So now that I’ve had a day or so to digest the recent announcement by Apple regarding “Apple Pay”, here are some of my thoughts:
- My first thought was: after coming late to the party, and having all this time to think about how they can add value, solve problems, and streamline m-commerce – this was the best they could come up with? Just … pay? Payment isn’t broken, and everyone
can easily pay today – no one is screaming out for new technology to pay.
- I was amused to see an article on CNBC which began: “The tech industry has been planning for years a world where shoppers use their phones for most shopping, and analysts believe Apple’s new payments system could finally make mass adoption a reality.”
Two problems with this:
- Consumers won’t be using iPhones for SHOPPING … they can only use them for PAYING. There’s a big difference.
- Are you kidding me with “mass adoption”? Apple Pay will only work with iPhone 6 – whose current market share is: 0% As a whole, iOS only represents 11.7% of worldwide smartphone sales (Q2-2014, according to IDC). Why would any merchant in their right
mind invest in a system that will only be able to serve a tiny minority of consumers?
- The real problems that need solving lie in other areas of the commercial value chain – that surround payment – not the payment itself. Mobile technology is ideal for streamlining such pre-payment events such as Target Marketing, Electronic Coupons/Vouchers,
and Virtual Shopping … and post-payment events like Loyalty Management. Apple ignored all of that, and created a solution for a problem that doesn’t exist.
- In order for mobile commerce to achieve mass adoption – whether it be for payment or other more valuable merchant/consumer interactions – solutions must be agnostic across the spectrum: Funding Source agnostic (you can use any credit/debit card or bank
account … even stored value); OS agnostic (something for iOS only will never achieve mass adoption); Trigger agnostic (you need more than just NFC for true omni-channel commerce); and Merchant agnostic (any retailer should be able to adopt the technology
without any infrastructure upgrades, using existing merchant account bank relationships).
And don’t even get me started on U.S. domestic-only vs. global focus… All in all, a real disappointment from Apple - who were once a truly revolutionary company.