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Finally, Apple (s aapl) is beginning the roll-out of its iPod touch-based payment and checkout system for retail stores. According to an exclusive report over at AppleInsider, the Mac maker will begin retiring its current Windows CE-based devices and implementing the new system within a couple of weeks.
The device is an entirely new iPod touch, custom designed for point-of-sale (POS) usage. It features a magnetic stripe reader, an advanced barcode scanner, and Apple’s own proprietary software for processing payments. The new system allows for payment by credit, debit and cash, and includes features that allow for making returns, too.
The EasyPay touch, as the device is being called, was made possible thanks to the introduction of hardware device support via the dock connector. The extended case that surrounds the basic iPod touch contains sleep and volume control buttons, a mini-USB connector for charging, and a rechargeable battery to power the card reader and barcode scanner.
Things that the EasyPay touch can’t do (yes, even it isn’t a miracle worker) include divvying up payment between two or more debit or credit cards, or paying by checks and processing cash returns. These transactions will continue to be handled by more traditional computer-based POS systems.
The roll-out of the new EasyPay touch system will include more than just a change in the hardware used for processing transactions. According to AppleInsider, Apple is aware that many customers find its non-traditional check out systems to be somewhat confusing, so attempts will be made to make it more clear when and where store guests can pay for their purchases.
While there are no plans currently to extend the payment system beyond the confines of Apple’s retail store, it’s impossible not to think about how such an elegant and simple system might appeal to other retailers as well. Should Apple ever decide to license the tech, I’m sure there will be at least a few major companies out there interested in pursuing such an agreement.