For those of us who pay close attention to Apple’s every word, sometimes something seemingly obvious falls through the cracks. One of Apple’s biggest secrets has been hiding out in plain sight.
The Secret Everyone Knows
I’ve watched the WWDC keynote presentation twice, and each time I thought the same thing. ‘What’s the next big thing? What will Apple do to disrupt yet another industry?‘
Well, the stage is already set and we’re just not paying enough attention. Sure, everyone has iWatch and iTV on their list, but Apple doesn’t move to the world’s time table.
No, what Apple has been doing is building up a market in plain sight. Customers. More accurately, customer data. And, even more accurate, customer credit cards.
During Monday’s keynote address it was none other than CEO Tim Cook how announced that Apple has information on 575-million customers in iTunes and the App Store.
Nobody has anywhere near that number of customers and credit card information and it’s worldwide. By the end of the year Apple could have 600-million customers, data, and credit card numbers.
I’m thinking that maybe iOS 7 is something of a Trojan horse. Passbook, the iPhone app that doesn’t do much for anyone now has a QR code reader built in. What could Apple do with a few hundred million customers with an iPhone that can scan bar codes and attaches to an online payment system?
Apple As Banker
A number of pieces are coming together for Apple that separates the company from competitors. Stores. Customers with credit cards. Huge installed base of iPhone and iPad users on the latest OS. Apple noted that over 90-percent of iOS users are on iOS 6, and it looks as if iOS 7 will be backward compatible to the iPad with Retina display, and the iPhone 4.
That is a huge potential to exploit. Apple takes a small percentage of music, TV show, and movie sales and rentals. Apple takes a percentage of all apps sold in the App Stores. All those nickel and dimes add up to billions of dollars a year in profits.
We tech pundits may be expecting a larger screen iPhone, or a Retina display iPad mini, or an iWatch or iTV, but Apple sure seems poised to become an internet banker in control of hundreds of millions of well educated, mobile, affluent customers. That 575-million number shows that customers trust Apple. Does Google, or Samsung, or Microsoft, or even Amazon carry that same trust to their customers? I think not.
Apple’s next big thing could very well be a mobile payment system for the rest of us.