Next time you buy an Apple product I’m guessing you might not even need to open your wallet. Instead you’ll just take out your iPhone and the Apple Store employee will read your payment information wirelessly using near field communication-based technology and — presto! — you’re the proud new owner of an iPad 2.
When it comes to mobile payments via smartphones I’m, as they say, all in.
Any reason not to stuff a bulky black wallet into my pants is a good thing. The fact that it reduces the chance that I might lose my Costco membership card or my beloved USA hockey membership is icing on the cake.
The latest reports have Apple introducing such a capability for both the iPhone and iPad mid-2011.
Companies such as American Express, Mastercard and even PayPal should be somewhat concerned; although the shift could potentially result in increased transactions if their systems are tied to the financial backend process. The iPhone is a highly personable experience, though. When’s the last time you’ve heard somewhat wax poetic about their Visa — I mean, aside from the fact that it’s sporting Pittsburgh Steelers logo and a god awful amount of black and yellow? How long will it take for Apple to strong-arm the industry and re-write the rules, and in the process cut itself a nice commission for each purchase? As I recently heard, if you control the metaphor for how we see the world, then you control the world.
We spend about $6.2 trillion every year. So if you think the iPad was a nice revenue Pop for AAPL, wait until they get a transactional piece of everyday Americana.
Invariably there will be backlash.
And the naysayers will talk about security vulnerabilities, lack of privacy, and the generally sad advancement of civilization. It may even be reminiscent of the switch from vinyl to CD. Remember that one? “I miss the warmth!” Ah, yes the purity of warped scratches (although, I admit, I do miss the art and the romance of albums).
In some ways it makes perverse sense that the Apple iPhone would act as your virtual wallet. After all, I’m guessing a fair number of us spend quite a bit of micro-change downloading apps (oh, Angry Birds…?), music and movies from iTunes. By extension then, products will become apps as well, and we will strike out at them using our iPhones like some sort of light saber. Latte Grande. $4.65. Zap. Wiffle ball and stick. $15.99. Zap. Terrible Towel. $3.99. Zap.
Will they’re at it, I’d love to see us leapfrog Europe and really go whole hog.
Why not, for example, have the ability to program the sensor code of a Prius into the iPhone so we can throw away our car keys too?
And, also, let’s do away with house keys!
Given that we can password protect and encrypt data on our smartphones, having it as the brains of our very existence is all fine by me. Mobile payment systems, I am ready — but are you?