Inside Apple’s secret plan to kill the cash register

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    Inside Apple’s secret plan to kill the cash register




    “If you’ve ever been to a store, you know the drill: Browse the merchandise, pick something, carry it to the checkout counter, maybe wait in line, pay, then walk out with your purchases and a receipt,” Mike Elgan writes for Computerworld. “An American saloon owner named James Ritty invented the cash register in 1879. Since then, all cash registers have shared the characteristics of bigness, heaviness and bulkiness — and have required the old walk-up-to-the-counter behavior in order to buy things.”

    “One notable exception is your local Apple Store,” Elgan writes. “There are no cash registers. If you want to buy something, you flag down some kid wearing a brightly colored T-shirt and hand over your credit card. The kid scans the item’s bar code with a specially outfitted iPhone or iPad, swipes your credit card and emails you the receipt. The transaction can happen anywhere in the store.”

    Elgan writes, “Apple, apparently, thinks the whole process for buying things in retail stores is dumb. The big counter you have to walk up to? The giant machine for registering the transaction? The paper receipt? Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. And it has a point. Cash registers are obsolete and unnecessary. So why would Apple’s hotly anticipated iWallet system require a cash register? It won’t, if one analyst has it right.”

    “Apple’s iWallet digital wallet will eliminate the need for both the cash register and the credit card,” Elgan writes. “Why? Because it will use Bluetooth, rather than NFC, according to Pablo Saez Gil, a retail industry analyst with ResearchFarm… Apple has built Bluetooth 4.0 into every computer, tablet and phone it has shipped since the middle of 2011, representing millions of users. The world does not have to wait for a gradual NFC rollout. The underlying wireless technology has already been deployed at scale.”

    5-19-12

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