Apple Pay Rival Systems Will be Costly Failures

Apple Pay AMEX

Page 2 – The Tech News Debris for the Week of August 8th
More Money Please!


Hulu launched in 2008. It’s founding members were excited about the prospects of internet TV and offered a free service. However, it had trouble making money in the early days and has had to continuously evolve. Now the days of free Hulu are over.

Curd Cutting

Recode has the story. “The free TV on the internet experiment died years ago. Now Hulu is burying it.” The subtitle tells more of the story. “The TV guys really don’t want to give away their best stuff, so Hulu’s site and apps will go subscription-only.” Given that consumers are going to pay for video content, one way or the other, one has to question, in a similar fashion, whether the long-term prospects for lower, enduring costs in a cord cutting mode are possible.

Consumer choices may boil down to ease of use, customer service (or the lack of need for it) and the equipment they happen to favor, such as tablets. But make no mistake. The thirst for a steady, rising revenue stream will prevail. But first, we must be led to believe the new ways are better.

Then, over time, as classic cable and satellite services decline and their expensive packages fade, the fanfare over new products will seduce most customers back to where they were in monthly costs.

As a result, we’ll shift the way we watch TV, but a wholesale reduction in the long term industry revenues just isn’t going to happen. The evolution of Hulu proves that.


TMO has pointed to the Fast Company interview with Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi. So did MacRumors. What I thought was interesting was the blistering MacRumors Buying Guide for Macs and the stinging juxtaposition with Eddy Cue’s comment: “…you’re only as good as the last thing you did.”


However, as I’ve also mentioned before, Apple’s new MacBook Pros look to be very exciting. Here’s the best summary of what’s known about these drool-worthy Macs from our national treasure Mark Gurman. “Apple Said to Plan First Pro Laptop Overhaul in Four Years.” So we have that to look forward to. As for the rest of the Macintosh lineup? No one is talking.

Despite the near universal gnashing of teeth about what Apple will do with the Mac lineup as a whole, it turns out that the MacBook, recently upgraded in April, is doing very well indeed, as is the rest of Apple’s notebook line. See: “Apple’s Notebook Shipments Rise 30% on Strength of New 12-Inch Retina MacBook.

Similarly, as has been reported before, Apple’s iPhone SE is also selling quite well. And while Tim Cook has a focus on revenue, not market share, and the iPhone SE has dragged the iPhone line’s ASP down, Apple has to be happy at the new markets it has both solidified and opened up. Tech Crunch has important details. “The iPhone SE is selling just as Apple planned in the U.S. and Europe.

Many observers have a difficult time adjusting to Tim Cook’s Apple. So powerful and influential was Steve Jobs’s personality that, five years after his death, it’s still hard to understand the changes Tim Cook has had to make to Apple in ways that don’t kowtow to the shadow of Mr. Jobs. Carolina Milanesi at Tech.pinions explains beautifully. “A Different Kind of Apple.

Understanding Apple’s relationship to the enterprise has always been difficult precisely because Apple takes an unconventional approach to the enterprise. Accordingly, some business executives are appalled by what Apple won’t do. Conversely, some are very pleased by what Apple does do. This article at Network World offers many insights. “Mixed emotions on Apple’s enterprise evolution.

Math is important. Maps are important. Technical accuracy is important. Glossing over what seems to be unnecessary technical precision in this day and age can have unintended, dire consequences. And so, because we’re all into Google and Apple maps, I’ll point to this sad story. “Kansas couple sues IP mapping firm for turning their life into a ‘digital hell.’

From what I’ve read, the average iPhone has about 26 apps installed. It varies a little by country. And yet, according to Business Insider there will be 5 milllion apps in the iOS App Store by 2020. At some point, this system will break. Phase one is when developers stop making any money at all. Phase two is when Apple moves on to the Next Big Thing. (Siri + search.) Walt Mossberg sums it up. “I just deleted half my iPhone apps — you should too.”

I have found this to be true. I am deleting apps that I have experimented with faster than I download new ones. How about you?


Particle Debris is a generally a mix of John Martellaro’s observations and opinions about a standout event or article of the week (preamble on page one) followed on page two by a discussion of articles that didn’t make the TMO headlines, the technical news debris. The column is published most every Friday except for holidays.

10 thoughts on “Apple Pay Rival Systems Will be Costly Failures

  • … just tapping your wrist is still vastly quicker and easier that finding your credit card in your wallet stuffed into a tight jeans pocket or hidden at the bottom of a bag.

    Yeah, but some folks don’t( or can’t due to weather and job environment – e.g. people working outside in Arizona’s summer heat often forego watches ) want to wear a watch. My own credit cards are immediately accessible in the front of my wallet and my wallet is close by because it has my government issued id too )

    We also have conveyor belt checkouts at supermarkets and grocery stores, but not at smaller stores like a petrol station (sorry gas station) or little kiosks which don’t even have a flat space to put your stuff.

    In those environments here I either pay first ( petrol station ) at the pump before I’m holding anything that I might juggle or the vendor is holding the one or two items I’m buying until I’ve paid. To me smartphone payment is to some degree a solution in search of a problem. I don’t know about Australia but here in the USA smartphones are hacked on a regular basis and I’m not willing to have any financial information on them. The NFC transactions may be secure ( and the jury is still out on that because more usage will attract criminals who try to intercept the signal ) but the phones themselves not so much. Yes, swiping isn’t secure either but while these newer methods improve some transaction facets, others are more difficult/less convenient.

