The payments news from Apple seemed sparse compared to other flashier offerings at today’s Worldwide Developers Conference, but significant new payment platforms within the iOS were quietly announced.
Ben Brown of the bank consultancy First Annapolis tweeted:
WWDC payments news in a tweet: Apple Pay in/coming to 9 markets, coming to web for Safari users with authentication via phone’s Touch ID
— Ben Brown (@bebrown2) June 13, 2016
He followed that with the observation, “The fact that it all fits in a tweet is not a positive indicator of the adoption of Apple Pay, by the way!”
Perhaps, but the possibilities for mobile payments run deep from the event, which focused on iOS 10, to be released this fall. For one thing, Siri will be able to make payments using Square Cash, Venmo, and number26, sometimes called Europe’s Simple, with growing pains of its own.
It seems these payment methods will also work in iMessage. Using Siri to make payments and voice commerce generally has been a major theme of Payfinders CEO and payments guru Brian Roemmele, who sees it as the next frontier in payments. Roemmele liked what he saw today:
The ? I use is running 100% accurate today!
— Brian Roemmele (@BrianRoemmele) June 13, 2016
Apple Pay is also expanding to the desktop OS, macOS, formerly OS X, and several new geographies, including Switzerland, France, and Hong Kong. Apple Pay in the browser (including mobile) opens up significant e-commerce opportunities for the payment service, as more retailers can incorporate it. Authentication includes the mobile device, via Touch ID, and could mean transactions are tokenized, and therefore safer. (Add another “Buy” button to your list.)
Several other announcements point to major expansions of payment functionality for iOS. One is the addition of facial recognition technology, which opens up a new area of authentication for financial transactions. Touch ID has seen significant adoption by FIs, and facial recognition may do likewise.
Perhaps most fundamental is the opening of Siri, Messages, and Maps to developers, which means they will become platforms accommodating apps, including payment apps and additional payment functionality within other apps.
Deep-linking already means rides and dinner reservations can be made from within other apps, but Apple is now breaking apart the app structure of its phones on the same fundamental level as Google, which announced at I/O that “portions” of apps could be downloaded or accessed. Apple is implying the same — users will not be limited by what apps they have installed, but rather have access to services across wider platforms, which could mean buying products within Messages, or placing a deposit on an apartment through Maps, or a host of other features.
This is a major advance in Apple’s OS, and the payments implications — to say nothing of the many other features shown off during the keynote, including major updates to photo management and messaging — are profound.