Since 2005, Apple stores have been ringing up purchases with wireless handheld point-of-sale terminals. This always felt a little odd, partly because you never see a register, but mostly because the devices run Windows. Not anymore!
Apple is in the process of retiring its massive fleet of Windows CE handhelds, made by Symbol Technologies, with custom-designed iPod Touches. The initial announcement made this sound like a self-satisfied, gloating move by Apple, during which they'd happily--and publicly--ditch their clunky, ugly, jury-rigged handhelds for sleek, shiny iPod Touches. But judging by these photos nabbed by AppleInsider, this isn't quite the case.
Apple's point-of-sale Touches take advantage of OS 3.0's hardware accessory support a lot. Each one will be wrapped in a large plastic case, which includes a bar-code scanner up top and a card reader slot in the side, as well as an extra battery.
The whole assemblage--iPod included--is powered through a mini USB port. Naturally, sales will be carried out with a custom iPhone app; not so naturally, credit card signatures need to be entered with a stylus, almost like you're using Windows Mobile (OH GOD!). Or, you know, paper.