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How the iPhone has changed the way we shop

Marco Tabini | Aug. 1, 2013
The iPhone can be a valuable ally in making shopping slightly less agonizing.

Thanks to the Apple Store app, I can now walk into a store and complete most minor purchases without having to interact with anyone. I simply place my order (something I can either do at home, or right at the store--where the app even allows me scan items using my iPhone's camera), grab the product, and leave minutes later.

In a sense, the Apple Store app is the ultimate marriage between tradition and technology: You get the convenience of online shopping and the convenience of a brick-and-mortar retail experience. Of course, Apple gains in the bargain as well, since you don't take up the valuable time of a store clerk who could otherwise be selling high-ticket items to a different customer.

A quiet revolution
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of how Apple's devices have affected the way I shop is that they have been able to do so using technology that has mostly been available to smartphone manufacturers for more than a decade.

While other vendors spent their time trying to convince the world that consumers needed broad support for near-field communication to reinvent commerce, the folks from Cupertino have quietly introduced profound changes to our shopping habits by taking what was tried and true, and making the most out of it.

This kind of ingenuity is precisely what makes me love Apple's products so much; I can only hope that more retailers will adopt technologies like Passbook, and take inspiration from what the company has done with the Apple Store app. And maybe, just maybe, I will hate shopping a little less.


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