Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Businesses Apple

Apple Revolutionizing Retail 418

Posted by Zonk
from the slick-very-slick dept.
conq writes "BusinessWeek has an interesting blog entry on Apple's 'iPod Express table', where they streamline the sale of iPods in their store. From the article: 'But the best part was that the Apple Geniuses behind the table had wireless gizmos for scanning credit cards, and Apple had worked out a totally wireless, paperless checkout process, called EasyPay. Once scanned, they advise you that the receipt will be in your inbox within an hour (since I'm already a registered Apple customer, they didn't even need to take my email or other information).'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Apple Revolutionizing Retail

Comments Filter:
  • by oc-beta (941915) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @01:48PM (#14359184)
    That I want to order one, and ship it too me? 1984 style!
    • That'd be double plus ungood.

      I see how this is an interesting concept, and maybe leaves you with a warm fuzzy feeling inside, but unless an ipod is the type of thing you buy every couple of days on a whim, it doesn't seem that useful...

      the most you're probably going to get is one a year; you really don't need everything to be completely streamlined.
      • by marc_gerges (561641) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @04:45PM (#14360425)
        the most you're probably going to get is one a year; you really don't need everything to be completely streamlined.

        Apple plans to sell considerably more than one a year, so they may be very pleased with everything being completely streamlined.

        Obviously I haven't read the article, but I wonder how good an emailed receipt is - will my spam filter trash it, can I use it to declare theft with my insurance company etc.

        I'm spending my days helping people getting their transactions and processes optimized with the help of computer systems, so I admire this concept. But there's the old saying about paperless offices making about as much sense as paperless toilets...

    • you're blow up doll is on the way sir. double plus good!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 29, 2005 @01:53PM (#14359225)
    Do you have concerns
    For your privacy
    In this modern age
    Of technology?
    With corporations
    Buying your souls?
    Well push those worries in a deep dark hole!

    Cause Apple's doin it, and they're okay
    They'll treat your information right every day
    Yeah, Apple's doin it, so it can't be wrong
    And that's the end of my stupid song.
  • Bah (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Golias (176380)
    Apple had worked out a totally wireless, paperless checkout process, called EasyPay.

    You know what's easy? I hand you money, you hand me the product and receipt. If you want my personal information, buy it. Wouldn't it be great if we all went back to that sort of system?
    • Re:Bah (Score:5, Informative)

      by CokeBear (16811) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @01:56PM (#14359255) Journal
      You still have that option. Just walk to the back of the store with your wad of cash (try not to get mugged on the way) and you can happily pay in any denomination of legal tender. No personal information required.

      They are just trying to find a way to reduce the lineup at a busy time. Is that such a bad thing?

      • Re:Bah (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        nah. whats bad is i bought an iPod service agreement using this 2 months ago and still haven't received my receipt. that was my attempt at saving trees. never again until they can prove that it actually works.
        • Given that you have the iPod and the service agreement, why is it an issue? You can prove with your bank statement, if need be, that you spent an amount of money at the store equal to the iPod plus service agreement, and Apple knows that.
        • by h0mer (181006)
          You don't need a receipt for AppleCare, it's in that shrinkwrapped orange box they give you. I believe there's a card inside with a enrollment number that you register with.
      • by Golias (176380)
        You still have that option. Just walk to the back of the store with your wad of cash (try not to get mugged on the way) and you can happily pay in any denomination of legal tender. No personal information required.

        But they'll still pester me for that personal information, as well as the personal information of every last person in line ahead of me and I'm a crotchety old curmudgeon. Bah!!!

        They are just trying to find a way to reduce the lineup at a busy time. Is that such a bad thing?

        I must have missed the
        • But they'll still pester me for that personal information, as well as the personal information of every last person in line ahead of me and I'm a crotchety old curmudgeon. Bah!!!


          Ah, but if you get in line, I sneak over and play in your yard. Ever think of that one?
    • by Gulthek (12570)
      Nah. That would make it harder for the government to track criminals and terrorists.

      Don't you like your money to be safer (i.e. not as stealable as cash) than your personal information?
    • Then wait in the normal line with everybody else.

      The easypay line was an OPTION to help handle the extra traffic for the holidays. Some folks are willing to give up an email address for the convenience of skipping the big line for the short, streamlined, grab-your-ipod-and-go line. It's still your choice, so quit your bitching.
      • by Golias (176380)
        The easypay line was an OPTION to help handle the extra traffic for the holidays.

