3) There is no magnetic strip reader for the iPod right now. There are USB CC readers out there but a 3rd-party would need to adopt one to fit the Touch's design. I think Apple will adopt something eventually, but they will want to by someone's iPod Touch CC reader for the job.
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post #61 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

1) If they did, they would use the iPod Touch as there is no need for a cellphone on a PoS system.

2) There is no PoS software for the mobile OS X right now. Apple could have thrown something together by now, but #3 would still be an issue.

3) There is no magnetic strip reader for the iPod right now. There are USB CC readers out there but a 3rd-party would need to adopt one to fit the Touch's design. I think Apple will adopt something eventually, but they will want to by someone's iPod Touch CC reader for the job.

While I agree with most of what you said, you're leaving out part of the PoS equation: barcode scanner. The iPhone has has one: a 2.0MP camera. At the same time, while iPhones are sold for $200 to $300, we both know that's due to cellular contract subsidizing.

So Apple has a few options. They could 1) use the iPhone 3G (at a high cost) and develop or use a third party USB-to-dock-connector credit card reader, 2) use the more affordable iPod touch while developing or using a third party credit card reader and barcode scanner, or 3) put the same 2.0MP camera used by the iPhone into the next iPod touch (as part of the September iPod refresh) and then simply develop or use a third party credit card reader.

I'm thinking (and hoping) that Apple will go with option #3. I mean, why not throw in a camera? It won't be better than the iPhone's because at the end of the day, Apple wants to sell more iPhones than anything else, but the 2.0MP camera is no doubt cheap and useable. It'd also set the touch even further apart from touch screen competitors in the portable media player market while at the same time giving Apple a near feature-complete, cost effective, and far more useable PoS device.

They'd just need to port their existing custom desktop software using the iPhone/iPod touch SDK and connect a CC reader via a wire or maybe one that clips right onto the bottom of the iPod touch.

Ha, thinking over it again, Apple could develop their own CC reader, and while it would still be attachable and detachable from the standard iPod touch, they could sell the two together as a package to other retail stores, jumping into yet another enterprise with a good likelihood of high demand.
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post #62 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by wobegon View Post

While I agree with most of what you said, you're leaving out part of the PoS equation: barcode scanner.

Thanks. I had meant to comment on that. At the very least, if a magnetic strip reader was made for the Touch there is no reason why a barcode reader couldn't be part of that design.

Quote:
3) put the same 2.0MP camera used by the iPhone into the next iPod touch (as part of the September iPod refresh) and then simply develop or use a third party credit card reader.

I'm thinking (and hoping) that Apple will go with option #3. I mean, why not throw in a camera? It won't be better than the iPhone's because at the end of the day, Apple wants to sell more iPhones than anything else, but the 2.0MP camera is no doubt cheap and useable. It'd also set the touch even further apart from touch screen competitors in the portable media player market while at the same time giving Apple a near feature-complete, cost effective, and far more useable PoS device.

A camera does make sense on some levels. Like you say, it is cheap and Apple no longer has the profit sharing model going which eliminates some desire for pushing people towards the iPhone. But I don't think it will and have doubts that it could happen. The iPhone is 12.3mm while the iPod Touch is only 8mm. I don't think most people would mind a decent camera extending out from the case, like on several Nokia phones, but I think Apple would have a problem with it.

Quote:
Ha, thinking over it again, Apple could develop their own CC reader, while it would still be attachable and detachable from the standard iPod touch, they could sell the two together to other retail stores, jumping into yet another enterprise.

I hope they don't go this route. I want them to concentrate on what they have got going on. Apple is exceptional at focusing on specific items—even Bates admitted this much in an email—but they have recently shown that they are not so good at having too many things going at once or perhaps they are just spreading themselves too thin. Either way, I want them to get their consumer products up to par before considering this route.

