Apple’s skinnier iPads and flashy big-screen iMac are sleek and stunning. But the tech giant is making a bigger strategic bet with next week’s launch of Apple Pay — the mobile pay service aimed at turning your iPhone into your wallet.
The service, which goes live Monday and has hundreds of banks on board, underscoring Apple’s value as a brand and giving people a powerful new reason to buy iPhones, iPads and other gadgets.
Apple Pay is designed to work on the company’s newest iPhones, which contain a chip that allows payments at a special terminal in retail outlets. It also will be available on the new iPad Air 2 for online purchases only.
Mobile pay isn’t new; rival tech companies and the banking industry have worked on such systems for years. But Apple is launching its new service at an ideal time. Consumers are increasingly worried about the security of traditional credit and debit cards and U.S. merchants are facing new mandates to switch to safer chip-based cards or other payment systems.
Assuming there are no system breakdowns or security flaws, Apple will get the benefit of pioneering a mobile payment system that has widespread brand recognition and acceptance from consumers, retailers and banks. As for the new iPad Air 2 announced at a company event Thursday, analysts praised its technical features, including faster processors, better cameras and Touch ID, which lets users unlock the device with a fingerprint.
The new super-thin iPads should sell well during the upcoming holiday shopping season, even as the worldwide tablet market is showing signs of slowing growth, analysts said. But they’re not the kind of game-changing new product that has made Apple a darling of Silicon Valley and the tech industry’s most valuable company.
The new 27-inch iMac desktop computer with a high-resolution Retina screen struck Bob O’Donnell of Research Tech Analysis as the most cutting-edge hardware product announced Thursday. If you’re happy to spend $2,500+ for a desk top, go for the new iMac.
The next major hardware release is likely to be Apple’s smart watch, due out next year.
TECH Analysis’ O’Donnell thinks the watch is “an interesting product,” but notes that it will compete against fitness trackers and other devices that are primarily niche products. And many of its functions can already be performed on smart phones.
I’ve been using the new iPhone 6 Plus since the day it was released to the public. Mrs. Wolf decided to go with the iPhone 6 this week and is happy with the smaller size. But I’m very pleased with the 6 Plus. Don’t think I will ever get another smart phone with a screen smaller than 5.5 inches. It may be too big for some, but the bigger size screen works better for me. I don’t have an problems carrying the iPhone 6+ in my shirt pocket.
We ordered the new iPad Air 2 today and Apple promises we’ll be pawing all over it by early next week.
But the Apple Watch is not on my radar at this time. Can’t think of a single reason to purchase an expensive watch that will be outdated in 6 months or less. Besides, anything an Apple Watch can do, my iPhone 6 Plus can do better!