        An OPTION that was needed because they take about six weeks per customer to check people out in the regular line, due to the massive volume of personal information they insist on gathering, their sluggish handling of sales, and the AppleCare plans they try to "upsell" at the counter.
    • Re:Bah (Score:5, Informative)

      by eclectic4 (665330) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @05:43PM (#14360793)
      "If you want my personal information, buy it."

      Apple uses your information for two things... to find out where to put new stores via your zip code, and to make any future service for your product seamless. You walk into a store to see a Genius (free personal tech support! Holy shitballs!), they scan the serial number. Done. They know when you purchased your product (no need for a receipt to prove warranty!), and they know your name and phone number to call you when service is done. It is never sold to anyone else, it's merely for Apple to provide better customer service, period. Not sure why these are considered "bad", but I suppose we are all entitled to our opinions...
  • Apple Stores (Score:5, Informative)

    by mysqlrocks (783488) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @01:53PM (#14359231) Homepage Journal
    Apple Stores seem to always get it right in general. I'm talking about the official Apple Stores here. For example, my partner had to get a minor problem fixed on his PowerBook. He showed up at the Genius Bar, they took it apart in front of us, fixed the problem, and we went on our way. They never once asked for a receipt or any other form of identification. No hassles at all, no proof of warranty, nothing.
    • Re:Apple Stores (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 29, 2005 @01:56PM (#14359265)
      Good luck trying to do that at any of the large populus Apple stores like SoHo in NYC. The Genius Bar is booked all day, forcing you to make an appointment online in advance.
    • Re:Apple Stores (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Golias (176380)
      Those days are gone, though. The Genius Bar proved popular enough that they needed to create an electronic queue, so now when you want their help, you must first sign up for a spot in line on a web browser using... your Apple ID.
    • Heh,
      never been to the Genius Bar in Soho, NYC eh? Used to be 1 -2 hour wait was minimum. Now I think you even need to make some sort of apointment....
      Don't know how that store is run now, as I was send screaming from there several times. It is a mob scene on normal shopping days.
      • Re:Apple Stores (Score:3, Informative)

        by pomo monster (873962)
        Apple's opening two more stores in Manhattan this year (2006), one in midtown opposite Empire State, another on Fifth Ave at the GM Plaza. Hopefully that'll alleviate some of the crush.
    • The Pittsburgh (Shadyside) Apple store has helped me out exactly once in person, when I asked for a replacement rubber foot for my PowerBook. All other times they've merely acted as a conduit between me and Apple support centers, often with a wait of 30-60 minutes.

      Reportedly you get better service if you buy "ProCare," which is $100 on top of the $350 Apple charges for AppleCare to begin with. "Good" service doesn't come cheap I guess.
    • Re:Apple Stores (Score:4, Insightful)

      by tpgp (48001) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @02:10PM (#14359398) Homepage
      Apple Stores seem to always get it right in general. I'm talking about the official Apple Stores here.

      Hmmmn,

      I think maybe that the Ipod Express tables did not work out quite as well as expected [ifoapplestore.com]
      the iPod Express purchase counters were marginally implemented, while the portable check-out devices rated even lower on a useability scale.
      Sounds like these are about as user-friendly as quicktime is (if you want to use other media players as well)

      As plenty of others in this thread have pointed out, the genius bars (god what a horrible name) are no longer as fast or friendly as your rose-tinted memories.
  • streamline? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by engagebot (941678) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @01:54PM (#14359232)
    I will say i've never been in a brick-and-mortar apple store (not one in my area), but is it really cumbersome enough trying to buy something from them that they need a specific 'express lane' for buying ipods?
    • I admit it. I'm an iPod fan-boy. And as such I've been in the Apple store shortly after releases of iPods quite a few times and the demand for the newly released iPods are just insane. If they can speed up that process then that's good for both the customer and the store.
    • by Elfich47 (703900) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @02:06PM (#14359351)
      I was in a brick and mortar Apple store during the cristmas rush. Alot of people were just coming in for iPods. So anyone who wanted an ipod went to the ipod kisok in the apple store and were taken care of there. I saw two Customer Reps at the time and they were working through customers very fast. The line was 6-8 people deep but I would swear the wait was under ten minutes for any given people.
      Normally the Appple store in my area is fun to browse, wander thorugh and try things out. It was designed so people can browse without feeling crowded or harried. Converting one of the sidewall sections into a dedicated sales point for a high volume product makes perfect sense to me.
      Because of the ipod specific section, the rest of the store retained its charm and usefulness, i.e. there wasn't a swarm of people all over the store asking "Where do we get ipods" interfering with people who wanted to buy other things (computers, cameras, software, etc etc).
      Thought of another way: It was a clever form of crowd control to keep the store manageable.
    • Re:streamline? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Sentry21 (8183)
      I went to Toronto (actually Yorkdale) for a conference this past September, and I arrived in town at my hotel room at about 11 PM on a Tuesday. Bored stiff since no one else I knew was in town yet, I went across the street to get a latte at the Yorkdale shopping centre, in which, to my great joy, I discovered an Apple store.

