A recent post on Launch’s blog pointed out a very likely possibility for Apple’s next product: an expanded iPay system to replace Google’s stagnant Wallet effort.
Google Wallet was a great idea when it was first introduced. I mean, check out one of its promo videos:
There were at least three people in that video that started dancing. And why wouldn’t they? The concept of Google Wallet is really great.
The product works by securely storing your credit card information on your phone. Then, you can use your phone to instantly pay for items at participating vendors. Google Offers automatically syncs with your transactions, and since many major stores already have the readers at checkout (Google Wallet uses Pay Pass readers, which have already been popularized by MasterCard and Visa), checking out becomes a one-second process instead of a two-minute shuffle for your wallet.
It Sounds Nice, But…
The product is over a year old and has yet to make any waves since its release. The biggest issue with Google Wallet is that it is limited to one carrier and smartphone line: Sprint and Nexus, respectively. The Business Insider reports that Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile all have their own plans for a mobile payment service, which put Google Wallet in an extreme disadvantage: fewer carriers and cell phone models means a significantly reduced pool of users. This, of course, turned Google Wallet into a “hey, remember that one thing a long time ago?” type of product.
Therein lies Apple’s big chance.
Apple is a bit of an exclusive club, with countless users that faithfully follow the company’s new releases and wait in huge lines for their next big product. So, let’s say Apple decides to create their own mobile payment system. They already have iPay, which is exclusive to the app store. But, if the company decides to bring their service into brick-and-mortar buildings, then Apple stands in a unique position to market their product in a way Google couldn’t. After all, iPhone sales have helped AT&T tremendously, and the company could stand to benefit even more by forming some sort of mega-mobile-payment service on multiple devices with Apple.
As Launch’s blog points out, Apple’s potential is tremendous.
Start doing the math and it gets scary: Apple would have massive margin, and vendors who didn’t accept iPhone payments would be at a massive disadvantage the same way folks who didn’t take credit cards were in the 70s and 80s.
What do you think? Would Apple’s version of Google Wallet see more success?