Apple was reportedly planning to add a stock-trading feature to its iPhones, but halted the project last year due to market conditions.
The feature, which was being developed during the COVID-19 pandemic, aimed to capitalize on the increased interest in stock trading at the time as consumers spent more time at home and turned to smartphone apps like Robinhood, CNBC reported Wednesday (Sept. 20), citing unnamed sources.
Apple did not immediately reply to PYMNTS’ request for comment.
One possible use for the feature was to allow iPhone users to invest their extra cash into Apple shares, according to the report. However, as interest rates and inflation rose, causing market volatility, Apple grew concerned about potential backlash if users lost money with the help of their product. Consequently, the company shifted its focus to launching high-yield savings accounts instead, which would benefit from higher interest rates.
The current status of the stock-trading project is uncertain, especially after a potential partner in the project, Goldman Sachs, decided to scale back its consumer efforts, the report said. Nevertheless, the infrastructure for the feature is largely built and ready for deployment if Apple chooses to move forward.
If Apple had proceeded with the stock-trading feature, it would have entered a competitive market that includes popular platforms like Robinhood, SoFi and Block’s Square, as well as traditional brokerage firms like Charles Schwab and Morgan Stanley’s E-Trade, per the report. Stock trading has become a way for financial firms to retain customers and drive engagement on their platforms, and Apple aimed to adopt a similar strategy.
However, a move into stock trading by Apple could have attracted regulatory attention, according to the report. Both Apple and Robinhood have faced scrutiny for their practices.
Apple’s services ecosystem has been a revenue driver that has been outpacing the company’s earnings from its devices. In its most recent quarterly results, Apple reported that services-related sales were up 8.2% while revenues from hardware waned 4.7%.
Among the company’s financial services offerings, Apple Pay continues to gain traction.
In addition, Apple’s high-yield savings account, which was launched in the spring, has seen customers make more than $10 billion in deposits.