      As I said, it was before noon on a Tuesday, and the mall was dead. I probably saw less than a hundred customers wandering around the mall, and for the size of the place, that's not much.
  • by ibennetch (521581) <bennetch AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday December 29, 2005 @01:54PM (#14359237) Journal
    So how secure is the encryption? I'm not sure I want my credit card number floating around in the clear, and while I imagine Apple did it right, the article mentions that he thinks this should be the future of all business transactions. I don't trust the local mom&pop bookstore to have their encryption together. On the other hand, if it's going to be some black-box solution that's actually set up right out of the box, it's kind of idiot proof, no?

    The idea of having no reciept until I get home doesn't bother me, although what happens if they enter the email address wrong for new customers? A mis-type of the associate and all of a sudden you can't return your new toy if it doesn't work?
    • by BreadMan (178060) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @02:41PM (#14359626)
      >> I'm not sure I want my credit card number floating around in the clear

      Hand it to the waiter, and you have your card with all of the security numbers printed thereon in the clear. I'm not defending Apple's system, just pointing out that parties interested in getting your credit card information can do so with better fidelity and ease than attempting to break into a POS (point of sale) system.
    • So how secure is the encryption? I'm not sure I want my credit card number floating around in the clear

      Why is it, when we are faced with a new(ish) technology, we believe we must throw out all the rules we've learned with previous technology.

      Wired machines transmit encrypted. Why would that suddenly not be the case with wireless? Further, I would hazard a guess that there are standards in place for sensitive numbers that banks must follow ( which, if you are using their hardware, the cc machine would fal
  • Hackable? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by OctoberSky (888619) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @01:54PM (#14359238)
    "since I'm already a registered Apple customer, they didn't even need to take my email or other information"

    But I am sure the guy who cracks their wireless encryption will love it when he gets your email and other information... along with your credit card numbers.

    But seriously, "all paperless" that can't be good. I might be old school but I like a papertrail when giving someone my money.

    • But seriously, "all paperless" that can't be good. I might be old school but I like a papertrail when giving someone my money.

      Why can't paperless be good? I am an architect for the wireless infrastructure and citrix systems in a paperless hospital.

      We take your information at the bedside, wirelessly. Keep your records solely digitally. We also bill you digitally and give you a receipt if you request one. Even your signature is captured once, digitally.

      We comply with HIPAA and have more security
      • Ack!!! But doesn't everyone know that most identity theft is still low tech, i.e. stealing reciepts/bills from the trash and such....
      • Even your signature is captured once, digitally.

        ...and then re-printed wherever and whenever the hospital wants?
        Call me old-fashioned, but an ink-signature should have no legal standing in an electronic universe...ink for paper, PKI for digital.

      • Why can't paperless be good?

        Because this is /., where everybody knows that the world is evil and you can only trust yourself - everybody else is out to steal you blind. It's the home of the tinfoil hat conspiracy gang, of people who have nothing else to do but sit around and dream up complicated ways of how the military/industrial/governmental complex is working to reduce everyone to nothing but a number - a tightly controlled, paperless, inconsequential number. It's the conspiracy gang that says that the
    • Yep, that's officially old school. I got tired of paper, paper everywhere, and now for the majority of my bills, I just get a reminder in my inbox that they're online. My bank statement is online. And I just save copies of my receipts as PDFs. Not only is it easier to file away, but it's also easier to search through if the need arises.

