Apple’s Lightning Creator Shrinks Square’s Card Reader Nearly In Half

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Today Square unveiled its new card reader with a design that’s nearly half the size of the original. By ditching clunky stock components in the first Square Reader, the mobile payments pioneer has created a smoother card swiping experience and sleeker, tapered design the second time around.

How did Square achieve such drastically improved hardware in only one revision? Apple’s former head of accessories, who led the development of the Lightning connector, was in charge.

After working for eight years as the head of Apple’s accessories division, Jesse Dorogusker left in 2011 to join Square as VP of Hardware. It was under Dorogusker’s guidance that Apple released Lightning, arguably the most advanced I/O connector on the market. Wired has a great article on how Dorogusker designed Square’s new reader. His team created custom parts to achieve the design he wanted, including a proprietary chip to process swipes.

The device may be spartan in its aesthetic, but it isn’t without its cosmetic improvements. It’s 45% thinner than the old one, but, as mentioned earlier, its footprint is a bit wider. The card slot is more central to the device, instead of sitting just behind the front face, so that it’s more intuitive to locate the slot without looking. The unit lost its bulky “shoulders,” as Dorogusker puts it. And where the older Reader was quite obviously two pieces, a front and back, snapped together, the new one looks like one solid, unbroken piece of plastic. Only the closest inspection reveals the seam where the two pieces meet.

Sounds a lot like the attention to detail at Apple.

The new Square Reader will be available for purchase from retailers, including the Apple Store, early next year. You can order one online for free now. Square takes a 2.75% flat cut off all transactions in exchange for offering the service for free.

  • dcj001

    “Today Square unveiled its new card reader with a design that’s nearly twice as thin as the original.”

    It is not nearly twice as thin. It is nearly one half as thin.

  • Market_Mayhem

    Why doesn’t Apple just purchase Square and come out with its own line of card reader solutions. It seems like a missed opportunity for Apple to make a worthwhile acquisition.

  • rammo123

    “Today Square unveiled its new card reader with a design that’s nearly twice as thin as the original.”

    It is not nearly twice as thin. It is nearly one half as thin.

    Actually, it’s half as thick.

  • lowtolerance

    “Today Square unveiled its new card reader with a design that’s nearly twice as thin as the original.”

    It is not nearly twice as thin. It is nearly one half as thin.

    “Twice as thin” is a perfectly valid way to represent what is being discussed here. Such usage is frowned upon in English, but it’s very common in other languages and is understood universally.

    Think of this way:

    “Joe is thin, but Tim is thin thin.”

    It is understood from this that repetition of thin is a subtractive process rather than additive: no one would read this and think that Tim is less thin than Joe.

    “Joe is twice as thin as Tim” works just the same, only it quantifies just how much more thin(not less thin) Tim is.

  • Gixxerthou04

    I think this has turned into an English grammar lesson instead of the subject at hand. LOL!

About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath is a staff writer at Cult of Mac and co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by the likes of the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too.

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