Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Turning Every iPhone Into a Cash Register?

The next project of Twitter's co-founder:
Jack Dorsey, who basically built Twitter from the ground up in its initial incarnation, isn’t on board with the social media site anymore, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been keeping busy. Recent evidence suggests that he’s responsible for a new iPhone payment system that could revolutionize the way we buy stuff...

The system definitely has lots of promise. It could mean that anyone with an iPhone could accept credit card payments quickly and easily, without a lot of expensive intermediary steps. It may not be the social media wildfire that Twitter was, but it could generate the same kind of excitement in the retail community, especially among small business communities. Theoretically, even people selling services and goods via Craigslist or Kijiji could accept credit card transactions using Squirrel/Square.

No information yet on when the software/hardware combo will be available for wide release, but the alpha testing was reported as being underway in August.
To get an idea of how big this could be, it could theoretically turn anyone who has an iPhone or iPod Touch into a completely scalable point-of-sale operation. If you've purchased anything from an Apple Store recently, you know exactly what I mean. Nearly all the staff carry a portable device that they can use to sell you anything from a set of headphones to a dozen of Macintosh computer systems. As long as you're paying by credit card, virtually anyone in the store can sell you any product in the store from any location in the store.

Steve Jobs is already working to duplicate this process in Disney Stores. If this iPhone payment system takes off (which I expect it will), soon you or anyone with an iPhone will be able to do the same for your business anywhere you happen to be. What's particularly brilliant about this is that the iPhone is already just about everywhere (in the US anyway).

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