      Besides, the money is mostly a digital concept anyway, since you're just moving bits from your account into theirs. It's not like it's truly backed by silver or anything
    • Re:Hackable? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DECS (891519) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @02:17PM (#14359456) Homepage Journal
      Yes, panic because WPA might be snooped, recorded and the encryption hammered off at an off site super computer by a l33t haxxor.

      Or you can panic because, for the last 40 years, paper copies of your credit card transactions, with your signature, card number, exp date and purchase details, have always been available to the legions of underpaid service people who handle your retail/resturant/telephone purchases. Carbon copies were often left in the trash.

      Seriously, if you think introducing wireless technology to the credit card transaction is opening things up for fraud, you are seriously shroomin. It's already fantastically easy to obtain your information.

      But it is entertaining to hear such panic mongering from someone who has undoubtedly made telephone credit card purchases, and we all know how secure the POTS network is.

      • Re:Hackable? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by elgatozorbas (783538)
        But it is entertaining to hear such panic mongering from someone who has undoubtedly made telephone credit card purchases, and we all know how secure the POTS network is.

        You seem to be quite confident in your assumptions about a person you have probably never met before.

        I understand him completely and would rather not see my personal info emerging everywhere, being transmitted wirelessly and especially, if I make a purchase, I would like it to end then and there: pay in cash (or electronically, so be it)

      • Re:Hackable? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by adpowers (153922)
        My mom ordered something from a small Mom & Pop store in the midwest somewhere. The packaging consisted of shredding from their office paper. I was shuffling through it and managed to piece together 3/4 of a receipt with credit car number and signature on it before I got bored. I think having small stores (or big ones) use a pre-packaged credit card processing system with no paper would be a step up in many cases.

        Andrew
    • But seriously, "all paperless" that can't be good. I might be old school but I like a papertrail when giving someone my money.

      Yeah, me too, but most Americans pay with credit cards these days. I prefer a paper trail too (cash) but most of my American customers live on debt. And if someone isn't who they say they are, guess who gets stuck with no merchandise and no money to pay for it. That's right... me, the merchant. What you are complaining about, ID theft, is what merchants call a chargeback. You,

  • by Aaron32 (891463) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @01:56PM (#14359260)
    It's great to see that someone is finally doing it right!

    The key to success is to make it extremely easy for your customers to do business with you. Get 'em in, get what they need, and check 'em out. Happy customers = high profits.

    I am very impatient when it comes to poor customer service. I have walked across the street to another electronics store when some stupid clerk said "Uh, only one guy has the key to the hard drive cabinet, and he's not around right now."

    See ya... taking my business elsewhere then.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 29, 2005 @01:56PM (#14359261)
    I purchased a 4gb nano from the apple store here in San Diego (Fashion Valley). Quick, Easy, and paperless. Problem is that I never received a receipt via email. Be sure that they READ BACK your email address if you go this route.
  • Hell of an idea. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by shadowkin (863961)
    Make it so someone picks one up, and is checked out and gone within a few minutes. Less time for them to be standing there thinking about the purchase, therefore more likely for them to make the buy on an impulse.
  • by MECC (8478) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @01:58PM (#14359276)

    Pay no attention to that van across the street with the dish pointed at your store....

  • Not so new (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cvd6262 (180823) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @02:03PM (#14359319)
    Apple Geniuses behind the table had wireless gizmos for scanning credit cards

    WOW! Re-vo-lu-tion! You mean like the ones waiters in Europe have been using for *ages*?

    It's actually kind of nice because they do not take your credit card back to the register. They swipe it at your table and hand it back to you.
    • Bingo. They've had exactly this system at my local car wash for years, as well.

    • Apple Geniuses behind the table had wireless gizmos for scanning credit cards

      Evidently few /. readers have rented a car.

      Speaking of Apple, I was in the store the other day asking about using a Mac Mini for editing home movies and making general use of iLife. Next thing I know they are telling me I have to upgrade the RAM to 1G (from 512) for $150 and I should really buy a G5 or Powerbook for that purpose. I think I would rather buy an HD video camera and use a PC instead of giving that much money to Appl

    • by User 956 (568564)
      WOW! Re-vo-lu-tion! You mean like the ones waiters in Europe have been using for *ages*? It's actually kind of nice because they do not take your credit card back to the register. They swipe it at your table and hand it back to you.

