If you've been to an Apple Store recently, you're probably familiar with EasyPay -- Apple's not-always-so-easy handheld checkout system that enables employees to process transactions on the floor, sending a receipt to your inbox. Well the latest Apple Store iOS app eliminates the middleman -- those t-shirt and jeans-sporting retail employees -- letting you process the transaction on your own iPhone 4 or 4S, completely eliminating any need for human interaction. The tool is currently limited to accessories, so you won't be able to pick up an iPad, "scan" it with your phone, and walk out of the store. What's unclear is how Apple will prevent dishonest folks from shoplifting, since your iPhone lacks the ability to spit out those nifty white shoulder bags or blue purchase stickers.

We took the app for a spin, running up a $107.79 tab with an Airport Express. As expected, checking out is painfully simple -- after you launch the app from within a store, a popup window gives you the option for EasyPay. You then hover over the item's barcode using the iPhone's camera, and click through to complete your purchase using the default credit card from your iTunes account. We then walked right out the front door with our purchased Airport in hand. You'll still need to head to the registers to return an item, however, which we were able to do within minutes of making our purchase. Jump past the break to see how it works.

Apple Store iOS app in-store purchase hands-on

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Apple Store iOS app adds in-store purchasing, we go hands-on (video)