There is significant hype around Apple’s upcoming September 9th product announcement. We’re expecting to hear about the new iPhones, which feature larger screens, as well as a watch.
But I think these two announcements are far less significant than a third one I’m expecting—a mobile payment system.
Of course I don’t know this for sure. I don’t have any secret sources, nor do I really follow Apple news that closely. But here’s what I see:
- The new iPhones appear to have NFC, which is now a mature technology that could serve as the foundation for a mobile wallet
- The TouchID stuff was always meant to do much more than unlock your phone. It was meant to serve as an authentication mechanism for proving you are who you say you are, which enables all manner of sensitive transactions—including mobile payments
- I think Apple’s moves overall admit of a certain momentum towards larger plays and the establishments of ecosystems. This is a lose “data”point, but it’s compelling to me nonetheless. Everything Apple has been doing for the last few years appears to have been calculated, and making a play at a mobile payment system (where so many others have failed in the past), seems extremely ripe at this moment.
- Like their previous moves (iPod, iPhone, AppleTV), the focus will be on user experience combined with simplicity for merchants. What comes to mind is an experience like Square Cash, i.e. exceedingly simple with a pleasant aftertaste of elegance.
I predict that six months from now the larger iPhone screens and the iWatch will be remembered as mere product milestones. The thing we’ll mark as most significant from this announcement, years from now, will be the launch of the mobile payment system.
- I’m sure it’s been said before by someone, but I don’t think Cook is merely living up to Jobs; I think he’s surpassing him. And I think after September 9th a lot more people will agree.
- Image from the-gma.com.