Another great take on Apple’s entry into mobile payments from Ben Thompson, who believes the wearable device will be the centerpiece in making this happen:
That’s where Apple’s ability to move units simply because they are Apple becomes something that is an incredible weapon: suppose 10% of iPhone customers are willing to buy a wearable with some cool fitness functionality mainly because it’s built by Apple. Boom – suddenly there are 80 million wearables with payment functionality out in the wild. Moreover, the customers sporting said wearable are likely to be both vocal about their desire to use said payments, and high spenders to boot. That’s a very good way to spur merchants to install what will likely be a free payment device, available at your local Apple Store.
He also argues that having this functionality baked into a watch or other wearable makes payments a very different proposition than having it done through the phone:
Moreover, I’d bet the difference between using a wearable for payment and using your phone will be greater than most people expect. I have no particular evidence for this outside of my own experience with keyless ignition systems in cars; the first time we got it, I thought it was a tremendous waste of money (it was part of a package); since then, I can not imagine buying a car without it. Saving a bit of hassle and a few seconds on a daily basis really adds up; it’s the type of subtle experience improvement that is Apple’s biggest differentiation.
A mobile scan via a watch that’s always at-the-ready and alleviates the friction associated with pulling out of a phone, opening the proper app etc.? Sign me up.