Apple Stores’ New “EasyTheft” System Will Revolutionize Shopping All Over Again

Apple Stores’ New “EasyTheft” System Will Revolutionize Shopping All Over Again

Apple revolutionized retail shopping when it opened up its first brick and mortar store back in 2001, and it’s about to do it all over again — using an iOS app. The Cupertino company will reportedly issue a major update to its Apple Store app for iOS devices this Thursday that will change the way you buy Apple products forever.

According to a Boy Genius Report that cites a “trusted source,” Apple will launch a new Apple Store app for iOS on Thursday that will offer two major features: First, it will introduce online ordering with retail store collection. This is a service that has already been available at some San Francisco and New York Apple stores for over a week, but even more stores will be supporting the service later this week, it is claimed.

When you order an Apple product online, you can pick it up in-store after 12 minutes of making your order, providing it’s in stock. That gives the order enough time to make its way through Apple’s system, and the store enough time to prepare your item. All you have to do is go in and sign for it.

For items that aren’t in stock, you be given a pick-up date after your order is complete and you’ll be sent a Push Notification when it’s ready to be collected. Those that order online will, apparently, be given priority in Apple stores over those waiting to see a specialist, according to the report.

What’s more, orders made online can finally be returned to a retail store if necessary, and no longer have to be sent back by courier.

The second feature, however, is quite possibly the most exciting; the new app will allow you to self-checkout at Apple retail stores. “This is a huge deal and Apple is the first to be able to put it together,” the report notes. We all know how busy Apple Stores can get, and how long you can be waiting for a member of staff to purchase a product, that will no longer be the case.

When you find a product you’d like to purchase in the Apple Store, you can simply load up the new iOS app and select the option that allows you to buy a product in-store, then scan its barcode using your iPhone or iPod touch’s camera. You can then tap purchase, and the item will be charged to the credit card linked up to your Apple ID.

Once you’ve made your purchase on your device, you’re free to walk out of  the store, according to the report. However, it’s a little unclear how Apple will monitor this. The source of this information claims purchases will not be checked, but there are all sorts of obvious issues that will arise with this, and even the report finds it a little hard to believe.

Hilariously, 9to5Mac claims this new system is being referred to internally as “EasyTheft”, a gag at the expense of Apple’s EasyPay system. Let’s hope EasyTheft doesn’t turn out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

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  • Chris

    looks like I’ll not even have to pay for my new Macbook Pro! great!

  • Aj Tk427

    Guess they could do something like Costco where someone checks your receipt at exit.  I don’t believe that you’ll be able to just walk out of store.  Someone has to be checking, whether it’s as you leave or people on cameras that are locating you based on the fact that you’ve accessed the app or something.

  • RonBlatto

    Ever hang out at a mall long enough to walk in and out of an Apple store throughout the day?  You’ll find the same people wandering around who aren’t dressed as typical Apple employees.  Apple isn’t dumb and they’re not so broke that they can’t afford plain clothes security agents.  Also, I was at the Apple store in Pentagon City Mall the other day, the blue shirted Apple employee standing by the door greeting customers was a 6′ 4″ African American male weighing close to 300 lbs.  15 feet beyond him was a railing that leads to a 3 story drop.  I feel sorry for the riftraft who attempts to make a mad dash with a MBP past him who doesn’t have the momentum to slow themselves down before hitting that railing.

  • John Neumann

    In other news: Cupertino tech giant Apple is quietly releasing a new self-loading app called iGuilt that will place increasingly intrusive notifications and banners on your unpaid-for iDevice . . . 

  • GregsTechBlog

    If it emails or displays a receipt, you should just be required to show that on your way out. It would have the item, and date paid in big letters, making it easy for a checker to simply glance at what you have. That would be enough to deter theft. 

  • Chuepeng

    A new, boxed MBP is in the back room so still need an sales associate assist you. Duh.

  • Guest

    Scan on device. Pay. Devices pushes to central server. RFID tag on merchandise is disabled. Walk out freely.

  • Derek Poore

    This is why I usually order from the Apple online store rather than going in to my store to pick up something I need. Just too long of a wait! If the new EasyTheft service works, I’ll gladly use it. I don’t want to have to wait for delivery when I need an item that I could pick up in store — but don’t want to wait around for grandma to talk to an employee for 45 minutes!

  • harmo tend

    This will just be for accessories and such. All the good stuff will be the same process as it is now. Just no more waiting 20 minutes to buy a video cable or some such.

  • Admlostsailor

    That is actually illegal to do so.  Only club stores like costco and sam’s club have the authority to check your bags (It’s in the contract). But once you have bought and paid for your item it is your property and no store has the authority to make you display your personal affects.  It’d be like searching a woman’s purse every time she enters a store.  Without probable cause it cannot be done.

  • nthnm

    I don’t think this person was saying the Apple employee would check all your bags, but many stores (mainly grocery and many that aren’t club type stores such as Costco) check receipts as you leave. Laws may differ by country and possibly even state, but this is completely legal in Canada.

  • tiresius

      Earlier this week I went to a local Apple Store to purchase a wireless keyboard.  Since it was a weekend, the place hopping with lots of customers, people playing with products, and a class in session for new iPhone users, as well as the usual folks getting help from the Genius Bar, etc.  

       I was directed to the Accessory section (back left, in this instance) where I picked up the keyboard and quickly found a Sales Associate to scan the bar code on the box, swipe my credit card, and enter my email address (so I would be emailed my receipt).
       As I walked swiftly towards the exit, keyboard in hand (and not in a bad) I wondered how they knew mine was a legitimate purchase.  After all, I was now almost 100 feet, and lots of people, from the actual point of sale.   So even without the Self Checkout App, Easy Theft could be an issue. 

