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Wednesday, December 01, 2010, 08:55 pm PT (11:55 pm ET)

Old Navy piloting Apple's iOS EasyPay retail software

Apple has launched a pilot of its EasyPay custom mobile retail software in a trial with Gap subsidiary Old Navy, opening a new market for the iPod touch in handheld payment transactions. [Update: This third-party report is erroneous, see here.]

Apple began using EasyPay mobile retail terminals in its own stores back in 2005, originally using Windows CE devices running off the shelf Point Of Sale software. The program was deemed a success, even as employees characterized the devices as "are huge old ugly pieces of junk" that were frustrating to use.

Last year however, the company transitioned its retail staff to more reliable and easier to use iPod touch units, fit into a sled that provided a bar code scanner and credit card reader and running a custom iOS app.

This holiday season, Apple is working with the Gap to roll out the same units in its Old Navy apparel stores, according to a report. The site said a Gap spokesperson confirmed that it "was piloting Apple's iPod-based POS system at a few of our Old Navy stores."

Apple's iOS-based EasyPay package is reportedly being branded "ZipCheck," and is designed to print receipts wirelessly to retail store printers at fixed locations in the store, or to belt-mounted mini printers that retail employees can wear.

Apple's use of EasyPay-equipped retail staff has enabled the company to handle large volumes of customers in its retail outlets efficiently and flexibly without long lines queuing up behind fixed registers. If the handheld devices take off for other retailers, it has the potential to change how retail stores are laid out and staffed and improve how well stores can manage spikes in demand related to holidays and other special events.