Today (March 9), is Apple’s big day to “spring forward” more specifics about the Apple Watch.
Apple is holding its media event in San Francisco, where it is expected to unveil details about its new products, but the highlight is expected to be the specifics ticking about the highly anticipated Apple Watch. It’s also Apple’s chance to show if it can deliver the next big thing for tech gurus who want the power of their smartphone at the reach of their wrist — including, of course, Apple Pay capability. The final details are anticipated to be revealed, including the cost, specifications, and an official launch date for when the watch will go on sale to the public.
But just how can that Apple Watch be used to pay? Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of software and services, recently spoke with Mashable about how the technology works and how it can be useful for making payments without taking any extra steps, clicks or authentication.
“You don’t have to authenticate on the phone,” Cue told Mashable. “Your watch has to be unlocked and your phone can unlock your watch and so it knows, if I took my watch off and gave it to you it would know. If I wanted to pay right now I could just pay with the watch and not have to take the phone out at all or unlock it.”
The first key to making the Apple Watch ready to use for payments is having that iPhone close by. When the iPhone is near, Cue said the user doesn’t need to click the watch’s side button, use the Touch ID or enter a password. What may help the Apple Watch (and Apple Pay) gain traction, however, is that consumers can use Apple Pay through the Apple Watch even if they don’t have an iPhone 6. Since the watch supports NFC, an iPhone 5 is all that’s needed to make a payment via the Apple Watch. In that instance, payments can be made using a code through the watch or iPhone when the two are connected.
Cue also spoke about the security features, which he said will be protected through Apple’s patented Touch ID security. He also highlighted Apple’s security as being what gives it an edge among its smartwatch competitors, specifically when it comes to payments.
“The secure way is really critical and making sure that the card is tokenized… the fingerprint and then the privacy piece is really important,” Cue said.
The ease of payments made via the watch, he noted, is something he believes may help with Apple Pay adoption. If a phone isn’t convenient isn’t enough, Apple is banking that consumers will turn to their smartwatch for payments. Cue suggested this would be particularly useful in places where people are on the go, or where there are large crowds when paying — like professional sports stadiums and arenas. After all, speed and convenience has been the mantra of Apple Pay since its inception.