I had high hopes that the iPhone 5 would come equipped with NFC technology, since the market was adrift with rumors, clues and the usual ‘patent’ applications that hinted at it. Sadly, I was disappointed. However, I don’t think my disappointment will last too long- probably only until iPhone 6 is next launched, and perhaps even before that.
I had recently upgraded my iPhone to iOS6. Obviously, the new ‘feature’ that I need spend some time getting used to, is the new Passbook. This for me, is the smoking gun that Apple plans its world domination of mobile commerce- the same way they pretty much destroyed my CD collection (which is somewhere in storage gathering dust). I am of course referring to the fact that I no longer place a CD into the player to listen to my Elvis songs.Instead, I simply plug one of my ‘i’ devices into one of my speakers and hit play. Truth is, I am not even sure I have a CD player, other than the one under my TV, which I still watch my movies from (which sits next to my Apple TV, of course).
So what is Passbook all about? Well from what I can tell, it’s a nice ‘place’ to store things like boarding cards, store cards and coupons. That to me is essentially a mobile wallet. Clearly, Apple is now witnessing what a lot of mobile players have seen for a while- that Mobile Commerce is here and people are using their phones to pay for goods and services. Personally, I like the idea of having all these ‘pieces of paper or plastic’ in an electronic form and stored in one secure place. My iPhone is fine for me.
While no real details are available as to which partners or merchants Apple will bring into this, for example,airlines, stores, etc, it is clear that Apple is looking at taking a large slice of the mCommerce pie. Obviously, they will have to tread carefully. If they end up charging too high a transaction fee to consumers like myself, or their partners, then I think their world domination plan for Mobile Commerce will come to a quick demise. If they are sensible, then perhaps they could launch a useful service, pretty much the way they did with digital music. Close loop systems of course typically don’t make it past the ‘good idea’ stage. So Apple will need to play into the existing ecosystem and payment systems for this to work.
Well let’s see, Apple typically likes to do things their way; but consumers ultimately want value. And their mentality is such that “if we don’t get it, we move on”. Brand loyalty only goes so far if you bite the hand that feeds you!