Little did I know. Apple has put its POS system, called EasyPay, into trials as a third-party, stand-alone POS running on Apple devices. According to 9-to-5 Mac, the first customer is Gap (GPS) and its subsidiary Old Navy. The rollout is under way on a very limited basis, but should the experiment gain momentum, it could be a significant win for Apple in a number of ways.
A Trojan Horse?
First, the POS market is huge. Sales of POS units for retailer applications alone exceed $6 billion per year worldwide, according to the IHL Group. That's not counting the hospitality industry nor other sectors that use POS technology, which add additional billions to the potential market. Then there's the self-checkout market, another rapidly growing sector that could be revolutionized by applications on smartphones or media tablets.
Second, POS could be a very interesting Trojan horse for Apple to get into large enterprise accounts. Retailers buy a whole lot of computers, both laptops and desktops, and some of the largest companies in the country are retailers: Think Walmart (WMT) and Target (TGT), among others.
Then, consider the potential for an enterprise halo effect. Consumers hooked on iPods and iPhones jacked up Apple's computer market share. In a similar way, Apple's penetration into POS markets could convince corporate info-tech managers impressed with the EasyPay system to go Mac. Then again, Windows POS is extremely popular and a worthy opponent in the business. Powered by a super-locked-down version of Microsoft's (MSFT) software, Windows POS has been gaining market share over the past decade.
One way or another, keep your eyes peeled for more iPhone POS checkout systems coming to stores near you.