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Apple is in the process of updating the iPod touch units used by Apple Store employees as a mobile point-of-sale system to the iPhone 5s, according to sources familiar with the roll out. 

Apple first started using its iPod touch as an “EasyPay” system for employees in its retail stores back in 2009 and currently uses 4th gen iPod touch or previous models for staff. It uses a point-of-sale attachment for the iPod touch that adds a magnetic stripe reader, barcode scanning functionality, and more. It’s not clear the exact motivation behind Apple’s move to the iPhone after long using the iPod touch, but the device does provide a few advantages. 

Apple’s upgrade to the iPhone 5s for employees brings new features via an upgraded point-of-sale sled that adds in RFID capabilities as well as chip and pin card reading functionality and improvements for Passbook scanning. The new accessories are also said to integrate a keypad to allow input of pin numbers for debit payment processing and more. Additionally, the EasyPay software has been updated for iOS 7 with improved navigation on the new hardware.

In a memo to employees, Apple notes that the new hardware doubles battery life, adds a 2D bar code scanning, improved network connectivity, and “makes just about everything easier.” Apple adds that the updated software adds improved personal pickup that adds a bar code to the confirmation screen in the Apple Store app allowing employees to quickly scan and bring up orders using their EasyPay unit.

Those are definitely a few upgrades from the previous iPod touch-based systems Apple Store employees used, but why iPhones and not an upgrade to the fifth-gen iPod touch? Of course you gain a few benefits from the speedier and more capable hardware of the iPhone 5s compared to the iPod touch. The fingerprint scanner could open up possibilities for faster logins for employees, or Apple could have longer term plans for using the sensor in its retail stores. In addition, it would allow employees to make phone calls without the need for a separate device. There’s also the question of how much longer the iPod will stick around…

Tim Cook himself noted recently that Apple has “known for some time that iPod is a declining business,” and with just 2.7 million units sold last quarter down from 6 million the quarter before, speculation has been that the iPod will soon come to the end of its life. Apple likely has at least one more iPod refresh in its pipeline, but perhaps the company has decided to transition to iPhones now ahead of an eventual end of the iPod.

The move is a notable one since many large retailers have followed Apple in implementing similar iPod touch-based systems for employees. Just yesterday we reported that Target has informed employees it will replace its old PDAs and LPDAs this summer with an iPod touch solution.

Apple has already deployed the iPhone 5s to a number of stores in the U.S. and says units are rolling out to every store across the country in the next few weeks. Apple is also planning to change the EasyPay name and is asking employees to submit suggestions.

Mark Gurman contributed to this report. 

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25 Responses to “Apple Store employees switching from iPod touch to iPhone 5s for EasyPay POS system”

  1. I am going to report you because I have ask you to take me off you thing because you are filling up my box with your shit got the last time take my email address off your thing please

    Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone.

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  2. I can tell you exactly what motivates the switch. Many stores are STILL currently using 2nd gen iPod Touches to run all in-store systems. Everything from Point of Sale to Genius diagnostics / GCRM to back of house inventory. The 2nd gens simply can not handle the newer versions of these apps. When I worked in the store, Easy Pay would just simply crash all the damn time. It was especially frustrating when it would crash in the middle of an iPhone sale and a customer’s phone number and upgrade eligibility would be stuck in the ether.

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  3. quandmeme says:

    i think it means that touchID is NOT coming to the iPod touch line. If they were coming just wait for next gen touch.

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    • Tallest Skil says:

      How does that follow?

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      • I think the point he’s trying to make, is that upgrading to the iPhone 5s, would be counter intuitive – and costly – if the next generation iPod Touch was going to have Touch ID. It would be cheaper to wait for those units to be produced than to upgrade to the iPhone. Considering the iPhone 5s is $649 contract free for 16gb and the iPod Touch is $229 – a $420 dollar difference. Now, quandmeme is assuming that Apple’s choice to go with the 5s over the 5c indicates that they are making the switch for the Touch ID alone. They are also basing this opinion on the line “… at least one more update in its pipeline.” This could be entirely wrong.

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      • Tallest Skil says:

        >>if the next generation iPod Touch

        Ah, but here’s the problem with that: The next generation product goes in the hands of consumers first. Apple wouldn’t take supply away for their own uses. Additionally, by virtue of it being new tech, it’s going to be more expensive than the old stuff anyway. Finally, in using the iPhone 5S, Apple reduces surplus product supply ahead of the launch of the 6.

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  4. This means they can scan my gift cards from the passbook app right? No more having to type in codes? Please say yes.

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    • I think Apple would say that the name places the emphasis on the wrong part of the software. While being an POS system, they don’t want to remind people that they are charging them $2000 for their new computer. Rather they want them to think about how easy and convenient the software makes payments.

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  5. shm1ck83 says:

    Seems weird why they would not wait for the next gen iPod Touch, surely it would have Touch ID and be just as fast as an iPhone 5S.

    You say that now Apple employees would now be able to make calls from the one device? They would not use all of these to make calls and if if they would, I’m sure they would use FaceTime to contact other stores.
    On the flip side if they do use all the devices to make regular calls, just think of all the activations of iPhones that will help Apples figures!

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    • Despite the article mentioning “… at least one more update in the pipeline…” they never said that would include a new iPod Touch – it’s already incredibly similar to the iPhone. The only thing it seems to have done for Apple is hurt iPhone sales. I know many people who use an iPod Touch with a variety of apps to make calls and iMessages over Wi-Fi. They are buying it as a cheap iPhone replacement. Based upon Apples introduction of the iPhone 5c which is trying to gain marketshare in the cheaper end of the smartphone market – the iPod Touch just stands in it’s way. I do think Apple will release a new shuffle and nano, but not the iPod Touch. They may even release a ‘commemorative’ iPod Classic update – but I think they’ll leave the iPod Touch out of it.

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      • ah yes, the magical $549 “lower end” of the smart phone market. Apple is certainly trying to compete with $100 android devices with the iPhone 5c.

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    • the iPhone 5s’s are not going to be activated. employees will not be able to make calls on them

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  6. I’m pretty sure I’ve already paid sometime by inserting my debit card in the easypay device and using the keypad to enter the pin code, about a year ago. So, that’s not something new. Also, the geniuses (at least in Amsterdam) have already switched to iPads.

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  7. maxleopold says:

    In Europe they use these Chip & Pin capable PDQs:

    http://www.ingenico.co.uk/en/products/payment-terminals/mobility/ismp/

    I wonder if Apple, at least in the US
    will use the same Manufacturer as they did initially – just this time with iPhone5s:

    http://ipcprint.com/ios-peripherals/linea-pro-5.html

    However the later is not Chip & Pin compatible –
    and in the US,
    the Banking Industry is due to roll out Chip & Pin over the next 18months:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-05-07/what-s-in-your-wallet-1960s-technology-desperate-for-an-upgrade-.html

    So I am curious what they are using –
    there are Options like iZettle, WorldPay Zinc, PayLeven, Verifone PAYware…

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  8. jSeunnasepp says:

    I wonder if this heralds experimentation with multi fingerprint scans.

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  9. Is the EasyPay POS system available to other businesses to purchase as a system they can use in their sales (i.e. Square devices) or is it designed to only work for Apple employees?

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  10. Bill Wilt says:

    How’s about ‘iPay’ for the EasyPay replacement name? And of course “iAd” should become “iAdvert” or just pluralize, to “iAds”, as “iAd” rolls lumpily off the tongue, whilst those terminal sibilants let you slide softly into silence. 8^)

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