or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › General › General Discussion › Apple stores to ditch Windows EasyPay systems for iPhone tech
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Apple stores to ditch Windows EasyPay systems for iPhone tech

post #1 of 72
Thread Starter 
Apple retail stores are looking to move away from Windows Mobile-based handheld checkout devices in favor of iPod touches with custom accessory add-ons, with a transition expected to follow the release of iPhone 3.0 later this year.

Apple's EasyPay terminals

Starting back in 2005, the company's retail outlets began using EasyPay, a specialized PDA device built by Symbol and running Windows Mobile, after a pilot program validated the practice of using employees with mobile devices to speed checkout lines. Apple has pushed to expand the program ever since.

The company has obvious interests in replacing the EasyPay devices with its own technology, however, both to improve reliability and efficiency, as well as to show off its own devices in action. Apple retail stores have already begin using iPod touch units running a Concierge app to triage visitors needing support and schedule appointments for them. Internally, store management also uses a Red Zone Report application to track store sales and performance.

However, Apple's initial positioning of its mobile technology as a smartphone has limited the company from using the iPhone to replace the more generic EasyPay devices outright. The main barrier has been a lack of support for peripheral devices in the iPhone hardware. EasyPay terminals need to plug into a credit card reader, something that hasn't been possible on the iPhone, but will become available with the move to the new iPhone 3.0 software.

Heal thyself

While Apple could build its own point of sale (POS) system from scratch based on the iPhone's technology, doing so would be an expensive undertaking just for the couple dozen devices needed by each of the 225 retail stores. It would also result in a completely proprietary system that the company probably couldn't successfully sell outside of a narrow niche of retail stores with similar needs. Devices like the EasyPay are open enough to allow for a wide variety of customization using Microsoft's Windows Mobile software, even if the tools and the underlying software aren't that reliable or desirable. That specialized market isn't enormous, so it would be difficult for Apple to justify trying to compete with its own iPhone-based POS device.

Instead of introducing a dedicated POS sibling to the iPhone and iPod touch family, Apple instead worked to expand the iPhone platform to suit the needs of developers. With iPhone 3.0, that includes new support for working with peripheral devices over USB through the Dock Connector and wirelessly using Bluetooth.

Demand for participation in the accessory program from developers proposing new hardware devices has exploded, with insiders noting that Apple is overwhelmed with interest. Apple itself will benefit from those platform stretching efforts. At last year's release of the iPhone 3G, various problems with the EasyPay Pocket PC devices ranging from unreliable hardware to buggy software resulted in frustrating delays that created long lines for buyers, particularly people trying to get the new iPhone 3G.

There's an app for that

This year, a software app is expected to help iPhone 3.0 devices sell themselves, quite literally. There's already POS titles available in the App Store, including CCTerminal, which costs $50 and enables users to ring up purchases using a credit card merchant account. Apple began promoting the new app in one of its latest ads showing how small businesses can ring up sales, print shipping labels, and track shipments using various iPhone apps.



Inner Fence's CCTerminal app is an example of one of the more prominent mobile POS terminals on the App Store.

Sources familiar with Apple's plans say that the company's retail stores plan to begin rolling out iPhone units running customized POS software with support for an external credit card reader unit as early as July, with expectations of completing the rollout by September. The new iPhone 3.0 devices will pack concierge, ordering, and store management features into a single device, allowing Apple to dump its large inventory of problematic and clunky looking Pocket PC PDAs with sleek new iPhones that show off how relevant the company's mobile platform can be to businesses.
post #2 of 72
Cool deal. About time they ate their own lunch.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

Reply

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

Reply
post #3 of 72
File this one under 'duh, what took so long'
post #4 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

in favor of iPod touch

Which is it? The touch or the iPhone or both?
With the camera, the iPhone could be used as a UPC scanner but hte touch doe snot have one. Or is it something they are adding?
Or would a scanner be one of the add-ons? Perhaps both will be unveiled?
post #5 of 72
Now what am I going to joke with the Apple Store employees about????
post #6 of 72
The September time frame is what I had predicted. I think that Apple will also be getting them for free or at a very low price as they will surely be detailed and therefore getting great marketing for the 2000 or so that are used in Apple stores.

