Lowe’s home improvement stores, in an effort to keep up with its largest rival Home Depot, will be deploying 42,000 iPhones to its employees, reports Bloomberg. The devices will be used to help answer customer’s questions as well as ring out purchases. This is a very similar system to the one that Apple uses in its Retail Stores, although the EasPay devices that it uses are based on iPod touch hardware.

The devices will be rolled out to the tune of 25 phones per store and is being introduced in conjunction with an online app for Lowes customers called MyLowe’s that will allow them to view documentation like manuals, warranties and paint formulas. If these devices are anything like the ones in Apple Stores, they will be outfitted with a hardware package that includes an extended battery and a credit card processing slot.

The iPhones will also be used to replace the scanner guns that the stores are using to look up product information and check inventory. They will keep their calling, email and texting features as well.

Home depot spent $60 million on portable devices from Motorola last year and it looks like Lowe’s was feeling tech envy. It will also spend a record amount of money this year replacing 72,000 computer monitors with flat screens and increase data pipelines to over 1,700 stores. The devices are being tested in a Mooresville, North Carolina Lowe’s.

2011 01 07 16.04 520x390 Lowes rolling out 42,000 iPhones to use in payment systems similar to Apple Stores

The Apple Store employees use the EasyPay devices to ring out customers and check on inventory as well as to email receipts to customers. These in-store units are handled by a select number of employees, as seems will be the case with the Lowe’s units. Other stores, like Old Navy, have begun using the Apple version of the system themselves already.