Does Apple’s New POS System Hint at a Mobile Payments Service?

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Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) retail stores are beginning to replace the current mobile point-of-sale system that uses the iPod touch with a new system that uses the iPhone 5S, according to unnamed sources cited by 9to5Mac. The current iPod touch “EasyPay” system has been in use since 2009, according to 9to5Mac. Besides offering the obvious advantage of allowing Apple Store employees to make or receive phone calls without a separate device, the iPhone 5S-based POS system also includes several additional new features.

As noted by Forbes, the upgraded system includes a new “shell” or “sled” that attaches to the iPhone 5S. Made by electronic payment transaction technology provider VeriFone (NYSE:PAY), the new shell features the capability to read chip-and-pin cards, the new standard in credit card security. The chip-and-pin POS system requires users to enter their personal identification number (PIN) after swiping their card. The new iPhone 5S VeriFone shell includes a number keypad on the back of the device for the improved credit card security feature.

Apple’s new POS system also features several incremental upgrades, such as enhanced PassBook scanning, reports 9to5Mac. PassBook – which was first introduced on iOS 6 – allows Apple users to store event tickets, airline tickets, boarding passes, coupons, movie tickets, and gift cards. The EasyPay POS software has also been upgraded to work more efficiently with iOS 7 and includes an improved method for handling personal pickup orders. According to an internal memo obtained by 9to5Mac, Apple outlined several other improvements over the previous system, including longer battery life, 2D bar code scanning capability, and better network connectivity.

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