iPhone 6 rumors were laid to rest today when an Apple launch event unveiled the new ApplePay system, putting PayPal on notice that a new competitor has entered the room to vie for supremacy in the mobile payment market. Apple CEO Tim Cook made the announcement from the launch extravaganza in Cupertino, California, touting Apple’s newest edition of their popular smartphone as the biggest breakthrough that the company has ever introduced to their line of iPhones. Company officials stressed the security of their new e-payment system, acknowledging the importance of maintaining their customers’ privacy. Cook’s promise to roll out the product at U.S. retailers in Oct. 2014 reassures customers that Apple still has what it takes to bring innovative products to the market that fire public imagination and keep the company competitive with Android and other mobile commerce providers, such as PayPal.
Apple’s chief of marketing, Philip Schiller, kept the expectant crowd gathered at the Flint Performing Arts Center in Cupertino in suspense, keying on the anticipation of the expected new product announcements to fuel excitement. When the moment of truth arrived, the iPhone 6 made its debut, showing off its aluminum and curved glass design. As rumored prior to the launch, the smartphone has a larger screen and comes in different sizes depending on which model the customer selects. The display is packed with pixels like no phone before it, Schiller revealed, delivering a dazzling visual experience. Prices are expected to range from $199 to $499 when Apple launches the product in stores next month.
Amidst concerns in some corners that Apple was losing its innovative edge, Cook brought not only one, but two, new smartphone models and an Apple watch to the table along with the long-rumored mobile payment tool, which the company has dubbed ApplePay. The system gives iPhone 6 users purchasing power through their mobile phones. He characterized the traditional process of payment at retailers around the country as archaic and outdated, not to mention rife with potential security concerns. He assured Apple’s customers that the use of near-field communications technology (NFC) rather than magnetic strips, which are susceptible to privacy abuse, brings a new level of security to the process of electronic payments. The ApplePay system will be tied to the customer’s preferred forms of payment and will not store sensitive information such as credit card numbers, PINs or security codes, relying instead on touch ID, according to Apple Insider. Merchants will not have access to a customer’s personal data through the use of the ApplePay system.
Eddy Cue, a software leader at Apple, adds that even Apple will not have record of a customer’s purchase history, relying instead on links with MasterCard, Visa and American Express. The new mobile payment system is slated to be operational on 220,000 contactless payment devices at retailers nationwide. The company is also partnering with Disney, McDonald’s, Walgreens and others to make the rollout as seamless and widely available as possible when the iPhone 6 and ApplePay launch to market in October, making PayPal sit up and take notice that they are no longer assured of the dominant position in mobile commerce.
The death of Steve Jobs, Apple’s co-founder, in 2011, caused some to question Apple’s ability to continue its history of innovation without its chief visionary. Some have expressed concerns that the company was losing its edge in allowing the Android market to get the jump on them in releasing new products and services and gain ground in the e-commerce market in recent years. Apple’s slow launch into a mobile payment app for the iPhone while PayPal charged to the forefront of the industry had some worried that the company was not taking notice of the trending technology. Although whether the success of the actual product lives up to its high expectations remains to be seen during October’s rollout, today’s launch of the iPhone 6 with the ApplePay system driven by NFC technology mitigates those fears and puts PayPal on notice that Apple is now vying for king of this mountain.
by Tamara Christine Van Hooser