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Apple Watch and Apple Pay attract some non-Apple converts at CTIA show

Matt Hamblen | Sept. 10, 2014
Worries about security persist over Apple Pay among attendees at Super Mobility Week event.

Apple iWatch
Attendees at the Super Mobility Week show in Las Vegas were intrigued by the announcement of the Apple Watch. Credit: Apple

Announcements of the Apple Watch and Apple Pay on Tuesday caught the attention of hundreds of IT professionals at a keynote presentation during the CTIA's Super Mobility Week.

While Apple CEO Tim Cook was presenting new devices hundreds of miles away in Cupertino, California, CTIA officials decided to stream the Apple event onstage during a keynote at their event in Las Vegas. They then added commentary from several experts after Apple's event.

The audience paid rapt attention as Cook spoke, and clearly liked what they heard. Afterward, several IT professionals said they hope to buy an Apple Watch when the devices become available in early 2015, although some admitted they weren't big users of Mac products.

Even so, the Apple Pay system, enabled with near-field communication technology that Cook outlined, seemed more important than the smartwatches to many.

"The payment system Apple announced will be exciting and transformational," said Joe Basili, managing director of an industry trade group called Temia, as he left the darkened keynote hall. "Apple's taking the existing ecosystem they've built and pushing it out" to payments.

Basili said there's still a "big unknown" about how secure Apple Pay will be, especially after Apple had to defend its iCloud security after a recent nude celebrity photo incident where hackers obtained log-in credentials of movie stars.

James Martino, the CEO of Avotus, a wireless management provider, said he was concerned about how easy it might be for his children to someday use an Apple Watch to purchase a product that he hadn't expected them to buy. "I wonder about a kid using your account," he said.

Still, both Martino and Basili said they felt that in many ways, Apple could be trusted to be more secure than conventional credit card companies like Visa, MasterCard and American Express.

In the Apple demo that Cook showed, a woman buys something with Apple Pay via her iPhone without needing to show her credit card number or driver's license. "That alone sounds more secure," Basili said.

A number of people in the audience said they'd be willing to shell out $349 or more for an Apple Watch, but many wondered how long the battery life would be for both the watch and the paired iPhone.

"I'm not wildly Apple," Basili said, noting he doesn't use a Mac laptop, but he does own an iPhone and hopes to get an Apple Watch. He said he already uses a Garmin smart band for running and swimming and would like to see similar functions on Apple's watch.

 

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