      What's even funnier is that those "wireless gizmos for scanning credit cards" are powered by a version of Windows CE [slashdot.org]. So, apparently, Apple's retail "revolution" is brought to you by the Microsoft corporation.
    • Re:Not so new (Score:3, Insightful)

      by njh (24312)
      Oh, is that all they're talking about?! The US seems about 20 years behind when it comes to money related technologies... They probably still use cheques too!
  • by Blymie (231220) *
    This isn't all that bright, on either party's side.

    From the retailer perspective, a client can *always* claim to have never received the reciept, and that their invoice was deleted in the computer. Mistakes do happen, and no retailer in their right frame of mind would think that they will *never* lose an invoice.

    Many retailers calculate nightly sales, etc, but do NOT include customer names in their nightly book-keeping reports. Regardless of the reality, customers do not trust computers to never, ever los
    • thats only a problem with cash purchase. Which I believe does generate a perper reciept.
      Your cashed check, or credit card statment will act as a proof of purchase as well.

      "Heck, you could even have problems getting out of the mall!"

      Good point. If security stoped me(and they would have to do a pretty good job becasue I don't stop just becasue they ask)
      they would need to go all the way back to the Apple store, who would have to verify that the items identification number had indeed been sold to me.
      • I can't wait till some "poor" looking person gets beat with nightsticks in the Apple store after a new employee fails to find the ID number in the computer and the salesperson who did the sale is on break :) The resulting lawsuit would be classic.
    • I don't know about this being the wrong approach from the retailer side.

      The biggest downside, as you say, is the customer service perspective. If a customer wants a receipt right then and there, you (as retailer) had better be ready to provide it. Having said that, most people probably just buy into the process and go with it. If you look at that customer service risk compared to the aggregate savings in store labor hours in the big picture, this is probably very smart for the retailer. The customer usua
  • by Tackhead (54550) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @02:04PM (#14359325)
    > Apple had worked out a totally wireless, paperless checkout process, called EasyPay.

    Wireless sniffer software: free as in speech
    Pringles can: $1.59
    parking spot downtown: $6/h
    iPod: $100
    Rest of my Christmas shopping: priceless.

    > Once scanned, they advise you that the receipt will be in your inbox within an hour (since I'm already a registered Apple customer, they didn't even need to take my email or other information).

    Since I'm not already a registered Apple customer, any clerktrooper asking me for my email, snail address, or any other data not required to complete the transaction when I try to purchase products gets the old Jedi Mind Trick: you place an appropriate number of Federal Reserve Notes (or other bits of nicely-decorated paper) in your hand, wave your hand in front of the clerk, and you say "You don't need to see my identification".

    If it works, the clerktrooper realized they're more interested in the pretty paper in your hand than the toy - so you leave the paper behind and walk out with a shiny new toy.

    If it doesn't work, you keep the pretty paper and leave a confused clerktrooper holding the toy.

    It's a self-reinforcing system. The Empire demands that clerktroopers ask for identification -- but clerktroopers who follow orders and resist the Jedi Mind Trick ultimately find themselves scheduled for termination. The tighter the Imperial grip, the more sales slip through their fingers.

  • Restauranteurs, please take note!
  • Trackback now! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by lpangelrob (714473) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @02:08PM (#14359368)
    Speaking of anticipatory reactions...

    Sometimes it didn't work as well as advertised. [ifoapplestore.com]

    But yes, they're going to tweak it and use it anyway. [businessweek.com]

    Was this present at all Apple Stores during the holiday season? I seem to have completely missed it.

  • ...the busy holiday season aside, is it really that important to reduce to mere seconds the time it takes to purchase a high-tech high-sticker gadget by dispatching a platoon of wirelessly-networked sales associates? C'mon, are you rushing to catch a plane?

    What makes sense for Avis at the airport doesn't necessarily work in all retail settings.
    • let say there are 25 people in front of you, and this system saves 10 seconds.
      Now thats 4 minutes of your time it has saved.
      This means shorter lines, which usually equates to more customers.

      • This means shorter lines, which usually equates to more customers.
        I'm sure someone has a theorm that shows the inverse relationship between line length and the chance that any given person will queue up.
        While the too-long line length may be different for everyone, there is a certain length at which no one else will join...
  • since I'm already a registered Apple customer, they didn't even need to take my email or other information
    Joe McCarthy: Are you now, or have you ever been a registered member of the Apple customer base?
  • by Lxy (80823) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @02:14PM (#14359437) Journal
    I have a problem with leaving the store without a receipt. E-mail isn't the most reliable medium ever, and a simple mistype in your e-mail address means you don't get the receipt for your product.

