I can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve blogged personally. I am working on some new stuff… and this blog plays a key role. Stay tuned.
In the meantime, my lovely wife forwarded this article, Lessons from Apple Wallet Failure… and we both thought my response to her would make a too good a post to miss.
The author, Sudeep Kanjilal, appears to have a really deep knowledge of Apple Pay. Moreso than I.
I agree ApplePay seem to be less than it could be… technically. But, realistically, Apple is trying to change some things that are really hard to change:
- established commercial patterns for buying and selling goods,
- established user behavior for how payments are presented, trusted, and used, and
- the underlying payment technology both on the mobile device and the point of sale (where the point of sale could be either online or offline)
On top of that, these changes come to an area of technology that’s very conservative (money).
I’m someone who watches Apple and it’s relation to people’s behavior from a non-technical perspective. From that perspective, it’s not even close to a failure.
Superior product is important but it’s the change in business model that makes it impossible for incumbents to successfully compete. https://t.co/kB5O96Onso
— John R. Kirk (@JohnKirk) January 16, 2017
It’s curious that Apple Wallet / Pay is called a failure, but only the US perspective is share in the article. In Australia, the banks petitioned the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to allow them to collectively bargain against Apple. They know ApplePay is in demand by the market, and they’re at risk (because of the share of interchange Apple will want). Why would things go smoothly when there’s blood in the water? Look at the power shift from carrier to Apple with regards to mobile phones… same will happen with mobile money/wallet, that today, banks own. That’s got to be scary.
There are also lots of point of sale infrastructure internationally that simply doesn’t exist in the US. This infrastructure is simply waiting for a wallet like Apple’s for people to start to experience “the dream”. I find the objections that there aren’t enough points of sale that accept Apple Pay to be myopic. You know there’s more to the story than that when retailers are purposely blocking ApplePay on their points of sale.I find the objections that there aren't enough points of sale that accept Apple Pay to be myopic Click To Tweet
I’d also point out the integration of ApplePay into online shopping carts just as Amazon’s one-click payment patent expires. ApplePay is Amazon one-click payment for the entire web… and with TouchID on the Mac it’s freaking amazing. Sure, the new Mac is expensive, and only few people have it… but think three years from now when it’s standard and popular.ApplePay brings Amazon's 1-Click shopping experience to every shopping cart on the web Click To Tweet
Other key observations:
- Apple Watch was a popular gift over the holidays. I know they’re shifting the product positioning to health/fitness, but ApplePay on the Watch is amazing. I’ve been using it since the first day the product was available, and I’m still amazed at how it works.
- Apple Pay integration with iMessage is probably coming at WWDC in June. Just a few months from now.
- Apple Pay will integrate with Siri, I’d guess sooner rather than later.
Sure, it’s going slow. Slower than I’d like, I’m sure slower than Apple would like. But, it’s as inevitable as the iPhone-in-retrospect.
Anecdotes are not data
Even so, I’m still going to share a personal story and how absolutely beautiful Apple Pay was for me evening at bedtime.
You see, I have two small kids. Life is hectic, noisy, and chaotic. We got a new mattress for my toddler from Casper (that link get’s you a $50 discount should you care). In the package was a piece of paper that had a number for text message support.
It turns out, I forgot to order a wet-protector for the mattress. To preserve warranty and all that, I prefer to buy the protector from the mattress company. So, we’re in the hectic/exciting unboxing the mattress and setting it up with Batman sheets. We’ve been telling my son about getting the bed for weeks (you get the bed quickly but not the bed frame and other furniture we bought so we’d been prepping him so he’d be excited to sleep in his bed, not ours). The place is a mess. We actually had friends over, unboxed materials all over, and two kids who are wired and ready to go anywhere but to bed.
In this chaos, I text support – “hey, do you sell a mattress protector, I must have missed it when I bought my mattress?”. A back and forth or two later, Casper texts me the link to the protector. I open the link, select my mattress size, hit buy, touch my thumb to authorize, and BAM!!! The protector is on the way.
In the middle of that chaos, I was able to order a product right from my phone in a few seconds. I honestly just want to buy more stuff that way it was such an incredible experience.
Something that good is inevitable. The best things the banks and credit cards can do is embrace and extend… figure out their place in this new world and move to own it. If they don’t someone else will.
One more thing
Sudeep clearly knows a lot about ApplePay and payments. I learned a lot reading his article, and it’s interesting to see his comments on how well Apple has designed the underlying platform. If you haven’t read his article yet, you should.