Apple’s retail store iOS app already does some pretty cool stuff. It lets you buy Apple products and get them delivered right at your doorstep. It knows when you walk into an Apple store, more specifically which Apple store, and lets you know workshop schedules and can get you genius appointments.
What is next for the Apple Store app? Self checkout.
At least that’s what MacRumors’ sources claim, which does make a lot of sense. Apple has more than 200 million iTunes users whose accounts are tied with their credit card information, which gives the company a head start in this space.
Apple is planning to launch an update to its retail store iOS app that will allow consumers to utilize self-checkout for purchases of accessories and other shelf-stocked items at the company’s retail stores. According to our source, self-checkout purchases will be charged via the Apple Store app to the customer’s iTunes Store account.
Now obviously you can’t just walk off by checking out with the app, you would have to show a confirmatory email (receipt) from Apple to one of the retail employees to let them know that you have indeed paid for what you’re taking away.
The Apple Store app would reportedly be updated on the third of November, and would come bundled with these new features.
Also important to note is that Apple sells Square credit card readers through their stores. Although this rumored feature doesn’t directly compete with Square, both products fall in the (offline) payment space.
We see this as Apple setting up the stage before the launch of NFC enabled devices. Back when rumors about an NFC enabled iPhone started floating around, we noted:
Although NFC has been adopted by big companies like Google, Samsung and Nokia, barring Google Wallet we haven’t seen any useful application of NFC, at least in the US.
If Apple can make its 200 million credit card holding customers comfortable with the idea of using their iTunes account for real world purchases, NFC would just be another technology that works behind the scenes.
Apple Store is a good start, and with time we can expect Apple to start talking to other brick and mortar stores as well. In short term, you can expect the duration of your Apple Store visits to reduce using the self-checkout option.
What more would you expect from Apple in the payment space? Peer to peer payments? A Paypal rival? Discounts?