It’s that time of year again – no, not the holiday season – but when Apple launches a new product and online retail professionals wait to see how the new changes will affect mobile commerce. So what should online retail professionals know about the new iPhone 5S / 5C and the completely redesigned iOS7? Here are a few things…
- The Fingerprint ID system could become a digital payment method – This sole innovation built into the iPhone 5S could modernize mobile commerce as a whole. Often the difficulties of remembering and entering information and passwords on mobile devices results in consumers not making mobile purchases – these difficulties could be directly eliminated with a fingerprint ID system. Payment information could safely be stored within a mobile device and purchases could be made by scanning a fingerprint – meaning the owner of the phone can only access and approve purchases made on the phone (although there are still some security concerns). While currently the fingerprint authentication only works with the Apple App Store and iTunes for online payments, it’s likely this offering will be expanded to other online payment services in the future.
- Apps and mobile sites may no longer work with iOS7 – The change from iOS6 to iOS7 has been a major one, especially when dealing with the changes to applications and websites. Certain older applications which may have worked on iOS6, including retail applications, may not work correctly or at all on iOS7, forcing some app develops to update their applications to run on iOS7. As a result, some apps are now charging their current customers to “upgrade” their app to iOS7 – almost as if the new app version is a new version of software.
- The speed of the iPhone 5S could change consumer behavior – One of the major benefits of the iPhone 5S as advertised by Apple was the new A7 chip, or the first ever 64-bit processor in a phone. What does this mean for mobile commerce? According to Apple the iPhone 5S is twice as fast as the iPhone 5 which means consumers will continue to rely more heavily on their phones for everyday usage. As the gap between mobile and desktop technology continues to close, it appears some consumers will use their mobile phones moving forward for tasks such as online shopping which have been done primarily on traditional desktops in the past.
- The iPhone 5S debut in China could push mobile growth in the country – For the first time ever, Apple has decided to launch the new iPhone (or in this case iPhones) in China concurrently with the rest of the world. Previously Apple would wait approximately three months before launching their latest devices in China to meet the product demands of other parts of the world – this would force iPhone advocates in China go to difficult measures (such as importing iPhones from a foreign country) to get access to the latest Apple device. The ease of acquiring an iPhone 5S / 5C in China, along with not having to pay any additional import costs, could mean the latest iPhones will gain more traction globally given the large mobile population (over one billion mobile subscriptions) of China.
In conclusion, most iPhone launches seem to have a major effect on the mobile commerce industry and the launch of the iPhone 5S / 5C and iOS7 is no different. The fingerprint ID system has the potential to be groundbreaking in eliminating a major barrier in mobile commerce (payments) and could simplify the entire mobile payment process. The huge increase in speed and the global presence of the iPhone 5S could also help to move the mobile industry forward globally by allowing consumers to do more with their mobile devices and rely on them more often. Although there may be some application issues with the launch of iOS7, it’s clear the new changes from Apple are a step in the right direction to help drive mobile sales for online retailers. It will be interesting to see how competitors such as Samsung and Microsoft respond with their future innovations.