Apple is already the world’s largest tech company - and, for that matter, the world’s most valuable publicly-traded company. While it made its name in the tech space for redefining what it means to own a phone, Apple is now focusing on payments - with the help of crypto.
This month, Apple announced a bunch of upgrades coming to iPhones, including a nifty feature that will help customers possibly accept crypto payments.
Bringing Crypto Payments to More People
According to an official announcement, Apple claimed that it plans to launch Tap to Pay for iPhone users. The new feature will effectively turn the iPhone into a point-of-sale (POS) device, allowing merchants and businesses to seamlessly accept payments.
As the announcement explained, iPhone users will be able to receive contactless payments with the Tap to Pay feature. Using their mobile phones and near-field communication technology (NFC), these people will be able to ensure proper payment processing at a snap. Apple confirmed that the feature, which is yet to be launched, will extend its support to Apple Pay, contactless card services, and other digital wallets.
Essentially, this means that unless Apple directly bans it, customers using cards from companies like Crypto.com and Coinbase will be able to make seamless payments using Tap to Pay. Apple has announced that payment processor Stripe will be the first platform to offer iPhone users the Tap to Pay feature. But, additional apps and payment platforms are expected to join the fold over time.
Another Win For Crypto
The move is undoubtedly a big one, considering Apple’s reach. It also makes sense, with several crypto companies already launching cards that help their customers. Coinbase launched its Coinbase Card in June 2021, allowing its customers to spend their coins across several platforms. Crypto.com launched a similar card soon after, with customers being able to add the card to Apple Pay and other digital wallets.
Given that Coinbase can allow its users to convert their crypto assets to fiat almost instantly, Apple Pay users should be able to use its Tap to Pay feature to process crypto payments across mainstream businesses and for merchant purchases.
It is unclear how this connection will work, but most experts believe that Apple Pay will not allow customers to directly purchase goods and services with crypto. Instead, the tool should help them convert their coins to correlate with the exact dollar amount merchants request to process the purchase.
Apple’s planned integration of cryptocurrencies for merchants is a pretty big deal. Apple Pay might not be the most popular payment processor, but the popularity of iPhones is undoubted. By incorporating crypto, Apple indirectly brings digital assets closer to more people.
It is also worth noting that several other giants in the payment space have been pushing hard for crypto. PayPal, arguably the world’s largest online payments company, already has support for crypto transactions and trading, and it even announced plans to launch a stablecoin soon enough.
Stripe is also pushing for crypto payments, with the company reportedly being open to re-accepting cryptocurrencies on its platform. Now that the payment giants are all in, Apple definitely won’t want to be left behind.
Apple Launches Into the Metaverse
Apple’s crypto plans are yet another show of progress for a company that has silently been looking to integrate different emerging technologies as part of its suite. Late in January, CEO Tim Cook confirmed that they will be exploring opportunities available in the metaverse during their earnings call. Speaking on possible opportunities available in the space, Cook pointed out that Apple will invest heavily in the metaverse as they hope to join their fellow tech giants.
A subsequent report from AppleInsider revealed that Apple plans to bring the metaverse to its App Store. According to Cook, Apple already has about 14,000 apps on the marketplace that have been designed using ARKit - Apple’s augmented reality development platform. These apps should help users to enter the metaverse seamlessly.
The move is similar to that of Meta (formerly Facebook), which is looking to make its Oculus headset a centerpiece of its metaverse offering. However, Apple is betting more on augmented reality technology. Apple is scheduled to release a headset in 2022, although reports claim that the release might be delayed due to unanticipated software and hardware issues.
It is worth noting that the upcoming headset focuses more on communication, gaming, and content delivery - other than the metaverse. Apple currently lags behind companies like Meta and Microsoft in exploring the metaverse, but the company’s deep pockets and development speed should help it to catch up in time.