A lot of us were glued to our screens today to watch or catch the feeds on the Apple announcements re iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, Apple Pay and Apple Watch. (To me, the best coverage was on Re/code). What will the new announcements mean to our local ecosystem? To date, Apple’s focus on local has mostly been geared to Apple Maps. But here are a few things:
1. More content for larger screens. When the iPad was introduced, vendors such as Matchbin bet the bank that it would lead to higher paid subscriptions and new types of advertising. It didn’t really happen. But more content is behind the firewall now than before. The intro of the larger iPhone 6 and the really big iPhone 6 Plus — on top of other Phablets by Samsung et al might push this evolution further — and spur the develop of new tablet-ready and phablet-ready local content.
2. A jumpstart for Digital Payments. Apple Pay is being launched as an NFC wireless payment mechanism. Unlike the struggling Google Wallet, it is being supported by most of the industry’s payment processors and financial institutions; allowing consumers to tie their payment cards to their phones. The introduction of Apple Pay won’t turn plastic extinct overnight — the payments card infrastructure is extremely deep. But it does validate NFC as a wireless payments technology, and should help build acceptance for digital payments. The challenge here: It is not converting Apple users. It is converting Millennials.
3. Enter the Apple Watch. It may take a while for iWatch and other wearables to really catch on beyond the early adopters, who do not really impact local outside of tech centers such as San Francisco. But combined with Apple Pay, the Apple Watch should help build acceptance for local store payments, public transport and other services (and impulse cash less buying.) Again, their immediate importance is in Apple’s validation of both wearables and NFC. See how LevelUp is excited about the prospect .
Apple’s system appears to be overloaded, but don’t forget to download the free U2 album, Songs of Innocence, which will be available on iTunes until 9/13.