What the new iPhone could mean for mobile payment and customer experience

| September 11, 2017 | By

With just one day to go until Apple launches the iPhone 8 (and iPhone X if recent press reports are anything to go by), Yoyo’s new tech VP, Ali Minaei, analyses some of its rumoured new features and what impact they could have on mobile payment and the customer experience. 

It's rumoured that Apple will launch the iPhone 8 on 12 September.

One week to go – the new iPhone is about to hit the shelves and every media outlet may go a bit mad, just like the last iphone launch and the one before that and so on…

Rumours are abound of this and that iPhone issue, whether it’s extortionate price points or upcoming supply chain problems.

One commentator even advises: “If you do manage to get an iPhone before Christmas, the most sensible thing would be to auction it!”

But I’m not too worried about any of this. My interest lies in where the latest version of the iPhone could lead us when it comes to mobile payment and the retail experience for consumers.

There’s no mistaking it – Apple is the pioneer when it comes to mobile payment (let’s face it, they’re the pioneer for a lot of things).

Only recently, Yoyo co-founder Alain Falys, commenting on the 10 year anniversary of the iPhone in a City A.M. article, said: 

“Advances in tech got connected to the increasing  number of devices and platforms needed to perform day-to-day habits…the genius of Apple was in successfully joining the dots between their tech to solve such an ambitious problem.”

Too true!

Apple has already announced that when iOS11 is made available tomorrow, it will provide P2P Payment (Apple Pay Cash) using iMessages.

You’ll soon be able to pay your friends for that beer or the plumber for fixing the boiler just by texting them through iMessages.

But hopefully Apple won’t stop there! This feature could open up to other apps, leading to a true wallet experience on the iPhone.

Apple also announced that the iOS11 update will mean the iPhone 7 and any new versions will be able to read NFC tags (passive devices that transfer information to an active devices, such as smartphone).

This could change a lot of things, to name a few:

  1. You’ll be able to make quick on-the-spot payments, especially for fixed amounts, by using a NFC tag rather than a contactless card reader! A great opportunity for charities wanting to collect quick donations!
  2. When eating out, you’ll be able to pay in an instant by pulling your bill to your iPhone and reading the NFC tag on your table.
  3. If the above was combined with Apple Pay Cash and when/if Apple opens it up to other apps and developers, P2P payment could be triggered between an iPhone and Android! Perhaps this explains why Apple is so reluctant to do this at the moment.

iOS11 aside, let’s move on to the iPhone 8. It’s been suggested that the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus will be upgrades of the iPhone7, while the iPhone X will be a drastic move away from the traditional design and will mark the 10th anniversary of the iPhone.  

There are a few widely-reported features rumoured to be included that could impact mobile payment and the customer experience:

The Home button is gone

Removing the Home button is big one! Reports says it will be completely removed and replaced with a “Home Bar”.

The side button will also get smarter. Clicking it will now apparently bring up Apple Pay cards, which could make the payment process faster! No more embarrassing moments trying to get your finger print recognised when your going through the machines at tube stations!

Facial recognition has arrived

This may not have a direct impact on payment initially, but if Apple opens up facial recognition to developers, it will lead to a lot of innovation, especially around loyalty.

Imagine walking into Caffè Nero and your face is automatically recognised when you buy a coffee! Nothing will stand between you and your coffee except your iPhone. Of course, this is a little futuristic!

Touch ID brought in another layer of speed and security for users. Let’s hope facial recognition takes this even further otherwise it could be a step back security-wise.

They’ve enhanced AR functionality

Forbes says that Apple CEO Tim Cook is “gambling on Augmented Reality to be the iPhone’s killer feature”. There are rumours of a dual lens camera being made vertical, as “most people will hold their smartphone in a landscape orientation to use AR,” according to Metro.

AR could be massive for the customer experience! Whether it’s being able to identify everything on your shopping list in-store in an instant, being led to items that you might want to try based on your preferences or seeing what something looks like on you without having to go to the changing rooms.

Exciting times for retail coming our way!

Apple has sent out invites for its next big event on 12 September, when it is expected to launch the next iPhone.

Ali joined Yoyo as VP technology last month (August 2017). He has more than 15 years’ experience in tech engineering and, before Yoyo, spent a year and a half as head of UK engineering for British payday loan company Wonga.

Before than, Ali spent five years at PayPal, starting off as an EMEA innovations and labs engineer, before rising through the ranks to become head of integration architecture in 2015.