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Apple Watch and Pay: Searching for the Benefit

13 Mar 2015  

Apple is rolling out two big innovations this year: Apple Watch and Apple Pay. These new products will be important growth drivers.

Of course, that assumes they will be successful.

Most people think the both products will do well. After Apple’s press conference this week, business and technology writers celebrated the watch. People are excited about Apple’s payment system, too.

I’m not convinced either product will do quite as well as people anticipate.

My concern is very simple: where is the benefit?

Apple Pay is a nifty system that allows people to purchase things with their phone. Instead of digging around for coins or a credit card, you can apparently just wave your phone. As the Apple Pay website explains, “Gone are the days of searching for your wallet. The wasted moments finding the right card. Now payments happen with a single touch.”

The problem is that credit cards work rather well. It takes me about one second to pull out my Visa card. I am then pretty confident that the system will work. If someone steals my card, the company that issued it will send me a new one and cover all the fraudulent charges. Is Apple Pay a big step forward?

Apple Watch appears to be another nifty product. It looks nice, tells the time, displays text messages and can make a phone call.

Still, I’m not convinced it provides a compelling benefit. It doesn’t replace a smart phone; you need to have your iPhone with you. It seems like a secondary display panel that is small and difficult to use.

Without a compelling benefit, adoption of these products won’t be high. Some people will buy and use them, of course, if for no other reason than they are from Apple so must be pretty cool. The watch, in particular, will be a fashion statement. Many more people, however, will hold off. Why adopt a new technology if there isn’t a benefit?

Apple has become the world’s most valuable company by providing compelling benefits. The iPod delivered a benefit. The iPhone delivered a benefit. The iPad provided one, too.

These latest products seem high on the design but low on the benefit. That could be a problem.

Unless, of course, Apple has something else coming along that builds on all this technology. I’ve misread Apple before.

This is shaping up to be another incredible year for Apple. Things may get more difficult in 2016 and 2017 if these new innovations don’t take off.

3 Responses

  1. Nupur Banerjee says:

    What I look at is a time of ” Paradigm Shift” call for companies like Apple to lead rather then overloading the markets with bits and pieces, they have to innovate beyond the common technologies, have to think out-of-box, make things simpler, just like what KFC did a month back.. an “eatable Coffee cup”.

    The Gen Y behavior is way beyond even Customer centricity. What I could see is more Individualized rather then customized. As such customer is preferring to be getting closer to product rather then to different shades of Brands providing miniature different benefits under same umbrella. Thus, time is fast approaching that companies like Apple has to re-design their product and brand image perception for fast evolving consumers.

  2. emitahill says:

    So true! Of course I’m a luddite and don’t have any Apple products, just some shares of the stock.

  3. Apple Pay : Not meant to replace credit cards…. meant to replace your wallet. Your credit card company should still be able to help you with fraudulent charges – but imagine a world where your driver’s license, your insurance card, your loyalty cards etc. are all on your phone and you need not carry your wallet…adoption by businesses, government, banks etc. will be key but I do think technologies like Apple Pay will be transformational.

    Apple Watch : Again, I can see your watch becoming your pedometer, your blood pressure monitor, your wallet etc. in addition to the uses currently available. This is an interesting one – I am not certain it will take off but I do think there is real potential once you build an ecosystem to augment the current uses.

    P.S. I am not an Apple fanatic 🙂 I don’t see myself buying an Apple watch right now but that’s what I said about the iPhone many years ago and I can’t imagine using a blackberry anymore…

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