With Ann Taylor On Board, Apple Really Does Seem To Have Locked Up Mobile In-Store Payment

When Lowe's, PacSun and Urban Outfitters added their names to the ever-growing list of retailers deploying handheld Apple units for in-store mobile checkout, we asked whether this meant Apple was locking up the in-store checkout space. When word came down this week that the 896-store Ann Taylor apparel chain is also deploying the Cupertino red-fruit-named devices, the answer is now clear: Yes.

Ann Taylor CIO Michael Sajor said Wednesday (Sept. 7) that the chain will deploy slowly, starting with about 50 to 70 stores this year—using about 400 Apple IPod Touches—and expanding nationally from there. Asked whether Apple had sewn up the market, Sajor said it had, but stressed that it wasn't anything Apple had done directly. "Apple didn't do a damn thing. It's the guys who made the sleds," he said, adding that his team is only aware of three or four sled makers for the mobile card-swipes and that they are all using Apple. Still, it's hard to imagine that Apple didn't have a thing or two to do with those sled makers all choosing its hardware. Either way, it's not likely that many chains will have Androids or BlackBerries handling their mobile apps. Score this one Apple red.