Square Reader, the popular gadget that turns iPhone, iPad and Android smartphones into credit-card accepting devices, received a sleek reboot on Tuesday, with a slimmer form factor and no battery necessary.
Square first launched its reader in 2009, giving small businesses — from retail shops and contractors to a stand at a farmer’s market — a way to easily complete transactions with customers. But this is the first major redesign of its hardware and software since the launch, incorporating more custom parts for better performance and making it look more elegant.
It features a faster chip, new reader for swipe accuracy and enhanced audio plug. Because Square, which makes 2.5% off of every transaction, is focused on building a card reader that works with as many devices as possible, it plugs into the audio jack — a ubiquitous port for mobile devices — instead of ports specific to certain brands, such as Apple and its Lightning plug.
But the biggest update is that the reader is now powered by the phone into which it is plugged. This removes the need for a bulky battery and increases the reader’s lifetime. It’s also 45% thinner now, without the battery, so it fits better with the smaller form factor of slim smartphones like the iPhone 5S.
“We designed the new Square Reader for functionality,” a Square spokesperson told Mashable. “In an industry with historically uninspired design, Square is pushing its design forward to help businesses grow and feel good when they’re doing it.”
The man behind the redesign — Jesse Dorogusker, the company’s VP of hardware — is an Apple veteran, who spent eight years in the Cupertino, Calif.-based accessories division. Consequently, the new Square Reader echoes Apple’s simple design approach. Square also redesigned its website, squareup.com, to emphasize how it uses design.
Users can receive the new (free) updated reader in the mail when they sign up for Square and access the accompanying app.
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