Just the other day Apple announced the iPhone 6 and the
Apple Watch. I must admit to a personal
interest in the hardware, coolness factor and the sleekness of the
presentation. While I would love to
delve into that area, the Internet is already saturated with positive, negative
and humorous feedback. I do however feel that one area hasn’t been
covered, at least to the depth I feel it deserves. I think the implications these new products
raise in the world of on-line commerce are very interesting.
Near Field Communication or NFC has been around for some
time. Even my discount Nexus 7 tablet
has the capability and it’s quite possible that the device you are reading this
article on has the capability. But have
you ever used it? In one move, Apple has
given credibility to payment from the device.
Now at first glance this looks like a geeky way to achieve the same
thing we can do, at lest in Canada with most credit cards by just hovering them
over reader. But this is not just about
convenience for the customer and reduced friction for the merchant. I see the value in security, for
everyone. The technology underlying the
hardware makes it possible for the transaction to occur not with the actual
credit card number but rather with a number generated specifically for the
transaction. This could be very powerful
for consumer confidence but vital for merchants who have been experiencing increased
costs to protect consumer privacy. It’s
not surprising to me the name brand companies Apple has been able to partner
with. This will absolutely change the
layout of our wallets over the next few years.
Beyond the NFC tie to in-person payments my mind also wonders
to the potential of using passbook-stored cards to directly make payments
on-line. This could very powerful and
similarly not just as a friction reducer at checkout but also in terms of
security. It will be interesting to see
the standards that emerge in this area and how Google and Microsoft respond to
what I anticipate to be some significant demand from customers.
Beyond the payment, the increased size and performance of
the phone device will also bring changes.
I believe the size growth is substantial enough to force changes to the
mobile experiences merchants deliver to devices. Responsive sites typically create stops for
mobile devices, tablets then desktop/laptop and there has been some movement
around expanding the mobile stop mainly due to the larger Samsung devices, now
with the flagship mobile device taking on a new size I would expect to see not
only an evolution of the mobile screen size but the amount, richness and format
of content that is displayed to the mobile device.
Now, I can’t close out this blog without mentioning the
Apple Watch. I’ve looked at the
documentation and pictures and I’m sure we’ll see lots of people wearing it in
the coming months, but honestly I’ve had trouble identifying how it will change
our behaviors over the next few years.
During the announcement I thought how great it would be as a tie to
beacons, both for tracking and sending notifications but when I heard you
needed to be carrying your phone for it to work the value declined. I can already track your phone or send
notifications there. Maybe the value
will be in tracking your pulse, and using analytics to determine what products
you are more likely to purchase. Also, watch
choice is very personal and is a great indicator of your brain dominance, for
example a more analytical person has a different watch than a more
interpersonal person. Maybe this
information can augment the analytical mix in predicting preferences but right
now that does seem like a bit of a stretch.
Maybe you have thoughts as to how the Apple Watch will affect commerce
over the next few years?