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Apple Pay will be groundbreaking...when it's mainstream, say analysts

Anh Nguyen | Sept. 12, 2014
It's easy, as consumers, to get excited about the announcement made by Apple yesterday, which unveiled the Apple Watch, NFC-enabled iPhones and Apple Pay. But for enterprises the announcement deserves greater scrutiny because it poses serious questions about how quickly and how much they should invest in these still niche areas of mobile payments and wearables.

It's easy, as consumers, to get excited about the announcement made by Apple yesterday, which unveiled the Apple Watch, NFC-enabled iPhones and Apple Pay. But for enterprises the announcement deserves greater scrutiny because it poses serious questions about how quickly and how much they should invest in these still niche areas of mobile payments and wearables.

The fact that Android has a significantly greater share of the smartphone market globally should also make enterprises pause for thought, despite the enthusiasm that has accompanies the Apple launch.

The gift of the mobile mind shift

The reaction from analyst house Forrester was overwhelmingly enthusiastic. The Apple announcement appeared to cement an idea Forrester has been championing this year - that businesses need to embrace the "mobile mind shift". This is the idea that customers and employees expect to be able to get what they want in their immediate context and moments of need.

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For example, Frank Gillett, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester, said: "The larger 4.7 and 5.5 inch screens create a much larger canvas for mobile app experiences, which will help accelerate the mobile mind shift already underway."

Meanwhile, Julie Ask, a fellow vice-president and principal analyst, enthused about the Apple Watch going hand in hand with larger phones. "Apple continues to push the envelope on creating a platform to deliver the best digital experiences to consumers in their mobile - and now micro - moments," she said.

"The Apple Watch is a perfect companion to larger phones, letting consumers be in the now in their mobile moments, but letting them leave the phone in their pocket or purse until they need it for the more complex interactions that apps support."

Further, JP Gownder, Forrester vice-president and principal analyst, who has focussed on wearable technology for both workforce enablement and customer-facing applications, said that the Watch was a sign of Apple "legitimising and creating" the mass market wearables category.

"Smartwatches shouldn't be an exercise in screen miniaturisation," he warned. "Instead, they should help users to interact with the physical world more effectively.".

"With NFC, Apple Pay, and health and fitness monitoring, the Apple Watch interfaces with retailers, healthcare providers, and the human body to create a value proposition that's different from simply pulling a phone out of one's pocket."

Caution over hype

However, Denée Carrington, a Forrester senior analyst, acknowledged that it is still early days for mobile payments, not least because Apple Pay will only be available in the US initially.

 

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