Apple started using the EasyPay checkout system in its retail stores starting in 2009. The system uses an iPod touch with a sled attachment that provides each device with a barcode scanner and a magnetic strip reader for processing credit cards.
Apple may be migrating to an advanced sled that provides RFID capabilities, a keypad for PIN input with debit card sales and support for Passbook scanning. The new system also has been updated to work with iOS 7.
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.
The reason why the company is switching to the more expensive iPhone 5s is not clear, but it’s possible that the new system could benefit from the faster hardware of the iPhone 5s. Touch ID could provide employees with faster logins to the payment system or as a way for customers to authorize their purchase. The iPhone 5s also supports calling, allowing employees to make a support call without requiring them to carry a second device.
Apple allegedly is rolling out the iPhone 5s units in select Apple stores nationwide with the goal of equipping all US stores with the updated POS platform in the next few weeks.