I went down to the local Apple store this evening with my son Lyle. The store is usually packed, and paying for something isn’t always easy.
That’s what Apple has developed EasyPay, a new system for scanning and paying for goods yourself using your own iPhone. You just scan the barcode and hit “Pay.” It’s so easy, Apple staffers joke it should be called “EasyTheft.” But it’s a pretty radical new way to go shopping.
Here’s a short video of us buying some goods, showing how quick and easy it is to use:
My son selected a case for the iPod touch. I got out my iPhone and we paid in six easy steps:
- Join the store’s Wi-Fi network. Go to Settings > Wi-Fi. Choose the “Apple Store” network
- Go back to your Home screen and launch the Apple Store app
- The EasyPay button pops up. Hit it
- Scan the barcode
- Hit Purchase
- Type in your iTunes password
That’s it! You’re done. The only hiccup we encountered was verifying the credit card Apple has on file. But this is a one-off process. The app didn’t ask for it again.
It’s pretty strange to go to a store and scan items yourself, as though you are an employee. No one paid us much attention. I tucked the case under my arm and we left the store. No one blinked an eye. Satisfied the system works, we went back in and did it again.
EasyPay works for most of the stuff on the store shelves — cases, cables, software, even higher-priced items like speakers. For major purchases like iPhones, iPods and computers, you still have to interact with a store employee.
It also won’t scan items that require Apple to record a serial number. We tried to buy a $99 Apple TV, but it wouldn’t process the purchase. Instead, the app paged a store employee to assist us. After a minute, the employee came over and scanned the box using his handheld scanner. He said he to scan the serial number for some reason.
I tried to get my son to pretend to scan some stuff and leave the store. I was curious to see how it deals with shoplifters. He refused.
So I asked a couple of employees what happens if you just pretend. They didn’t know. The system just went live on Tuesday, and no one has tried to leave without paying — yet.