  • @brilor,
    I would hope US retailers and POS vendors would get their act together eventually. You are right Australia and much of Europe is indeed far ahead of the USA in this case with NFC terminals *everywhere*. Why your retailers have only made the step to chip cards instead of jumping straight to contactless NFC cards seems very strange.

    In any case, just tapping your wrist is still vastly quicker and easier that finding your credit card in your wallet stuffed into a tight jeans pocket or hidden at the bottom of a bag.

    ps. We also have conveyor belt checkouts at supermarkets and grocery stores, but not at smaller stores like a petrol station (sorry gas station) or little kiosks which don’t even have a flat space to put your stuff.

  • I love trying out new apps, I would say there’s something new on my devices weekly, on average. Very few stay there, though, and it seems to me the apps I keep and that get the most use from are variations of those that I put there at the very beginning. For myself, I can’t say that the utility I get from my devices is drastically different than it was in 2008. I do have improved versions of things, but when I look objectively, no one has really innovated the pants off of any of this in ten years. I think the device concept was what was actually game-changing, we were essentially spot-on in assessing the iPhone as a pocket computer years ago, nothing more or less.

  • @rocwurst I suspect our United States adoption rate is probably slower than Australia. The issues presented in my post are real and can be experienced at many USA retailers and other brick and mortar vendors; they are not limited to only certain vendors.

    “No fumbling with two hands while holding your shopping to get your credit card out of your wallet or purse and because it is so secure”

    Most stores here have nice convenient conveyer systems to hold everything you’re buying, so when you’re in the payment process your hands are free. Retailers here typically bag all your merchandise for you( in my grocery store they offer to take it to your vehicle and load it for you too ), so grabbing a credit card and swiping is super easy. That’s one hurdle I see for these new payment systems: the current swipe and go system is easy ( less secure – yes – but easy ).

  • The banks, and merchants, are all desperately trying to avoid the charges incurred by using the card networks (and/or take a slice of those fees themselves…)

    That’s what is driving these attempts to create new payment networks, and the only way Apple and Android Pay can help with that is if they start supporting other funding mechanisms beyond cards.

  • @brilor
    Your retailer or POS vendor obviously has no idea what they are doing. Here in Australia, you tap your contactless credit card on the PayPass terminal, it beeps and almost instantly you’re done unless you want a receipt printed which takes one button press from the cashier and bang you’re off. No buttons to press, no wait. If the value is over $100, you just type your pin code and that’s it. Signatures? How primitive.

    Of course if you use Apple Pay with an Apple Watch, it’s even better – just press the side button on your watch and tap the watch to the receiver and bang you’re done. No fumbling with two hands while holding your shopping to get your credit card out of your wallet or purse and because it is so secure, a growing number of providers do not impose that $100 cap on purchases.

    Far quicker, vastly more secure and easier than virtually ANY other way to pay.

  • Walmart, Apple Pay, CVS Pay are all competing and the customers will ultimately decide what works. I can’t blame Walmart or CVS Health for wanting to control their own system and not pay Apple’s fee to use their system. I do know that the systems we have currently ( chip cards ) aren’t nearly as convenient as just swiping my credit card. The interaction at the register for me is something like:
    Me: Swipe my card
    Cashier: you have to insert the card , we just activated the chip reader
    Me: inserting the card
    Me: waiting for the “Remove card” message
    Me: signing the transaction because it’s over $50.00 USD
    and this doesn’t count the times I see a PIN reader and try to use it but the cashier says they aren’t using them yet.
    So, are chip cards more secure? Sure. Is it more convenient, no. Even Apple Pay ( or other NFC services ) isn’t nearly as convenient( or quick ) as swiping a credit card. Sure, technically it should be quick but not all retailers accept it. Plus then you have to ask the clerk and sometimes they give you this ‘huh?” deer in headlights look meaning they don’t know if they accept it or not. You try it and it fails. In the time it took me to have that conversation with the clerk and try Apple Pay, I could have already been in my car driving home if I’d just pulled out my credit card and swiped.

  • Absolutely drooling over the new MacBook Pros. I do hope the USB-C ports (four I hope) are also Thunderbolt-3. We will see. Now as far as when: iPhone in late September. Figure 3-4 weeks before the next event. That’s late October. Wait for a few reviews. Oh there’s the Christmas rush. I guess not going to see it till early 2017.

    Mixed results on my cord cutting experiment. I now watch much less TV. But the big price reduction when I dropped to a minimal package turns out to be just a introductory offer, my cable bill will go up in September costing over half of the monthly savings I thought I was getting. Part of me wants to tell them to f*** it and cut cable completely. Part of me that hasn’t taken to Netflix wants to say f*** it and go back to a full package. SWMBO will probably decide.

    FWIW, LOVE my SE.

  • I seem to remember the early days of credit cards were the same. You could have a Sears card, and a Goodyear card, and, well the list went on and on. Soon the stores discovered that it was a pain in the @$$ to maintain the credit cards. My Goodyear card became a MasterCard. My wife’s Target credit card is actually an RBC Visa card with Target on the front.

    I expect the same to happen with all of these store-brand payment systems.

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