Will they just be CC readers, or will they have IR scanners, and/or an additional battery for longer duration, and/or other capabilities?
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
post #7 of 72
I do wonder how much data is actually on the device itself - or how well the remote wipe works - just thinking that should one of the devices go missing that is a potentially large security risk - unless it is tied to some back office app where all the data lives and it is just acting as a front end portal.
post #8 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by cameronj View Post

File this one under 'duh, what took so long'

I think the article clearly shows why it took so long. I wonder how long it will take for the market to be swarmed with new HW add-ons after iPhone oS 3.0 officially hits.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris_CA View Post

Which is it? The touch or the iPhone or both?
With the camera, the iPhone could be used as a UPC scanner but hte touch doe snot have one. Or is it something they are adding?
Or would a scanner be one of the add-ons? Perhaps both will be unveiled?

It makes me wonder if the iPod Touch will get a 3.2Mpx camera, which I here is what is needed for a decent barcode scanner.


Quote:
Originally Posted by nace33 View Post

Now what am I going to joke with the Apple Store employees about????

I never got this as ironic since Apple isn't in that business.
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
post #9 of 72
Several other posters in various other threads have made this point, but it's really starting to look like the really big news in the iPhone 3.0 OS isn't cut and paste or search or MMS, it's access to the dock connector.

An explosion of devices that use the iPhone/Touch as web-enabled intelligent controllers with a sophisticated touch UI and a well established SDK could drive a huge increase in sales and redefine the whole idea of an "ecosystem."

Imagine surround sound receivers with a dock connector that allows for, not just piping music through your system, but a much better programming/set-up UI than the typical few lines of cryptic LCD and a sea of tiny buttons. Leave volume control, station preset and input switching on the front panel for day to day use, put all the level setup, input assignment, surround mode, et al on the touch interface.

After all, lots of hard to figure out buttons and inflexible UIs with small displays was the problem the iPhone was designed to address, and it's a problem that remains endemic in the CE industry. I could see all kinds of devices with just a few large, basic controls built in, the rest "outsourced" to the iPhone/Touch platform.

Sure, it means an additional expense to get the functionality, but you can also deduct the price of UI/control hardware and software/WiFi/Bluetooth from the cost of the device. Plus, with a 30 million and growing installed user base, such devices could be marketed to people who already have an iPhone/Touch.
They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
Reply
They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
Reply
post #10 of 72
About time. The whole purpose would be to build a front-end iPhone app for the POS system they already use -- there would not need to be any local data storage. Of course, the wireless connection would need to encrpyted, but the phone already has remote wipe for people in enterprise environments.

The cam would be too problematic. I'm sure it will be an add-on device with a barcode scanner, card reader, and a mondo 5000 mAh battery or something crazy like that. A cool "gee-whiz" feature to show off the Bluetooth-Bonjour sharing would be to beam your receipt to you directly if you have an iPhone/Touch on you.
post #11 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by nace33 View Post

Now what am I going to joke with the Apple Store employees about????

The long lines? The kids trashing the iPods on display? The prices? I joke...

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

Reply

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

Reply
post #12 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by cuppingmaster View Post

About time. The whole purpose would be to build a front-end iPhone app for the POS system they already use -- there would not need to be any local data storage. Of course, the wireless connection would need to encrpyted, but the phone already has remote wipe for people in enterprise environments.

The cam would be too problematic. I'm sure it will be an add-on device with a barcode scanner, card reader, and a mondo 5000 mAh battery or something crazy like that. A cool "gee-whiz" feature to show off the Bluetooth-Bonjour sharing would be to beam your receipt to you directly if you have an iPhone/Touch on you.

I'm not sure I agree about the camera.

The current iPhone camera can read barcodes after a fashion and the iChat cams in the desktop computers are also 2MP and they work fine reading barcodes for Delicious Library and apps like that already. The new iPhone camera is supposed to be even better and it will be out in the same time frame.

I also already get my receipt emailed to me already, which appears on my iPhone usually before I have even left the store depending on how fast or slow I exit.

I think a simple app running on the soon to be released iPhone or iPod touch will already be capable of replacing the units they now use, the only question is will they take it further by having an add-on card reader or a specialised device like a tablet that they will then sell IMO.
In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
Reply
In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
Reply
post #13 of 72
Thank goodness. Those darn things crash just about every single time I'm in there buying something. And that's pretty often.
post #14 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by cameronj View Post

File this one under 'duh, what took so long'

I agree, this should have been done a while ago.

Quote:
Originally Posted by solipism

I never got this as ironic since Apple isn't in that business.

