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October 29, 2009

Apple stores supposedly transitioning from WinMo to iPod Touch

Anyone who's ever been to an Apple store for an appointment or service knows the weird procedure where someone greets you at the door, takes your info, and then wirelessly sends it to some other Apple people who then come greet you when it's your time. Same for making payments away from the main desk and so on. It all works, but it's a bit odd, and even weirder is that some of that mobile check-in and checkout is done on non-Apple hardware (Symbol, actually) that's running Windows CE software. Supposedly it was done that way because Apple mobile gear couldn't handle bar codes and credit cards and such.

I always thought that was strange because there are all sorts of scanning and credit card processing apps available for the iPhone. And, in typical iPhone fashion, they are being used in cool, innovative ways. For example, there's an app ("Red Laser") that scans a barcode and then instantly checks the Web for the best prices for that product. That way you always know whether you're getting a good deal. There are also numerous apps for credit card processing. That should not come as a surprise in an era where banks are starting to allow you to remotely "deposit" checks from an iPhone.

Anyway, the folks at now report that Apple stores may be transitioning to iPod Touches with an advanced scanner accessory and point-of-sale POS software for checkout. Other businesses are probably following in their path. And I can easily see iPhones and iPods being used in more industrial applications thanks to all those ruggedized cases available now (my favorite one is the Otterbox Defender). Can iPhone-based industrial-strength vertical market apps be far behind?

Posted by conradb212 at October 29, 2009 06:36 PM