These are some personal observations on Apple Pay, after an exciting week of reading announcements from Apple and reactions from bloggers. (If you want a Glenbrook business view on the announcement, read Wednesday’s post by my partner George Peabody.)
For several years we’ve been talking, at Glenbrook, about how mobile payments take a back seat, in terms of importance, to mobile commerce – how it is the “tail that wags the dog.” We’ve been particularly focused on what enables merchants to “sell more”, whether by offering coupons, or loyalty programs, or special-treatment programs (my favorite!). And it is clear, when you look at players like Google, with Google Wallet, or Softcard (previously Isis) or CurrentC (the mobile wallet of MCX) that mobile commerce is the primary driver.
But the Apple Pay announcements made me realize that this is still thinking too small. Apple Pay, particularly with Apple Watch, is going to simply be part of how I live my life – convenient, always there, and deeply integrated into other Apple apps, devices, and experiences.
Today, there are three companies that I think of as central to my life: Google (with search, mail, calendar, maps, and increasingly Docs, Drive, and Hangout); Apple (with Mac, iPhone, FaceTime, iTunes, iTV) and Amazon (with Prime and Kindle). Who’s not there? My banks and my mobile carrier. I could switch out any of these much more easily than I could the “big three”. Other frequently-used services (Dropbox, 1Password, PayPal, Facebook) are, somehow, less integrated (less “intimate”, to use Tim Cook’s phrase) to my life – I could imagine any of those being acquired at some point by one of the “big three”.
Will I continue to use all three – or will they evolve to create complete ecosystems, and will we all just choose one? I don’t know! I’ve already been torn – I use Google Maps on my iPhone, rather than Apple Maps, even though Apple Maps is better integrated into various phone activities. But I do know that I will use Apple Pay, and that it will make Apple even more central to my life.
This Payments Views post was written by Glenbrook’s Carol Coye Benson.