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 their massive fleet of Windows CE handhelds, made by Symbol Technologies and introduced back in 2005, 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 barcode 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.
More pictures at [AppleInsider]