IMO, it doesn't look good when you are trying to sell iphones running your mobile OS but doing POS transactions on machines running your rival's mobile OS. I know it's not quite the same as the iphones aren't primarily POS devices but relying on your rival's products is never a good thing especially when it's such an important part of the business.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lilgto64

I do wonder how much data is actually on the device itself - or how well the remote wipe works - just thinking that should one of the devices go missing that is a potentially large security risk - unless it is tied to some back office app where all the data lives and it is just acting as a front end portal.

They will probably do the sale encrypted over wifi. They'd have to or the transaction wouldn't be recorded if the customer went to say the checkout for an exchange.
post #15 of 72
One time in my local Apple Store while purchasing something from a girl that looked like she was straight out of the Mickey Mouse Club, I said to her, "Running Windows Mobile on that?". I was just kidding, but she turned beet red, her lip started quivering, and I swear I thought she was going to cry.
2011 13" 2.3 MBP, 2006 15" 2.16 MBP, iPhone 4, iPod Shuffle, AEBS, AppleTV2 with XBMC.
Reply
2011 13" 2.3 MBP, 2006 15" 2.16 MBP, iPhone 4, iPod Shuffle, AEBS, AppleTV2 with XBMC.
Reply
post #16 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Cool deal. About time they ate their own lunch.

Much better, I hate the positively grotesque 'dog food' phrase.

On another note, I hope they think to use robust (industrial-type) iPhone cases for this.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
post #17 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by 8CoreWhore View Post

One time in my local Apple Store while purchasing something from a girl that looked like she was straight out of the Mickey Mouse Club, I said to her, "Running Windows Mobile on that?". I was just kidding, but she turned beet red, her lip started quivering, and I swear I thought she was going to cry.

Sounds like she might have had issues beyond what tech the Apple Store might be using. Just sayin'.
They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
Reply
They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
Reply
post #18 of 72
It appears that the CC number has to be keyed in manually. I hope that a true card swipe device is incorporated, not only to speed things up but also to minimize keystroke error. Some cards have so much distracting artwork on them it's tough to read the numbers on a good day, and let's not discount operator error as well.

But now that this is getting tested by Apple itself it's a safe bet that the entire package will find takers at other stores as well. Perhaps the tide will turn and the next Microsoft ad will find their precious $400 laptop getting rung up on an iPod Touch...
post #19 of 72
One advantage of the Windows Mobile devices in the Apple Store is that it gave Apple the opportunity to show that they weren't as afraid of Microsoft as Microsoft is of Apple. Very confident and professional! And by contrast and implication, it also made Microsoft look like the computer version of a used-car sales lot--an image Steve Ballmer strives for so effectively. When it didn't work, It worked out to a demonstration that the only Microsoft technology in the store didn't work. Every Windows Mobile PDA in an Apple Store was an ad for Apple!

Of course, Apple does things right, and that means things take time. Now it will be easier to check out, but I'll have less fun laughing at Microsoft with the store employee.
post #20 of 72
Finally. It's been embarrassing to be in an Apple story watching the poor geniuses use those clunky POS things with windoze running on them.
post #21 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by nace33 View Post

Now what am I going to joke with the Apple Store employees about????

The porn that the brats who visit load on to the demo units? At an Apple store, I heard a girl (8 or so?) ask her dad "Daddy, what's that man doing to that woman with no clothes on?" as she was holding an iPod touch.

Still, I find it ironic that they used Windows based devices. Glad they are going to their own products.
Go Linux, Choose a Flavor!
"I aim to misbehave"
Reply
Go Linux, Choose a Flavor!
"I aim to misbehave"
Reply
post #22 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by nace33 View Post

Now what am I going to joke with the Apple Store employees about????

Ask them if they've seen "Lauren" lately. I'm sure she'll be in to have her
laptop data transferred to a new MacBook, if she ever realizes how cool
she really is.
Journalism is publishing what someone doesn't want us to know; the rest is propaganda.
-Horacio Verbitsky (el perro), journalist (b. 1942)
Reply
Journalism is publishing what someone doesn't want us to know; the rest is propaganda.
-Horacio Verbitsky (el perro), journalist (b. 1942)
Reply
post #23 of 72
I really hope they manage to do it with minimal additional hardware. Likewise, I hope they end up selling their POS package. This arena is so clunky and proprietary now, a slightly more open and end-user modifiable system would be cool.
post #24 of 72
Slightly OT, but does the camera-in-the-Touch talk make anybody else think they are trying to shift revenue away from the subscription iPhone?
post #25 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Panu View Post

One advantage of the Windows Mobile devices in the Apple Store is that it gave Apple the opportunity to show that they weren't as afraid of Microsoft as Microsoft is of Apple. Very confident and professional! And by contrast and implication, it also made Microsoft look like the computer version of a used-car sales lot--an image Steve Ballmer strives for so effectively. When it didn't work, It worked out to a demonstration that the only Microsoft technology in the store didn't work. Every Windows Mobile PDA in an Apple Store was an ad for Apple!

