The launch of Apple Watch will have a big impact on three specific areas, but will cause the biggest waves within the mobile payment sector.
1) Smartwatches as a category
Apple is well known for being late to the party, but once it arrives it usually turns up the music. Since rumours about the watch started, many manufacturers and developers have joined in, and as a result app producers are now getting a lot of interest from their clients around smartwatches. Without a doubt, we will now see increased manufacturing and sales of smartwatches of all kinds.
2) Health and wellness
By the time you read this, there will be 162,613 articles detailing every possible health and wellness use for the watch. I am personally looking forward to seeing how my heart rate changes as I speak to my boss. While health tracking is exciting, for me it’s not the biggest news.
For me, the most interesting feature is the link with Apple Pay. Apple Pay has already shown great traction and Apple Watch promises to make payments even more seamless. All you need to do is hold your arm near the payment terminal.
That simplicity is the key to success - the quicker I can be in and out of the store the better. This improved shopping experience could lead to shorter queues and higher conversion rates for stores, which is obviously crucial for retailers. Whether you follow the lean start-up approach or design-led philosophies, today’s wisdom espouses that successful products and services are those that best simplify the user experience.
It is this simplicity that should concern other mobile payment companies, given the choice between raising my arm and scanning a QR code. Paying with Apple Watch will win hands down (or is that hands up?).
Users paying with Apple Watch will not be required to validate the transaction on their phones using the fingerprint reader.
That brings Apple Pay to everyone who has an iPhone 5 or newer and thus greatly increases the number of potential users. With this enlarged group and the over 700,000 stores that accept Apple Pay in the US alone, I am expecting usage to be high.
The simplicity certainly does raise some security questions though. If it really is that easy, surely it can’t be secure? Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice-president of Internet Software and Services, addressed these security concerns in a recent interview and explained that the watch actually knows who’s wearing it, and will only authorise the payment if it’s you.
Further, for the more security-conscious among us, you can actually set the watch to ask for a password for each transaction.
Will I buy an Apple Watch? My wife has already threatened divorce for just talking about buying one (apparently I already spend too long on my phone). So, if I can find a jeweller that has Apple Pay enabled, I can use my shiny new Apple Watch to buy an even shinier pair of earrings to save my marriage.
- Jonathan Roomer, executive advisor at KPMG’s high growth technology group