Apple iPads as cash registers about to become the norm

“On a recent morning at my corner café, I ordered two Americanos (they were out of drip) and a flaky, buttery calorie bomb of a pastry to start my day,” Marcus Wohlsen reports for Wired. Across the counter, a barista handed me the iPad she had just used to swipe my debit card. I tapped ‘$1’ for a tip and hit ‘no receipt.’ And we were done.”

“In that moment, I had just paid for coffee on the same kind of device I use at home to watch Mad Men, page through pictures of my kid, read The New York Times and video-chat with my dad,” Wohlsen reports. “Can your cash register do that? Daily life really didn’t used to be this way.”

Wohlsen reports, “Between 2011 and 2012, the number of ‘mobile point-of-sale’ terminals registered by businesses worldwide more than doubled, according to U.K. industry research firm Timetric. The newly released report doesn’t see such a dramatic rate of uptake to continue year after year. But researchers do project that the percentage of checkout counters using mobile point-of-sale systems such as those offered by Square, ShopKeep, Intuit and PayPal will jump from fewer than one-fifth last year to nearly half by 2017.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Apple is killing the cash register – March 22, 2013
Attention shoppers: Why Apple’s iPad mini may be the retail world’s new best friend – November 9, 2012
Apple granted U.S. patent for point of sale system and more – October 9, 2012
Lowe’s equips employees with 42,000 Apple iPhones – September 8, 2011
Restaurants embrace Apple’s revolutionary iPad – December 29, 2010
Old Navy piloting Apple’s iPod touch-based Point Of Sale systems – December 2, 2010
a href=””>iPads boost restaurant’s wine sales 11% – September 17, 2010
iPad-based point of sale cash register systems already deployed in Japan – August 31, 2010
Sydney restaurant replaces menus with Apple iPads – June 05, 2010
First look: Apple’s new iPod touch-based EasyPay checkout handhelds – November 3, 2009
Apple patent app describes wireless restaurant ordering from devices – December 27, 2007


  1. I’m seeing more and more independent retailers bring the bacon home with iPad cash registers and edgy restauranteurs use iPads as ordering tools.

    Samsung tablets, on the other hand, have been very prevalent in welfare lines on account that they were picked up from dumpsters after having been discarded by the original owners.

    1. This guy (BLN?? )is obviously trying hard to say something relevant. But he fails. His grammar is nothing short of shocking and he sounds like some sort of right wing (“please-can-I-give-you-a-blowjob-Rush”) honky.

      Stick your ass in the air BeElleN (such a femme hom name) and you may have more luck.

  2. This is because there is really absolutely no advantage to signing up with some big-time merchant account service, then get a windows PC, card swiping reader, receipt printer and configure it all to work together, so that your business could begin accepting credit cards. When the other option is a simple sign-up with ‘Square’ (or PayPal), which charges NOTHING if you don’t use it, and the commission is negligibly higher than those “proper” merchant account services, I can’t possibly imagine why would a small business complicate their lives with a clumsy device (PC, monitor, keyboard, mouse, card reader, Windows software…), when all they need is an iPad and nothing else. Square (as well as PayPal, and others) sends you a free card reader to plug into your iDevice. Software is also free on the App Store. Creating an account takes five minutes, as does linking it to your bank account. Verifying the bank accounts takes another day or so (until deposits clear), and the service is really efficient.

    Nobody should be surprised to see iPads appearing as registers in coffee shops, bars, smoothie parlors and other small business around the world.

    1. This has the power to take away the massive card profit for the credit card companies kind of like fake instant message costs that the phone people were gouging consumers with and now with iMessage the cost is zero. Consumers and merchants should stand to gain substantially from those creeping percentage service charges.

      1. Actually, it doesn’t really. The only thing this does is steers businesses away from the large merchant account services, who charge a monthly fee, plus transaction fee, plus transaction percentage, towards companies such as Square, who don’t charge monthly fees, but whose percentage is a bit higher than high-volume merchant accounts.

        Credit card companies will continue to make the same profits, since their charges remain the same as before. They aren’t a part of this particular loop.

    2. Part of the problem is that several small businesses still need Windows to do their books. I was helping out a small biz and they needed to use the Windows version of Quickbooks because their accountant would only accept that version. I thought Quickbooks had a Mac version but I guess its a different format for the accountants. So for them it made sense to have a Windows point of sale system and Quickbooks for the back office.

    3. Square and Paypal charge a lot more than the big banks for merchant fees, that’s why. Paypal can charge 4.4% plus a fee while our other merchant accounts are down to 1.1% with no per transaction charge.

      Small businesses need the best deal they can get.

      Some of the big banks merchant facilities can be processed through a web browser…so iPad is still a useable tool for this.

      A desktop is still needed though for MYOB or similar accounting software at this stage, but hoping things change soon!

      1. About 5% of my clients pay me with a credit card; the rest with checks or (rarely) cash. The 2.75% charged by Square is worth the lack of hassle in terms of accounts, dealing with big banks, special expensive equipment, etc., etc., etc. I pop the Square reader onto my iPhone, swipe the card, and I’m done; the cash shows up the next day or the day after.

    1. At one of the coffee shops I frequent, they’ve been using iPads for months. The iPad does all the stuff you’d do on a register keyboard. I hand her cash, she hits a button, the physical cash drawer opens, she hands me change. I put a buck in her tips jar.

      If I use a card, she scans it, I punch in my PIN, all done. I put a buck in her tips jar.

      At the Apple stores, they do the same, with the cash drawers being just below the top of a demonstration table. She hits a button, the drawer opens, etc.

      The only complaint they’ve stated to me, when I ask, is that sometimes the Internet connection to their credit card agency goes flaky. Not their fault.

  3. iPad cash registers are good as long as employees know how to use them. Was recently at a retailer who’s iPad kept freezing. I tried to tell the employee to force close the app and pwr off/on. Employee did not understand my suggestions…

    1. My first question is “Was it actually in iPad?” A lady I know was telling me about the problems she was having with her iPad (freezing, screen displaying random numbers, etc). She has a Galaxy Tab. End of story.

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