Ahead of the launch of the new iPhone tomorrow, and perhaps an iWatch if rumors are true, speculation is hotting up about what Apple will wow us with this year. Although some information has apparently leaked from the Apple camp as usual there is no way to confirm what is true, history has taught us that there will be a lot of false information out there.
Eden Zoller, Principal Analyst, Consumer commented “It makes total sense for Apple to launch a payments service with the release of the iPhone 6, a move that will have a positive but also disruptive effect on the mobile payments market, particularly for mobile operators. Apple has been putting the pieces in place for a fully-fledged m-payments service for some time: Passbook, Touch ID biometrics, the iBeacon feature in iOS 7, the EasyPay feature in the Apple App Store application. It also has 800 million iTunes accounts on file, which is a huge base to leverage for m-payments and is potentially a significant revenue opportunity for Apple. It would also be logical for Apple to bring NFC into the m-payments equation. If Apple is forming alliances with major card schemes and riding on contactless rails then embracing NFC is a pragmatic move. We would expect Apple to prove highly effective at marketing NFC to consumers, creating awareness and excitement around NFC capabilities in a way others have so far failed to do. This is turn could help ignite merchant interest in NFC, that so far has remained cool due to lack of consumer uptake.”
Marco Veremis, CEO and founder of Upstream, commented “Aggressive anticipation has surrounded the launch of the new iPhone, which we expect to be unveiled by Apple on September 9th. Rumours suggest the phone will boast a bigger screen and an NFC chip, and there is even the possibility of a landmark piece of wearable tech – the iWatch – being launched too. We can safely pre-empt that the new iPhone will do well in the west, a market which provides low-hanging fruit for Apple.
What’s particularly interesting is the expected inclusion of the NFC chip in the new iPhone. This, along with Apple’s recent partnerships with Visa, MasterCard and AmEx, points to Apple making a major move within the payments arena, by creating a new mobile payments platform.
Apple is of course in an excellent position to launch its own mobile wallet, thanks to having more than 800 million credit cards on file from iTunes. The Apple mobile payments platform would allow users to use their iPhone to pay for items in-store, without having to use cash or card. If Apple succeeds in driving mass conversion to mobile payments, it will be a significant achievement, and one which will alter the western retail landscape tremendously.
The NFC feature may have its utility muted within the emerging markets however, where the mobile payments infrastructure is very different. With far fewer consumers owning a debit/credit card, or even having access a bank account, Apple will struggle to have the same influence on mobile retail payments. Partnering instead with native mobile operators in order to spur changes to payments methods would be one way around this, which circumvents the need for cards to make purchases.”