As noted earlier this week. I believe that if Apple hops into the mobile payments discussion, they instantly become THE player due to the shear volume of iTunes accounts on file today (according to Cook, that’s over 800 million and growing). With the way those accounts work today, with stored value and payment methods, you would immediately have hundreds of millions of instant “wallet” users likely able to “pay with their iTunes account,” similar to what Amazon has done with “Pay with your Amazon Account,” which I have used on a few occasions on GoGo equipped flights.
Apple has played its cards perfectly on this–sitting on the sidelines during the “bleeding edge” adopters stage was and remains genius. They did the same thing with smartphones and MP3 players. They weren’t necessarily first, but saw what others were doing, evaluated the situation, diagnosed the problem and came to market with crown jewels in each category. The theoretical iWallet could be the next big thing for them since they do still own a sizeable share of the mobile market today from a handset standpoint.
One major takeaway from this week was the announcement around TouchID being open to third party apps. As I opined last fall, this technology is going to bring biometrics quickly into the mobile banking arena. So that is the one really exciting piece of news that was announced this week. Unfortunately we’ll have to continue to wait and ponder what the mobile payments landscape will look like once Apple jumps into the fray a little while longer.