Bigger screens and a heart-rate monitor might be the main topic of conversation for some when it comes to the new Apple iPhone 6 and Apple Watch, but the big news is Apple Pay.
Apple revealed the iPhone 6, the iPhone 6 Plus and the Apple Watch yesterday in a two-hour event at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts in Cupertino, California, USA.
In terms of usability and software, the introduction of Apple Pay (and the company’s adoption of NFC technology) was the biggest announcement with Apple confirming the new devices will facilitate its move into mobile payments.
Other mobile systems such as Google’s Android introduced NFC in late 2013 with Samsung devices rolling out the use of mobile payment in December last year. Apple, however, chose to wait longer until the systems for receiving payments were more widespread.
The payment system works by holding the phone up to an in-store NFC-ready card reader and pressing a finger on the TouchID button.
All details of the purchase are encrypted and the system stores payment information securely. Users can also take a picture of their own credit card and add it to the account. This is verified by the card’s bank before being accepted.
If an iPhone is lost, users can suspend all payments via the Find my iPhone service but this won’t cancel the cards themselves as the details are not actually stored on the device.
‘Apple doesn’t know what you bought, where you bought it, and how much you bought it for,’ said Apple’s senior vice president of internet software and services and reports Eddy Cue.
Apple has already signed agreements with major credit card providers American Express, MasterCard and Visa to ensure that Apple Pay can be used by practically every iPhone owner.
Apple Pay is set to launch in the US in October but there are no dates yet for when the technology will roll out in other regions. However, in areas such as the UK and Australia, where ‘tap-and-go’ or ‘contactless’ payments are already common, analysts expect the waiting time will be kept to a minimum.