When Steve Jobs died in late 2011, many wondered how Apple would survive without its visionary captain. Thanks to the leadership of CEO Tim Cook, Apple has not just survived, but thrived: The company is more successful now than it’s ever been — at times, more successful than any company in history.
Financial achievements aside, though, one could argue that some of Apple’s recent products not named “iPhone” have been somewhat lacklustre. Of particular note: the Apple Watch, despite its beautiful design, is not a must-have device. And Apple Music, which just launched last week, is plagued by bugs and a confusing design that’s uncharacteristic of Apple. (It will get better though.)
It’s not impractical to think Jobs, known for his invariable perfectionism, would have rejected some of these recent products, or at least prolonged the incubation periods to hammer out issues related to usability. But he would have found zero issues with Apple Pay.
Of all the products Apple has launched since late 2011 — hardware, systems and services — only Apple Pay could be considered a “magical” experience, something that “just works,” befitting of Jobs’ legacy. It’s a perfect example of how hardware and software can work together seamlessly to make life easier and more enjoyable.
Apple Pay might be the solution that finally kills the physical credit card (and the wallet, by extension) because it is better in every way. It’s quick and incredibly simple to use on both the iPhone and Apple Watch: You summon your credit or debit card with a few quick taps, and hold your device to the NFC terminal until you hear a “ding” that lets you know your payment went through. It’s also perfectly safe to use: Merchants will never see your name or credit card number, either online or in person. This could help prevent credit card fraud too.
So, Apple Pay is valuable to customers, but it’s also equally valuable for Apple as a company. As Apple releases more new products and services, customer trust will be vital in keeping customers and attracting new ones.
Thankfully, Apple Pay is expanding. Later this year, the service will support loyalty and rewards cards — it will automatically present the right card at the right time and place so you never miss a reward — and it’s also coming to the UK, so residents can pay their fares on the London transportation system with Apple Pay. Apple Pay is easily Apple’s most important service right now. Jobs would be very proud.