However, there are more benefits than a handheld PoS device. A barcode scanner for the Touch would also be instrumental with inventory needs. There might even be some way of taking a barcode scan (or picture) of an item in a large lot and have a GPS unit grab the location. Is Apple holding back on allowing for 3rd-party hardware for the iPhone and Touch? I ask because I'm surprised by how few accessories there are when the HW power and App Store allow for so much potential.

edit: I forgot something else: The virtual keyboard is also be a hindrance for many non-consumer applications. While it's great for its versatility, if you need a PoS or inventory handheld appliance that requires you to do extension typing then a virtual keyboard may be more of a hassle than using Symbol's devices. Since any HW accessory would also be plugged into the 30-pin connector at the bottom edge of the unit, I see no reason why a hinged physical keyboard could not be used. They could even get creative and have the underside of the keyboard be useful when its flipped out like a Star Trek communicator (I can't believe I just made a Star Trek reference); like a pad for some sort of simple drawing application or more buttons for specific functions.
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post #63 of 74
Well I finally got my iPhone today. It's funny...the guy doing the sale complained about the PocketPC system he was running. And truly...it was pretty bad. He needed to re-enter several things a few times, and the system was about as clunky as could be. Overall, the experience was pretty quick though.
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post #64 of 74
For da luv of gawd already! Come out with your uber tablet device would yas Apple!! Your retail problems will be solved then!
post #65 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

A camera does make sense on some levels. Like you say, it is cheap and Apple no longer has the profit sharing model going which eliminates some desire for pushing people towards the iPhone. But I don't think it will and have doubts that it could happen. The iPhone is 12.3mm while the iPod Touch is only 8mm. I don't think most people would mind a decent camera extending out from the case, like on several Nokia phones, but I think Apple would have a problem with it.

Ok, I agree, with the iPod touch in its current state, if the camera could fit, but would protrude, Apple certainly wouldn't go through with that.

That's assuming the touch will remain physically the same in the upcoming refresh. I question that. As we've seen in the last few product revisions and new product introductions, Jonathan Ive has discovered a design trick: tapered edges. I know, sounds simple. The aluminum iMac last year did away with the rounded square back in favor of a more curved back. The MacBook Air debuted in January with tapered edges, unlike the rounded rectangle MacBook and MacBook Pro (the latter of which has been pictured in spy shots that show a similar tapered redesign). The new iPhone went from rounded rectangle to tapered edges and rounded, making it feel better in the and and feel thinner than the original. I see the same thing happening to the iPhone's cousin, the iPod touch. Tapered edges with a more rounded back (still metal of course). That could open up some space for a camera.

Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I hope they don't go this route. I want them to concentrate on what they have got going on. Apple is exceptional at focusing on specific items—even Bates admitted this much in an email—but they have recently shown that they are not so good at having too many things going at once or perhaps they are just spreading themselves too thin. Either way, I want them to get their consumer products up to par before considering this route.

I wasn't trying to suggest Apple design and manufacture a credit card reader and then sell it bundled with a camera-sporting iPod touch in the midst of polishing up MobileMe, coding a crucial iPhone 2.1 update, and launching the iPhone 3G in over 70 countries by the end of this year, possibly including Russia. That would be crazy.

But when they have the time, I don't doubt they'll come up with a PoS that leverages what they already have in the iPod touch and what they can easily slap together: a simple card reader that clips onto the bottom of the iPod touch, interfacing with the dock connector, and a mobile version of their custom desktop checkout software. For a time, it would be an Apple Store exclusive device, of course, but once it's proven its worth, why not offer it to other retail stores dealing with the less than ideal WinMobile/Symbol PoS handhelds? It would help Apple in another enterprise, increase sales, put mobile OS X's interface in front of hundreds of retail employees and customers might even notice the  symbol on the back and the fact that Apple's iPod touches are being used in a serious business setting. Retail would be just the beginning. Restaurants could use them as well.

Didn't you read THIS recent article on how Apple is already doing well in the hotel and cruise ship enterprise? Presenting the iPod touch as a WiFi-enabled PoS to the business sector, with its easy to use and program applications that can be distributed using the iPhone Enterprise Developer Program and easily controlled and updated through iTunes would be in keeping with these kind of expansions into new markets.

Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

However, there are more benefits than a handheld PoS device. A barcode scanner for the Touch would also be instrumental with inventory needs. There might even be some way of taking a barcode scan (or picture) of an item in a large lot and have a GPS unit grab the location. Is Apple holding back on allowing for 3rd-party hardware for the iPhone and Touch? I ask because I'm surprised by how few accessories there are when the HW power and App Store allow for so much potential.

edit: I forgot something else: The virtual keyboard is also be a hindrance for many non-consumer applications. While it's great for its versatility, if you need a PoS or inventory handheld appliance that requires you to do extension typing then a virtual keyboard may be more of a hassle than using Symbol's devices. Since any HW accessory would also be plugged into the 30-pin connector at the bottom edge of the unit, I see no reason why a hinged physical keyboard could not be used. They could even get creative and have the underside of the keyboard be useful when its flipped out like a Star Trek communicator (I can't believe I just made a Star Trek reference); like a pad for some sort of simple drawing application or more buttons for specific functions.

Ha, interesting thoughts, but do Symbol's PoS handhelds even offer tethering to a standard keyboard? From the pictures, they only appear to have a small number pad, which could be duplicated on a virtual keyboard, so that's not an issue. If keyboard tethering is a big necessary feature, Apple could pretty easily offer their own keyboards with a dock connector at the end instead of USB, or perhaps a USB-to-dock adapter so any keyboard could be used. If Apple put Bluetooth into the iPod touch too, they could use that for wireless keyboard pairing, both for business and consumers who have something lengthy to type.
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post #66 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

However, there are more benefits than a handheld PoS device. A barcode scanner for the Touch would also be instrumental with inventory needs. There might even be some way of taking a barcode scan (or picture) of an item in a large lot and have a GPS unit grab the location. Is Apple holding back on allowing for 3rd-party hardware for the iPhone and Touch? I ask because I'm surprised by how few accessories there are when the HW power and App Store allow for so much potential.

Symbol hold a lot of the patents for barcode reading, so to develop a dedicated barcode reader can be very expensive

Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

edit: I forgot something else: The virtual keyboard is also be a hindrance for many non-consumer applications. While it's great for its versatility, if you need a PoS or inventory handheld appliance that requires you to do extension typing then a virtual keyboard may be more of a hassle than using Symbol's devices.

Yes (and I don't like saying this) I agree, you either have to reduce the amount of typing performed, or introduce a physical keyboard. I have used POS systems in the past on Symbols with only a virtual keypad and you lose too much of the screen real estate
post #67 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by wobegon View Post

Ha, interesting thoughts, but do Symbol's PoS handhelds even offer tethering to a standard keyboard? From the pictures, they only appear to have a small number pad, which could be duplicated on a virtual keyboard, so that's not an issue. If keyboard tethering is a big necessary feature, Apple could pretty easily offer their own keyboards with a dock connector at the end instead of USB, or perhaps a USB-to-dock adapter so any keyboard could be used. If Apple put Bluetooth into the iPod touch too, they could use that for wireless keyboard pairing, both for business and consumers who have something lengthy to type.

Yes they do, the models that have BT support can connect to a BT keyboard.

If you are performing a lot of data entry on these things, a physical keyboard is a very handy thing to have (even numeric)
post #68 of 74
It is truly embarrassing to walk into an Apple Store and see them using these Windows Mobile handhelds.
post #69 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by scotty321 View Post

It is truly embarrassing to walk into an Apple Store and see them using these Windows Mobile handhelds.

Embarrassing to whom? I don't go to Apple shops to look at their POS systems. I go to purchase things that I want or require. I couldn't care what system they use as long as I get what I want. What I find embarrassing is that a MS POS can evoke so much emotion over something that really does not matter.

P.S. Who cares?
post #70 of 74
Oops wrong thread...
post #71 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by jfanning View Post

Symbol hold a lot of the patents for barcode reading, so to develop a dedicated barcode reader can be very expensive



Yes (and I don't like saying this) I agree, you either have to reduce the amount of typing performed, or introduce a physical keyboard. I have used POS systems in the past on Symbols with only a virtual keypad and you lose too much of the screen real estate

Thought I would add a few notes having had experience of Retail POS in the UK, a lot of systems still run Win95, later ones NT4, still later Win2k. The applications are developed by specialist POS developers. POS systems ARE EXPENSIVE to buy at around $15-20000 each.
Apple's retail POS is based on old technology and Apple ARE doing something about it, but its a non trivial exercise.