    There are other ways of verifying purchase, but nothing beats having a paper receipt when returning/exchanging items. Especially if it's a gift for someone.
    • There's also the problem of store security. If the cashier fails to deactivate any anti-shoplifting devices and I trigger them as I walk out of the store, how am I supposed to prove that I paid for it?

      That's why I always get a paper receipt when I pay-at-the-pump for gasoline.
    • Actually, many retailers can retrieve an order by credit card. While doing so isn't as secure for the retailer as a physical receipt, it does mean that the retailer can exchange a faulty product without holding the customer to task for losing a tiny piece of paper. Since a customer making a return or exchange is probably unhappy, executing the transaction quickly and conveniently is very crucial.
    • by bahwi (43111) <incoming@josephguhli[ ]om ['n.c' in gap]> on Thursday December 29, 2005 @03:55PM (#14360139) Homepage
      It was optional. Cash registers are still located at the back of the store.

      There ya go, everything you want(paper receipt, status enabling apple bag) and everything others want(faster checkout, little or no line).
  • by tktk (540564)
    I need a 60GB iPod.

    If the Apple store tells me the receipt is in the (e)mail, can I tell them their payment is in the (s)mail?

  • But why the heck is it wireless. To be hacked easier by near passing script kiddies?
  • right.. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Politburo (640618) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @02:52PM (#14359714)
    Their newfangled system didn't work at the Apple store where I went. The guy with the credit card reader just stared at me, even after I asked him about product availability. Several staff members told me they were out of stock for a certain product, when in fact they were not out of stock (The guy behind me in line, who didn't talk to the floor staff, got the last one.. that sucked).

    And there were still fairly large lines. It wasn't that there were a ton of people there.. the transactions were slow because the cashiers had to explain the email service, then type in the email (if applicable), etc.
  • My head a splode! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rickla (641376) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @02:54PM (#14359727)
    It shouldn't bother me but it still irritates me when I read articles about apple "inventing" something else. This isn't even apple's fault, it's just the odd fanbase they have. I am not sure what's different here. You pay with a credit card and get no paper receipt. That's better? And wireless, how does that help the customer? For all I know my local walmart's card reader is wireless, who knows, who cares? Anyway in my state (and most others) it would be illegal to make a sale without a paper receipt with the return policy also give out.
  • Some tidbits... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by OSXCPA (805476) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @07:05PM (#14361245) Journal
    1. The Apple retail shop in Chicago uses this as a way to offer customers an 'opt out' of waiting in line, and you can buy anything, as long at its with a credit card.
    2. As a victim of identity theft, those tinfoil-hats who worry about wi-fi snooping - a far greater threat is the clerk at the super-discount tech store (cough) COMPUSA (cough) who simply takes the credit card receipt for your newly-purchased stack of blank CDs and pulls it from his/her drawer at clock-out time, then writes down the number and (if they are sharp) even the 'security code' from the back of the card. Then, they purchase $9,600 in video equipment and downloadable software from Avid and Sony, and even if Visa is right on them, the purchases are complete before the victim arrives home to find a "we detected unusual activity on your account..." message on his answering machine. Lose sleep over the 9 months it will take to get that mess straightened out. Oh, and guess what - the US attorneys office won't prosecute, not will the state or local cops. Even the store dropped the thing. I couldn't even trick the Visa people into telling me where some of the contraband was shipped to (they set up an alternate ship-to adress, thanks to a stupid Visa service operator, which is how Visa ultimately had to admit that *I* had not bought all that software and hardware and was just trying to dodge paying) so I could ask the cops to pay the thief a visit. It never occurred to them that a Mac/Linux/OpenBSD guy would have no use at all for Windows video-editing software. Damages under $10k are not worth going after, apparently.
    3. Apple does not compete in embedded systems like handheld credit-card processors, so it is no surprise their units don't run Mac OS. Yes, there are *nix/BSD strains that probably do, but I bet Apple just bought off-the-shelf system. Would it even make sense for them to develop a whole new line of products in an industry they don't even choose to compete in, just so they could use their own stuff? I think that would by way to 'not invented here' for them.

There are worse things in life than death. Have you ever spent an evening with an insurance salesman? -- Woody Allen

Working...