Stuff I Love
The Curious Timing of Tap to Pay on iPhone
Once Tap to Pay on iPhone becomes available, merchants will be able to unlock contactless payment acceptance through a supporting iOS app on an iPhone XS or later device. At checkout, the merchant will simply prompt the customer to hold their iPhone or Apple Watch to pay with Apple Pay, their contactless credit or debit card, or other digital wallet near the merchant’s iPhone, and the payment will be securely completed using NFC technology. No additional hardware is needed to accept contactless payments through Tap to Pay on iPhone, so businesses can accept payments from wherever they do business.
I find it so curious that Apple has pre-announced this feature, which I assume won’t drop until iOS 16 much later this year. Maybe to spread some good news around Apple and payments during the current shitstorm? Maybe because it’s already been leaked? Maybe to give developers extra planning time? Maybe because WWDC is going to be a packed event? Maybe because they’re going to highlight NFC capabilities with upcoming hardware refreshes?
It’s not the first time a major new capability has been announced ahead of WWDC despite it not being available until the next big software release. But it’s the earliest that I can remember, for sure.
Tap to Pay on iPhone may arrive before iOS 16 (it’s very possible, now that references to it have surfaced in the latest iOS 15.4 beta). Still, it seems like a developer-focused feature that would benefit a debut from the WWDC stage.
The feature itself looks excellent, and I’m glad that it’s explicitly designed to work with third-party apps. Nonetheless, it’s curious timing.