I agree that it would be totally cool to have an app on an iPod touch with USB reader, just because its a proprietary connector (doing lots of different things) doesn't mean that you cannot plug a USB device into it.
post #72 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by cubefan View Post

Thought I would add a few notes having had experience of Retail POS in the UK, a lot of systems still run Win95, later ones NT4, still later Win2k. The applications are developed by specialist POS developers. POS systems ARE EXPENSIVE to buy at around $15-20000 each.
Apple's retail POS is based on old technology and Apple ARE doing something about it, but its a non trivial exercise.

I agree that it would be totally cool to have an app on an iPod touch with USB reader, just because its a proprietary connector (doing lots of different things) doesn't mean that you cannot plug a USB device into it.

I thought we were talking about the portable devices the sales people are using, not the fixed units at the counters? The portable ones (while they are expensive) are no where near $15k
post #73 of 74
While the technology discussed is interesting and I'm sure does have an effect on how fast Apple can process sales, there's another element that Apple seems to "not get".

Last month I was on vacation at the New Jersey shore. I had put off getting an iPhone until the apps came out. It was time to upgrade from my Treo. Checking availability of stores in the shore area that night I saw that the Atlantic City store was due to have a stock of iPhones the next morning.

The stars were aligned as the next morning it was raining at the shore so I suggested we take a ride up to the mall on the boardwalk in Atlantic City. Wife and 17 year old daughter were good with that.

We drive up, park, wait for the mall to open, stand in line at the Apple store. Stand in line at the Apple store for 2 hours. When I'm the next one scheduled to go into the store and be "annointed" an Apple employee starts working her way down the line.

She was making sure everyone was set with what they needed before they got into the store. Are you over 18 check, have a valid credit card check, have an existing A T & T account check, is this a personal or business plan a business plan I reply. Oh I'm sorry we can't help you. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.

Can I talk to the manager? Sure -- 15 minutes later I end up talking with her. Sure enough they are right, I am wrong. Later I saw that indeed Apple stores only do personal cell phone plans. Not that got back the half day lost on my vacation.

I then gave the Apple store manager this suggestion:

"Why don't you have someone sit down at one of the 30 or so Macs and type up the questions that you asked us all after we stood in line for 2 hours? Then have the newest person come out and pass them out to the people in line. I would have read that 2 hours ago, maybe have had a question but I'd be back at our rental house an hour and a half ago and wouldn't have wasted my whole morning."

BTW am I the only one that has noticed the following:

Most Apple store employees look like they're from a Gap commercial.
Most managers are women at Apple stores.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for advancing women that are qualified and younger college kids I realize do have a better grasp of technology as well as being willing to work for the wages that Apple pays.

I still wonder why; of all the Apple stores I've visited from New York to California I've seen absolutely no one that looks like me with my experience; an early 50's business person that cut their eye teeth in 1984 on Macs.

Why is that?

I think if Apple would staff their stores with some people with real business experience using Mac's with some basic common sense they would be able to avoid some of the problems they have.
post #74 of 74
IWhen the heck is Apple ever going to acknowledge and devote some engineering time to retail sales. They don't even have a home brewed solution at their own stores.

Right now were going through an accounting conversion to a Windows based system - and I'm the one that pushed for it. (And I'm a devout Apple user since 1984). This is an accounting program that is sold exclusively to music stores. Many of the stores sell Mac based music software and prefer Macs. The consultant that is helping us get up and running commented that many of the stores he works with have serious Mac users.

So why aren't they using a Mac solution? Because like the Apple stores using the Windows Mobile based hand helds there ain't one.

I should preface that by saying that there are some. They lack the depth of features of what music stores need - such as; serial number tracking, trade ins, rentals, depreciating rental units, etc.

We've had the MYOB rep. out to our MUG meetings several times. I even called him before we pulled the switch on the Windows based accounting program. As good as MYOB is he admitted that for industries like ours we have two choices; live with the limitations of a generic accounting program or use a Windows based vertical market accounting program.

We went with the latter unfortunately - but we have a business to run.

It pains me in that I know Apple could own the small retail market if they wanted to just devote a little bit of effort in engineering, understanding the market and encouraging developers to offer a Mac solution for retail much the way they have for developers for the iPhone apps.

Come on Apple, spend some time, money and a bit of marketing with the smaller nich accounting companies to come up with some solutions. You would own the market.
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