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

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
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, Apple?s 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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 57
    Looks like someone's been nibbling on that pen.
  • Reply 2 of 57
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    I'm befuddled by a couple things.



    1) Why there weren?t others soon after the March v3.0 SDK release announcing a similar products in the works. Whether it?s 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.
  • Reply 3 of 57
    mactelmactel Posts: 1,275member
    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.
  • Reply 4 of 57
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    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.



    Wouldn?t 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 can?t beat them, join them. If Moto didn?t understand the potential of iPhone OS back then they surely understand it now and I?d wager that they are now working on their own device to compete.



    PS: I?d 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 isn?t out of the question.
  • Reply 5 of 57
    This would be a great product for Apple to sell to small businesses that want to use Mac products.
  • Reply 6 of 57
    bspearsbspears Posts: 147member
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 57
    brucepbrucep Posts: 2,823member
    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
  • Reply 8 of 57
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    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?
  • Reply 9 of 57
    iPod POS doesn't seem like a great name, though.
  • Reply 10 of 57
    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.
  • Reply 11 of 57
    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.
  • Reply 12 of 57
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,205member
    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.
  • Reply 13 of 57
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    I'm befuddled by a couple things.



    1) Why there weren?t others soon after the March v3.0 SDK release announcing a similar products in the works. Whether it?s 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.
  • Reply 14 of 57
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 57
    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
  • Reply 16 of 57
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,205member
    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.
  • Reply 17 of 57
    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.
  • Reply 18 of 57
    oc4theooc4theo Posts: 294member
    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!
  • Reply 19 of 57
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 57
    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.
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