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Square unveils a new countertop register

The new Square Stand, fitted with an iPad, at a Blue Bottle coffee shop in San Francisco, California. The Square Stand is a white countertop unit that looks like a small iMac. It holds an iPad 2 or 3 and features a card reader that juts out on the bottom.
Credit: Heather Kelly/CNN

Heather Kelly

CNN

SAN FRANCISCO (CNN) -- Mobile payments company Square is supersizing its hardware.

On Tuesday, CEO Jack Dorsey unveiled the Square iPad stand, which the company hopes will replace traditional cash registers. The Square Stand is a white countertop unit that looks like a small iMac. It holds an iPad 2 or 3 and features a card reader that juts out on the bottom. It's the company's first piece of hardware since the original Square reader.

The $299 unit includes a USB hub that can connect to third-party tools that traditional retailers still rely on, such as a cash drawer, receipt printer and barcode scanner. Square believes the future of payments isn't swiping a card but merely giving a cashier your name, which is stored within the company's database and linked to a credit card. But there are a lot of companies that still take cash, and customers who want paper receipts.

Smaller mobile merchants such as food trucks, coffee shops and taxis have all flocked to the small Square reader, which plugs into an iPhone or iPad's headphone port. But Square wanted to create a product that could work for higher volume brick and mortar merchants, including those that still accept old-fashioned cash.

Square also thinks that having a more solid physical register is a good move for smaller merchants.

"It adds this sense of security, validation that you're a business," Dorsey said at an event here.

The Square Stand can be affixed to a table or drilled in through a hole in the counter for added security. It tilts and swivels around so customers can do their part, like adding a tip or signing their name. It connects to the iPad's dock connector instead of the audio jack, and the company said the credit card reader works every time a card is swiped.

Dorsey wouldn't say if the readers were coming to Square partner Starbucks anytime soon, though he did say that the two companies were working together. According to Dorsey, Square didn't want to disrupt Starbucks' counter setup until it knew it had a product that could beat the speed of the current system.

"What matters most is getting people through the line," Dorsey said.

The Square Stand seems built for speed. The stands will be seen in 13 businesses in 30 locations around the United States, starting Wednesday.

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