Of course, Apple does things right, and that means things take time. Now it will be easier to check out, but I'll have less fun laughing at Microsoft with the store employee.

Apple makes software for Windows and MS makes software for OS X, so I don't' see that as a big deal.

I do like your idea about the Windows-based POS devices in Apple Stores as an ad, but I think MS should have done that. "Apple may sell fun toys, but when it comes to serious work they use Windows. Even their handheld point of sales devices are Windows based. Need we say more?" ...or something along those lines.
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
post #26 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by aaarrrgggh View Post

Slightly OT, but does the camera-in-the-Touch talk make anybody else think they are trying to shift revenue away from the subscription iPhone?

I think that the more features the Touch has, the more Apps Touchers can choose from.
2011 13" 2.3 MBP, 2006 15" 2.16 MBP, iPhone 4, iPod Shuffle, AEBS, AppleTV2 with XBMC.
Reply
2011 13" 2.3 MBP, 2006 15" 2.16 MBP, iPhone 4, iPod Shuffle, AEBS, AppleTV2 with XBMC.
Reply
post #27 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dlux View Post

It appears that the CC number has to be keyed in manually. I hope that a true card swipe device is incorporated, not only to speed things up but also to minimize keystroke error. Some cards have so much distracting artwork on them it's tough to read the numbers on a good day, and let's not discount operator error as well.

But now that this is getting tested by Apple itself it's a safe bet that the entire package will find takers at other stores as well. Perhaps the tide will turn and the next Microsoft ad will find their precious $400 laptop getting rung up on an iPod Touch...

A hand keyed card number is much more open to chargebacks. Swiping the card proves the physical presence of the card. I am certain they'll use a card reader, I can't imagine how their cc processor would allow all those hand keyed transactions.
post #28 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by aaarrrgggh View Post

Slightly OT, but does the camera-in-the-Touch talk make anybody else think they are trying to shift revenue away from the subscription iPhone?

Not at all, and with Touch sales, surpisingly to me, are significantly lower than iPhone sales I don't think there is any risk of Apple losing cusotmers at that point to the Touch.
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
post #29 of 72
When I bought my MBP a couple years ago, they used one of those "handheld devices." The guy stated that it froze up the first time he swiped, so he swiped again after rebooting it. The damn thing charged me twice, and I didn't know it until I got home. Called up Apple Support, they apologized, gave me an extra 10% off since it maxed out my credit card for a couple of hours.

So, in a way, I hope they keep the crappy devices, at least until my next big purchase.
post #30 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by nace33 View Post

Now what am I going to joke with the Apple Store employees about????

The GIANT Iphone display is actually running Windows.
post #31 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by xwiredtva View Post

The GIANT Iphone display is actually running Windows.

AT&T used a PC to drive their displays, at one point, presumably because their stores were already PC centric. The Apple Store never did.

Really, I mean, think about it: why would Apple need a PC to run an animation on an external display?
They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
Reply
They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
Reply
post #32 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by cuppingmaster View Post

The cam would be too problematic. I'm sure it will be an add-on device with a barcode scanner, card reader, and a mondo 5000 mAh battery or something crazy like that. A cool "gee-whiz" feature to show off the Bluetooth-Bonjour sharing would be to beam your receipt to you directly if you have an iPhone/Touch on you.

I've never dealt with an Apple employee that used a barcode.

When I hand what I'm buying to them, they've just entered the first couple digits of the product id and selected it.

If I'm just going in to buy something specific, I tell whoever welcomes me what I want, and they have it rung up and ready to swipe my card by the time we walk over to it.

That makes me wonder if they would even care about including a way to read barcodes.
post #33 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by 8CoreWhore View Post

One time in my local Apple Store while purchasing something from a girl that looked like she was straight out of the Mickey Mouse Club, I said to her, "Running Windows Mobile on that?". I was just kidding, but she turned beet red, her lip started quivering, and I swear I thought she was going to cry.

