Will Apple Enter Point of Sale Market?
For quite a long time Apple Stores depended on Windows CE-based point of sale (POS) devices from Motorola’s Symbol Technologies business. But in November 2009, Apple Stores started to replace those wireless point of sale devices with fancy new iPod Touches wearing a veritable suit of armor. It begs the question: Will Apple ever promote and sell its own POS handhelds to third-party retail stores?
First, a bit about Apple’s own iPod Touch POS approach. A rubberized jacket holds the iPod Touch and contains a barcode scanner and a magnetic card reader. Also included is a special pen that enables a customer to sign their name on the iPod touch’s capacitance touch screen.
The software is named “EasyPay Touch” and Apple has built it with shortcuts, momentum-scrolling lists, and the ability to even make returns. Word on the net is that the new Microsoft retail stores use a similar device, but it’s made by Samsung. It’s also been reported that not only is it four times larger, but it’s five times heavier. This is a brilliant strategy for Apple. Although it’s not really known how much R&D has been dumped into the POS jacket and software development, Apple has created a solution in-house, and as a result, now have one less thing to outsource or worry about. It’s a solution that’ll last and be upgraded at the whim of Apple, not some 3rd party they’re forced to work with.
But it also means Apple has the potential to compete in the POS arena. And while it seems like this isn’t a technology that is going to be shared anytime soon, it’s interesting to consider none the less.