I was shopping in Portland, Oregon yesterday and observed a very interesting combination of handheld computers, iPhones and PDAs at work. As I was shopping in the Apple store at Pioneer Place, I noticed that the Apple sales people were all carrying Symbol/Motorola MC50 handheld computers with wireless support, credit card swipers and bar code scanners all running on Windows Mobile 5.0 operating systems. Do you see the irony in this? The Apple sales people are selling smartphones (iPhones) and PDAs (iTouch) using the Apple operating system, but all of their sales people use Windows Mobile operating systems for their business applications. This is just not right.
The way the Apple sales people were using the MC50s handhelds was very cool. They could swipe debit and credit cards anywhere in the store, give you the product and email your receipt to you. That is very cool! No long lines at the cash register, the sales people can take care of all credit card and debit card purchases anywhere in the store. Now if only they could figure out a way to accomplish that using their own Apple PDAs.