Reports: Apple Pay to Launch this Week with Siri Voice-Command Option (Oct. 14, 2014)
Apple Pay may go live as early as Saturday, and it’s likely to include an option for users to initiate a payment via voice command with Apple’s Siri feature, according to a number of reports. Apple Pay customers would be able to tell Siri at the POS which of eight credit or debit cards stored in Passbook to select for a transaction, before users unlock the phone with a secure passcode or fingerprint-based Touch ID. Each payment card stored in Passbook for Apple Pay will provide an option within the app to check recent transaction history or connect to the card issuer’s mobile app, reports suggest.
Apple promised its NFC payment service would go live sometime in October, but an internal Walgreens memo MacRumors obtained suggests the drugstore chain will support Apple Pay beginning Oct. 18, two days after Apple’s planned launch of the new iPad Air on Oct. 16. Training thousands of employees at checkout lanes of participating retailers to handle Apple Pay transactions—also including McDonald’s, Macy’s, Staples—may be a bit of a chore. Walgreens in its memo instructed employees how users need only “touch their phone to the upper part of the PIN pad” to complete a transaction. A relatively small proportion of iPhone users have the NFC-enabled iPhone 6 or 6 Plus models launched last month.
The customer experience at the POS—and whether any potential glitches mar Apple Pay’s launch—could be crucial to its initial success, analysts suggest. If Apple Pay gets off to a slow start, merchants’ NFC acceptance momentum may be doomed to continue at a snail’s pace, says Brooke Ybarra, a manager with First Annapolis Consulting. “I suspect many merchants will watch the rollout closely, and any acceptance glitches or security concerns that crop up during the launch phase will limit merchant demand,” she adds.
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