That's kinda mean dude. Granted, you were kidding, but she might have just mistaken you for someone more mean spirited (which I'm sure there are plenty). Still, she was just a kid doing a job.
post #34 of 72
It's about time that Apple does this. I would also suggest that the acronym should be change to PES. POS sounds to PC/Windows.
post #35 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

The September time frame is what I had predicted. I think that Apple will also be getting them for free or at a very low price as they will surely be detailed and therefore getting great marketing for the 2000 or so that are used in Apple stores.

Will they just be CC readers, or will they have IR scanners, and/or an additional battery for longer duration, and/or other capabilities?

I expect, as we now have batteries that plug into the connector, with one fitting over the back, that they could have something like that. A feed through connector would allow it to plug into the card reader, if required, or it could transmit the transaction in the store wirelessly. Of course, a card reader would be required for the unit itself anyway, so this could all be built into one plug-in attachment.

There's no reason why a laser scanner couldn't be built into the device as well. I have a small Hp model I used to use years ago. The tech has improved much since then, and could fit inside the thin shell of the attachment.
post #36 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilgto64 View Post

I do wonder how much data is actually on the device itself - or how well the remote wipe works - just thinking that should one of the devices go missing that is a potentially large security risk - unless it is tied to some back office app where all the data lives and it is just acting as a front end portal.

Remote wipe works great on iPhone, but then why would they need that? These devices are portals & they are only able to connect to POS (point of sales) systems via internal network. Device gets stolen you simply ban it from your network, plus Apple could track the use of the device outside their network & help lead the police to the perp.
post #37 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I never got this as ironic since Apple isn't in that business.

The lady who was processing our three phones kept apologizing because the unit was dropping our information. It got so out of hand, that we couldn't use my AmEx, because it put the number in, but lost the phone serial number. When she tried to fix that, it kept stating that the transaction was finished, though it wasn't associated with a phone. She couldn't cancel it, though the device had a command for that. Because of that, I guess, it wouldn't do any of the phones.

We had to start over using my wife's AmEx. Finally, it worked. It took a LONG time. I've heard of other problems.

Only then, after disappearing for five minutes, and having the manager of the store do something at the terminal, were we able to get that first transaction nullified.

It seems to work well enough with basic purchases, but this seemingly overwhelms it.
post #38 of 72
"improve reliability"

EasyPay has reliability problems? Do you have a source for that?

Or did you just make it up?

post #39 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by xwiredtva View Post

The GIANT Iphone display is actually running Windows.

Really? I'm pretty sure it's a MBP that is locked in a box on the floor.
post #40 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

The lady who was processing our three phones kept apologizing because the unit was dropping our information. It got so out of hand, that we couldn't use my AmEx, because it put the number in, but lost the phone serial number. When she tried to fix that, it kept stating that the transaction was finished, though it wasn't associated with a phone. She couldn't cancel it, though the device had a command for that. Because of that, I guess, it wouldn't do any of the phones.

We had to start over using my wife's AmEx. Finally, it worked. It took a LONG time. I've heard of other problems.

Only then, after disappearing for five minutes, and having the manager of the store do something at the terminal, were we able to get that first transaction nullified.

It seems to work well enough with basic purchases, but this seemingly overwhelms it.

I'm sure there are issues, but I've been pretty lucky with my purchases. I do think that Motorola and other handheld POS manufacturers are probably none to happy about Apple opening up the 30-pin connector. I bet that many of these companies didn't even realize that their business model would be in trouble until it was spelled out what Apple's device will be able to do. Maybe some still have no clue until they get a look at this article or others showing what will be occurring.

I hope that at least a couple of these companies will be the ones making the the attachments, but this looks like a prime time for a small upstart to make some serious coin. In other words, these Motorola Symbol POS handhelds look to cost around $2000 retail, while an iPod Touch costs only $229 + the cost of the attachment, the software, and maybe a docking station. I think that with Apple's SDk that $500-$1000 for the whole POS part would be still be very profitable and still be much less than the ones I'm seeing on Google Shopping. Though honestly, I can see it had for considerably less than the numbers I state.
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: General Discussion
AppleInsider › Forums › General › General Discussion › Apple stores to ditch Windows EasyPay systems for iPhone tech