  • Gjrpa1

    And still no iPad Apple Store app???

  • djrobsd

    They didn’t put a sticker on your keyboard?  Everything I’ve bought from the store they always put a sticker on it so when I walk out the person monitoring the door can quickly see I’ve purchased it.  

  • djrobsd

    I’m sure they’ll have someone checking receipts as you walk out… Or, RFID tags and security alert bars when you walk out the door like clothing stores have.  

  • Plaidisplaid

    I think the title “Easy Theft” only shows the moral level of the writer.  Personally I look forward to being able to get in grab an accessory and get out.  the convince of a sales system like this makes so much sense.  

  • audiwoman

    Yes I agree with you on the moral level of the writer to even put that idea in someone’s head was thoughtless. I know I would want a staff member to check my receipt in the event my card was stolen and the thief is on his way out the door with my purchase, I mean think about this.

  • Spike Ennis

    An RFID tag is not a computer. it requires a magnetic field to “disable” it.  That is what people at Walmart do when they wave it over the scanner. 

    I would think its more like the store computer knows that an xxx unit was just bought and is expecting it to walk out the door.  Just a thought.  

    PS most RFID units are just a magnatized strip of metal.  No code number or such. 

    en

  • Spike Ennis

    Hey, I want an assistant so I can get my free Apple plastic bag when I purchase stuff.  LOL

  • Custom

    Knowing the human nature… I wish Apple have implemented a smart theft control cuz for sure Craiglist will have new arrival pretty soon!

  • henrieschnee

    You guys DO realize that this kind of crap kills jobs in retail? It comes down to the question, how much you value “convenience”, I guess. But think about it: Instead for Apple to pay a human to do the actual work, you have to “service yourself”, without compensation.
    I’m not a fan of this line of thinking.

    The 12 minute pick-up promise however is neat!

  • CharliK

    Nope.

    Apple has never used tagging for products. They aren’t likely to now. It would create bad PR Over why Apple set up this system if thy don’t trust customers.

    And given this is to free up staff, they aren’t likely to check every receipt a la best buy all the time. Just perhaps if the LP staff sees someone suspect

  • CharliK

    On the contrary. Losing sales costs jobs. And those $30 iPhone cases and such add up over time. It’s better to get the money from 5 iPhone cases that were self paid by the customer than to lose it because the customers didn’t want to wait for half an hour for a specialist to finish ringing up a computer etc

  • CharliK

    That is not exactly true. It is questionable to perhaps illegal to search a personal bag without cause. But if an LP member sees someone sticking something in their bag and walking out, that person can be stopped and there is probable cause to check their bag. 

    My sources tell me that the staff software does alert them when someone is doing a self pay so the person by the door can see that Mr Bell didn’t actually pay for that wireless trackpad he’s trying to walk out with and stop him with a little “Hi, let me ring that up for you” CS action. My sources also tell me that all stores will be having that person at the door all the time to also handle personal pickups so they can get those folks in and out and out of the way. 

  • Cowboy Ron

    They don’t have anyone checking receipts NOW!

  • Cowboy Ron

    I’ve never been asked to show a receipt or sticker.

  • Admlostsailor

    Absolutely.  here in the USA except for club-like stores (CostCo, Sams Club, BJ’s warehouse, etc) it is legal ONLY on a voluntary basis.  According to the UCC (uniform commercial code i think that’s the title).  A Store can ONLY stop you once you have fulfilled the 6 criteria for shoplifting:  And it must be ALL 6.  

    You must see the shoplifter approach your merchandise
    You must see the shoplifter select your merchandise
    You must see the shoplifter conceal or carry away or convert your merchandise
    You must maintain continuous observation the shoplifter
    You must see the shoplifter fail to pay for the merchandise
    You must approach the shoplifter outside of the store
    Otherwise, if an employee detains you it is (in California anyway) violation of Penal Code 236: False Imprisonment.  THe only reason I know this is because I refuse to show my receipt to any Loss Prevention stooges who stand by the door demanding to see my receipt.

  • brm7834

    You’re actually thinking of standard EAS devices. RFIDs are a specific, advanced type of EAS. And though Walmart now requires RFIDs on most of their products, they still use the standard magnetic devices you’re talking about on many products as well. They’re scanning those, not the RFIDs, which are a lot more than a strip of magnetized metal. That’s why they cost considerably more than the EAS devices you’re thinking of. Technically they actually are very small computers chips with just enough memory to store a few pieces of data (and yes, all RFIDs store data, otherwise it wouldn’t be an RFID. How could it be an ID without a code number?). And one of the advantages is that to disable them it takes more than just a magnetic field to disable it. You have to use a specialized device that can either deactivate the chip or editing the stored data

    You’re still right though, because I’m pretty sure Apple’s not doing that. There are “active” RFIDs that could change automatically change as the transaction happens because they’re fully self-powered, but they’re relatively expensive. The cheap passive RFIDs that are used to track individual items need to come within a certain distance of a reader to be altered, so it would require a lot of new and expensive infrastructure to station enough of the readers around the store. 

    But yeah, I actually had the same thought as you about checking for certain serial numbers to pass through, but I’m guessing they’re not. There are pretty good reasons that very few retailers are using RFIDs as their primary EAS device. For the most part, they’re using them for inventory tracking and waiting for more testing and researching on the shoplifting aspect (that includes Walmart)

About the author

Killian BellKillian Bell is a staff writer based in the U.K. He has an interest in all things tech and also covers Android over at CultofAndroid.com. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell.

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