A few months ago, I wrote that Square's credit-card-swiping dongle for iPhones and iPads didn't look secure. No matter, it appears the San Francisco-based company isn't prepared to hang its hat on swipe technology. With a new update to its Card Case app, its users won't have to use their credit cards or their phones to pay anymore.
"Square is making its Card Case digital wallet app hands-free, enabling users to walk into a store and pay without ever pulling out their smartphone. They just say their name and order," writes Ryan Kim of Gigaom.com.
Card Case version 1.1 for iPhone uses iOS 5's geo-fencing capabilities to identify a user within 100 meters of a store, allowing store staff to see the user's face on their Square register iPad app at checkout. "It's another sign of progress from Square, which is now up to 800,00 customers using its products," adds Kim.
Apple Store app will offer in-store pickup, self-checkout
A new Apple Store app, expected for release on Thursday, will let customers buy items for in-store pickup and self-checkout at Apple Stores.
"The addition of in-store pickup isn't exactly revolutionary -- other retailers like Best Buy already offer it -- but according to BGR, Apple's approach will be far more streamlined than its competitors," writes Devindra Hardawar of VentureBeat.com.
"Apple is aiming to have orders ready 12 minutes after you make a purchase in the app, after wich you'll be able to stroll in, skip registers, sign for your order, and leave.
"If your order isn't in stock, the app will tell you when it'll be available and will also send you a push notification once it's ready for pickup."
As for the self-checkout process at Apple Stores, it will only apply to accessories (expensive items are not available for self-checkout). You pick the item you want, scan the product with your phone using the app, click purchase and it will charge the credit card associated with your Apple ID.
"We have been told that Apple will not be checking purchases which seems hard to believe," writes Jonathan S. Geller of BGR.com. I, too, was wondering how they would deactivate magnetic anti-theft stickers and such. I suppose we'll all find out Thursday when the app launches.