Apple Watch Lacks the Tech Flexibility to Be a Big Hit
Apple Watch is and will continue to be a big hit for their loyal consumers, both in terms of sales and acclaim. But for payments, it's not what consumers are looking for now.
Apple Watch will bring Apple Pay to the wearables market, launching in April with partners including American Express and Wallaby Financial, though many of Apple Watch's early supporters are also partnering with less expensive wearable options.
But the age of Apple Watch as a driver of wearable and alternative payments is still far off.
Although more than half of younger shoppers are already willing to use wearables to make in-store payments, we are still firmly in the age of the smartphone.
Smartphone usage is growing at a phenomenal rate, due in part to cheaper models being readily available to populous markets in Asia and Africa. At this time wearable technology like the Apple Watch is seen as more of a luxury add-on, rather than technology which serves a specific purpose and utility.
I have no doubt that Apple will continue to sell many watches, but this will not kick-start an alternative payments revolution from cash and card. The U.S. is barely out of the grip of magnetic stripe and has a limited number of POS portals in retail stores that support Near Field Communication. How are consumers supposed to utilize the NFC feature if no retailers allow for payments in this fashion?
U.S. consumers require more options. A comprehensive and ubiquitous payments option that works over different smartphone models, over multiple continents, and which can be utilized in a greater variety of ways than existing payments platforms. This would be the ideal for the fast-moving, convenience-driven American market.
The U.S. is a big battleground for mobile payments, but the war will be fought on a global scale. Choice and freedom will be the ammunition for payment providers, as well as differentiating their offering from competitors.
Dan Wagner is CEO and Founder of Powa Technologies