Saw this story on the interweb..
Apple Tweaks Operations For Holiday Season
The last three months of each year always bring a rush of shoppers to Apple’s stores, creating record revenues but also challenging the stores to maintain the “surprise and delight” that visitors have come to expect during the holiday buying season. This year, Apple will update its operations to reduce visitor confusion and streamline sales. First, Apple will drop the aircraft carrier-like T-shirts that are color-coded to indicate the employees’ skills. Visitors have reported that seeing orange, dark blue, light blue, medium blue and black T-shirts is simply confusing. Beginning soon, the entire store staff will wear the same color T-shirt, with that color changing from time to time. Next—and more dramatically—employees will ditch the current EasyPay portable computers made by Symbol Technologies, and will begin using an iPod touch with an advanced scanner accessory and point-of-sale (POS) software. First, the iPod touch scanner will allow employees to capture data from products that have multiple barcodes using a single pass, including the UPC, Apple serial number and product code, cellular IMEI and ICCI numbers. Second, the new set-up will allow employees to accept cash for purchases without hiking to a central register position. The switch to the iPod touch is made possible by this year’s V3.0 software update, reported by AppleInsider back in April, that includes support for external devices. It’s not clear if Apple has programmed its own POS software or is using an application from another vendor. Apple debuted the current EasyPay POS system for the 2005 holiday buying season. It’s been generally successful from Apple’s perspective. However, employees have voiced many criticisms of EasyPay over the years, saying it suffers from crashes, loss of Wi-Fi connectivity and sluggish operation. The EasyPay devices run a version of the Windows CE operation system, feature a black-and-white screen and require a stylus to write signatures or make menu selections. Update: Tipsters say Apple developed the POS software that will run on the new iPod touch devices, and also designed and had built the battery pack for the device.
I wonder if the device in question is "The Squirrel" a device recently exposed to be developed in secret by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey.
The project was only revealed to be involved with Dorsey earlier this month, it was previously scooped as a nameless product by Engadget in August..
Square iPhone Payment System turns your phone into credit card reader
"Everyone and their uncle Steve uses WinCE terminals to execute cashless transactions these days, and while you'd expect Apple to remedy that right quick, the Square credit card reader has beaten it to the punch. Plugging into the headphone jack of either an iPhone or iPod Touch, the dongle takes a swipe of your card, the seller enters the purchase data and you do your best penless John Hancock on the touchscreen. After that, a receipt is delivered by email and the app retains geotagging data for each transaction. Spiffy, right? Well, there is a surcharge to pay, and it's still in early alpha testing in New York, but should it prove popular, there's no reason not to see this appendage make an appearance on Android or WinMo phones as well. Rest easy, Gotham, we're sure nothing could possibly go wrong."
Could it be that a heavyweight of the business / tech world like Dorsey (who has a while ago quit the Twitter board of directors) has been working with Apple to bring a cashless transaction system to the iMasses? The only element of this scenario that dosen't seem plausible is the scanning ability, but maybe that can be supported wirelessly..
...anyone, feel free to correct me if you've seen news out there lately that will contradict this line of thought