Following nationwide POS outage, Apple Stores switch to old-school pen and paper

Apple event 201203 (iPad 3 introduction, Apple Store video, boy and girl interacting with iPhone 001)

As of yesterday, Apple’s internal retail system which runs Apple Stores in the United States has been experiencing nationwide outage which is threatening to hurt the company’s retail revenue as the downtime continues to slow down the sales process and affect both walk-in purchases and in-store pickups of online orders.

In fact, Apple has now switched to a pen and paper system, in some instances replacing its custom-made EasyPay self-checkout software/hardware combo with old-fashioned credit card machines.

The full details are right past the fold..

According to iDB tipsters and reports on Twitter, the issue appeared widespread as of Thursday evening and affecting a lot of shoppers. The worst part of the computer outage is that it affects Apple’s Personal Pickup services.

Matthew Panzarino, writing for TechCrunch, says that the Apple Store app seemed unaffected as of this morning:

At this time it appears as if the self-service EasyPay functions of the company’s Apple Store app, which allows customers to scan a barcode on an item and pay for it, are still up and running. Apple limits that to certain items and accessories, and it doesn’t work for big-ticket items like the iPad.

MacRumors chimes in, writing one of their affected readers reported receiving a call from his Apple retail store “notifying him that systems are back up and running,” though other posters insist that the issues persists across most U.S. Apple Stores.

This couldn’t have come at a worst time, with two weeks until the holiday season.

Due to tight availability, walk-in purchases of the iPad mini with Retina display are virtually non-existent as the company focuses on online orders for in-store pickup. As Personal Pickup depends on Apple’s EasyPay/RetailMe apps, people have been unable to collect their ordered Retina iPad minis in stores.

RetailMe and EasyPay run on iPod touches and iPads that act as mobile checkout terminals, and are outfitted with battery cases and card readers.

Have you been to an Apple Store this week?

If you’re affected by the Apple retail system woes, we’d like to hear about your experience down in the comments, especially how Apple is tackling this issue.

Image top of post courtesy of Crystal Hutchinson.