Apples and Payments

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17 March 2014
Gareth Lodge
Apple seems to be getting a lot of attention from Celent recently - Zils' most recent report was called Apple in Payments, and a number of us have blogged about various aspects, including a blog post from myself last month. This weekend made me think again about the subject, though not perhaps to benefit of Apple. On March 10th, Apple released IOS 7.1. At first, it seems all so simple:

"iOS 7.1 is packed with interface refinements, bug fixes, improvements, and new features. Apple CarPlay introduces a better way to use iPhone while driving. And you can now control exactly how long Siri listens and more. Getting the update is easy. Go to Settings. Select General. And tap Software Update."

What is becoming apparent is that the update is not without its flaws, to say the least. My iPhone, for example, lost half its charge in under an hour, doing nothing. Whilst battery life has never been the iPhones strong point, this was taking the biscuit! Twitter and internet forums have seen significant amounts of discussion on the issues, and it seems to be impacting a large number of people. What was noticeable is that most of the fixes transformed the iPhone to, well, just a phone. Suggestions included turning off apps, turning off search, deleting various elements - in short, many of the reasons why we bought iPhones originally. So why this post? I've had a fair look around, and 7 days on, I've not seen any help or even comment from Apple on this topic, nor a promise as to when they'll fix it. Now cast your mind back to some of the recent banking outages, where systems went off-line for a few hours, and the outcry that ensued. On one hand, we've spent thousands of dollars on technology that doesn't work as promised, and there seems to be little material damage to the business; but in banking, we (generally) pay nothing yet expect far higher levels of service and availability, and, at least in the UK, the bankers get hauled in front of the politicians to explain themselves if anything goes wrong. That's the fundamental challenge that banks have - all their technology has to always work, on every platform, for every product, and be backward compatible with everything. But Apple controls ecosystem, both the platform and the device, and both are less than 5 years old. Perhaps we ought to take a moment and think: actually, banks are doing remarkably well, all things considered.

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